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Big Mig

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When Cody Walker is on fire, there’s very few players in the league that can match him in terms of skill and entertainment. Truly inspiring.

Cody Walker back in NSW squad as Brad Fittler adds five more Blues

Hard to take Peter FitzSimons seriously looks like a pirate from the Wiggles,

Have the NRL’s critics finished wiping egg off their faces?

Great foresight and skilful kick, it was a real shame as the Rabbitohs had just scored and were on a run, sometimes in finals you need a little luck too.

Did this 'crazy', millimetre moment cost the Rabbitohs a massive upset?

TRY! only need 1 camera angle to confirm it and it clearly does, shows Gagai’s hand placing firmly downward pressure on the ball. Try. No controversy at all. Try.

Try or drop? Controversial call hands Souths critical score

This year was a successful year for the Bunnies given in the previous 12 months they had lost Greg Inglis, Sam Burgess, John Sutton and George Burgess. Bennett proved again to be the master coach that he is, he did an awesome job of getting an underrated forward pack into a successful team-winning formula, just as he did with the baby Broncos in the years before (then Seibs screwed it all up). The Rabbitohs rightly deserved the Prelim Finals, and matched it with an amazing record breaking Panthers team. Bennett will have the finals hardened, hard working bunnies up for it again in 2021.

Wayne Bennett says Souths are still on the up for 2021

Smith has been helped in his career by playing alongside greats like Cronk, Inglis, Slater et al, helped by a traditionally massive Storm forward pack and fast back line, I wonder if he’d have half the accolades if he had played 14 seasons at the Bulldogs or Titans or a lesser club.

If the Storm win the premiership, will this be Cameron Smith's greatest achievement?

Sticky’s got a point, Qld Government is hopeless 👎
Go Raiders – beat the Storm.

Ricky Stuart fires up at the Queensland government before preliminary final

Gagai and Su’A certainties; Allan and Paulo likely if they keep playing as have been. Lowe unfortunately injured, Mago great potential but not this year.

Roosters duo added to Maroons squad

If Jaxson Paulo keeps playing like he did against Parra (2 tries, that intercept and that iconic 50m run off from the Moses “post’) then Bennett will back him for Origin. No one is like Bennett with the young players, he is the undisputed master of backing youthful talent, you only need to look at the “baby’ Broncos (pre-Seibold era) and the Rabbitohs this year (Cory Allan, Campbell Graham, the Rabbitohs young forwards et al).

Roosters duo added to Maroons squad

Cant see too many ‘errors’ from the Rabbitohs of late;

60 points v Chooks,

46 points v Knights,

38 points v Parra,

Error-ridden Souths vow not to change

Few of those Rabbitohs errors have been at crucial times in the game or eventuated in a loss or try to the opposition. I expect that in this game the crucial errors will come from Penrith as ALL the pressure is on the Panthers. 16 consecutive wins in a row and if they lose this one, it will be over. This thought probably didn’t affect them in the 1st week of the finals as there was the safety net of another chance should they lose, this time, will be the first time that they will be confronted with the prospect of an elimination. Rabbitohs have been in this mindset for the last month. No pressure on the Rabbitohs. As with Prelim Finals Experience (this is the Rabbitohs 3rd consecutive year in the Prelims) and the Rabbitohs have the maturity, momentum and experience to win it this time. Cook, Reynolds, Walker, T. Burgess, Tatola, Gagai, Alex Johnson, Murray, Cory Allan, C. Graham, have all been there before. they are finals hardened. They will know how to get the result over a potentially nervous Panthers.

Error-ridden Souths vow not to change

Cameron Smith currently the NRL’s games record holder for refereeing over 400 matches, will ensure that the Storm beat a resilient Raiders team.
Bunnies too experienced, on fire and too clever (Wayne Bennett) for a Panthers team without Kikau. Panthers nerves will crack the last 20 minutes of 2nd half on the prospect of elimination.

The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Preliminary finals

too funny

2020 NRL preliminary finals preview

Agree WB, there aren’t too many people backing the Bunnies, I guess it doesn’t matter what a team did all year, it matters now, and for that we are definitely on-par with the Panthers. Plus we have the Super Coach and I think the 3 consecutive prelim finals will be the difference in getting the Bunnies through to the Big Dance.
I’d expect the Bunnies would have worked hard on their right side defence this week, especially the threat that Cleary poses with his deft kicks near the goal line. I’m confident that Reynolds has a few clever attacking plays of his own to even it out. Go Bunnies!

2020 NRL preliminary finals preview

I’ve posted some of these thoughts elsewhere but here are my thoughts on why the Rabbitohs will beat the Panthers
1) Momentum:
Rabbitohs momentum is on a super high ( 150 + points against 3 strong teams). Momentum wins games, wins finals. Whilst the Panthers have momentum, that one point win over the Chooks was hardly inspiring, they almost lost it at the end, all the momentum was with the Chooks in the last 20 mins of that game. In addition the Panthers have had a 2 weeks hiatus which may have “offset” some of their momentum.
2) Resting Players – Bennett believes if you are fit, you play. The Panthers players really didn’t need a rest of 2 weeks, they need to play, they have been locked up in a bubble for 2 weeks the only thing that they played in the last 2 weeks is their mind. I think the Panthers will start off slow.
3) Pressure – ALL the pressure is on the Panthers. They are the favourites. 16 wins in a row, and if they lose this one, it is ALL over. This thought probably didn’t affect them in the 1st week of the finals as there was the safety net of another chance should they lose, this time, will be the first time that they will be confronted with the prospect of elimination. The nerves will get to them. Rabbitohs have been in this mindset for the last month. Additionally most of the Panthers players have not been here before, they might just well crack on the eve of the grand final. No pressure on the Rabbitohs.
4) Psychologically – this is a Bennett master stroke, by stating that the rabbitohs that played the panthers in round 7 (almost 4 months ago) ( it was played at Netstrata and lost by 8 pts) is a totally different team to that of the finals. His players need no other motivation than to prove this.
5) Home ground – It’s at ANZ, the Rabbitohs supporters will be out in full force. This will be the first time in almost the whole season that any NRL game will have +30,000 crowd singing Glory Glory.
6)Prelim Finals Experience (this is the Rabbitohs 3rd consecutive year in the Prelims) . Cook, Reynolds, Walker, T. Burgess, Tatola, Gagai, Alex Johnson, Murray, Cory Allan, C. Graham, have all been there before. they are finals hardened. They will know how to get the result.

My tip: should the Panthers start to think they may be eliminated if it gets tight in the later half of the game, or start off slow due to nerves, the Rabbitohs will run away with the game. Rabbitohs by 20+.

2020 NRL preliminary finals preview

The Chickens lost the NRL premiership when they got smashed by the Rabbitohs 60-8. One week from the finals is too much to come back mentally and physically after their worst ever loss to their rivals. Rugby League Law 101: A team that loses by 50 in any game cannot win the Premiership.

I guess the positive is they did get a “three-peat”, in the form of three-defeats. three consecutive losses.

1. Roosters 8 – RABBITOHS 60 (conceded 10 tries)
2. Roosters 28 – PANTHERS 29 (conceded 5 tries)
3. Roosters 18 – RAIDERS 22 (conceded 4 tries)

They conceded 19 tries in 3 games, equal to conceding 1 try almost every 12.6 minutes. There is no way this team could every win, what is surprising is that they got this far.

I suggest the Roosters of 2020, rename themselves at the Eastern Suburbs Broncos.

Roosters flew in to Bermuda Triangle against Souths and never re-emerged

Why the Rabbitohs will beat the Panthers – 6 Key Factors
1) Momentum:
Rabbitohs momentum is on a super high ( 150 + points against 3 strong teams). Momentum wins games, wins finals. Whilst the Panthers have momentum, that one point win over the Chooks was hardly inspiring, they almost lost it at the end, all the momentum was with the Chooks in the last 20 mins of that game. In addition the Panthers have had a 2 weeks hiatus. That has shown in the past to potentially be a momentum breaker especially with younger sides.
2) Resting Players – Bennett believes if you are fit, you play. He’s kept the Rabbitohs humming along and growing in confidence with each game, they are still getting better and have not peaked yet. The Panthers players are young, they really didn’t need a rest these 2 weeks, they need to play, they have been locked up in a bubble for 2 weeks the only thing played in the last 2 weeks is their mind.
3) Pressure – all the pressure is on the Panthers. They are the favourites. 16 wins in a row, and if they lose this one, just the thought of losing the lot would be too painful, it would be devastating. This thought probably didn’t affect them in the 1st week of the finals as there is always the safety net of another chance, This will be the first time that they will be confronted with a real elimination. The nerves will get to them. Rabbitohs have been in this mindset for the last 3 weeks. Additionally most of the Panthers players have not been here before, they might just well crack on the eve of the grand final. No pressure on the Rabbitohs.
4) Psychologically – this is a Bennett master stroke, by stating that the rabbitohs that played the panthers in round 7 (almost 4 months ago) ( it was played at Netstrata and lost by 8 pts) is a totally different team to that of the finals. His players need no other motivation than to prove this.
5) Home ground – It’s at ANZ, the Rabbitohs supporters will be out in full force. This will be the first time in almost the whole season that any NRL game will have +30,000 crowd singing Glory Glory.
6)Prelim Finals Experience (this is the Rabbitohs 3rd consecutive year in the Prelims) . Cook, Reynolds, Walker, T. Burgess, Tatola, Gagai, Alex Johnson, Murray, Cory Allan, C. Graham, have all been there before. they are finals hardened. They will know how to get the result.

My tip; tight game of ebbs and flow in the first 55-65 minutes, then Bunnies to win by 20+ (scoring 3+ tries in the final 15 minutes). Rabbitohs will run away with the game.

Party like it’s 1991: Why the Panthers and Raiders will be the 2020 grand finalists

2020 – a crazy year for many reasons, who would have picked the Bronco’s to come last and Panthers a minor premiers at the beginning of the year? Or for that matter the Storm playing Canberra in a Preliminary Final at Suncorp Stadium! Crazy stuff and for the same reason, who would ever pick two teams outside the top 4 to be in the Grand Final? It’s 2020. I’m seeing Souths v Canberra Grand Final.

NRL preliminary final teams: Storm name Munster despite knee concern

Phil, when Cleary didn’t play in Rounds 3 & 4 (his Tik Tok misadventure), Panthers drew against the Knights 14-14, beat a hapless Warriors (who at that stage were looking like wooden spooners), and in his first game back for the Panthers (Round 5 v Parra) they lost. So not convincing when Cleary is out or not on his game (which I admit this year has been rare).

As I said keep Tedesco / Keary quiet and there is a good chance Souths would win against the Chooks (60 points to 8); keep Pearce/Ponga and there is a good chance Souths would win against the Knights (46 points to 20); keep Gutherson quiet and there is a good chance Souths will win, they did in the 2nd half (2 Half Souths 30 points to 6). Keep Cleary quiet (plus missing Kikau) and the Bunnies may well just get the chocolates.

Wayne Bennett gets a week to catch up on Penrith

Fittler, bases many of his selections on players’ form, so by default Turbo, Fergo and Tupou should not be picked ahead of the in-form, speedster and try scoring machine Alex Johnston. Top NRL try scorer, can score 5 tries against the Roosters, and has been consistently a safe pair of hands all year (in attack and defence) for the Rabbitohs, I’d prefer him to Fergo or Tupou anyday. He’d run riot against Qld.

Daniel Tupou in for Blake Ferguson but Freddie still names four Eels in Blues squad

They’re all great players and all in great form. It will be fantastic to watch these battles. However, if there is one player you would want on your side in a golden point situation to nail a field goal or a crucial penalty kick its Adam Reynolds. In terms of accuracy, consistency, composure and number of field goals and goals in finals footy he is the best.

The battle of the 6s and 7s will be key in the NRL’s final four

The Rabbitohs dominated for most of the match. In the first 20 minutes of the game (8-0) it was all Rabbitohs. It was then for about 15 minutes in the first half that Parra looked good, that was Gutho in overdrive and Parra scoring 3 tries in very quick succession, but the final 7-8 minutes of the first half the Rabbitohs were building, continuing the momentum in the 2nd half it was all Rabbitohs. The Rabbitohs scored pretty much at will in the 2 half. Any team that concedes 5 tries in the second half is bound to lose.

Rabbitohs' second-half riot leads to straight-sets exit for Eels

Well done to the young Rabbitohs rookie Jaxson Paulo who capitalised on this, setting it up for a try in the next set, and also scoring two tries himself, including a great intercept. Great game awareness – you make your own luck!

Absolutely INSANE 8-point swing kills the Eels season

Rabbitohs will beat Penrith easily, it comes down to nullifying Nathan Cleary. Luai and co are rudderless without Cleary. Souths managed to nullify Keary/Tedesco (and won 60-8), they managed to nullify Mitchell Pearce/Ponga (and won 45-20). Let Cleary run and he will do a “Gutho” on you ((as per those 15mins in the 1st half Parra v Rabbitohs), in the second half against Parra they worked out they needed to nullify Gutho and they did! (and they scored 30 points v 4).

Wayne Bennett gets a week to catch up on Penrith

Damien Cook is still South Sydney’s key ; but when all eyes on Cook, the halves Cody Walker/ Adam Reynolds explode. When Cook is the focus, the other Rabbitoh playmakers can do utmost damage to defences, when Cody Walker is the focus (as was the last two games against Knights and Eels) then Cook is the man. As with the Rabbitohs last 9 /11 wins, 35 point per game, if its not Cook, its Walker or Reynolds, the spine is working so well that forwards are scoring tries and backs are breaking records. It’s the team, not just the player.
Keaon Koloamatangi is the Rabbitohs’ next big thing, agree 100%. Just wait to Patrick Mago gets a run, he is a KK 2.0. Souths (Bennett) have done a fantastic job with ALL their forwards this year, players like Tatola, KK, Bayley Sironen, Jaydn SuA, Mark Nicolls, Liam Knight and Jed Cartwright have all improved massively this year, led by a mature and outstanding Tom Burgess. Their inter-change, and strong impact off the bench during games has been one of the top surprises in the NRL this year. They are all good in defence and attack. Bennett had created this kind of success with many of the Bronco’s young forwards (Haas, Pangaui Jr, Offenagahue, et al) only for Seibs to screw it up.

Six talking points from the NRL semi-finals