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Joe

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Joined February 2015

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Love sports. Storm/Brumbies/Swans fan.

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Great stats as usual. The big one for me is what the Roosters back 5 are doing in attack. They are a massive part of that sides attack and go forward and a major reason why they don’t need a massive forward pack. The numbers are staggering. If the Storm are any chance they need to shut down that back 5 and don’t allow them any room. I think the other big difference will be Lattrell Mitchell. As good as Chambers is he is not going to stop this kid. Also that Croft/Chamber/Vunival edge has been pretty shaky defensively while the Roosters attack down that edge has been outstanding. I think the Roosters should be going in as favorites in this game regardless of whether Cronk plays or not.

The ultra definitive NRL grand final stats preview: Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm

I watched Chambers interview and didn’t get that at all. If anything he was praising Mitchell for winning the battles between them. I could see the reporters questions were trying to get him to say something antagonistic towards Mitchell but Chambers was having none of it even admitting Mitchell has the wood over him in their battles so far.

Billy lives: Thank god that’s over

Actually both Billy and Cam Smith questioned the penalty on the field and they both said so in the after match presser.

Grand final bound! Billy Slater free to play NRL decider

Agree Albo. This is the type of player you have to sign long term. At 20 he has a lot to learn though and I really hope they put the right people around him to help him. I don’t see many halfbacks who were at the stage he is in now at 20 years old. I also think defence is one of the most important aspects of the game that young halfbacks are having trouble with. The Brooks, Ash Taylors and Crofts…all great in attack but don’t have the attitude for defence. Cleary has a pretty good attack as well, decent running and kicking game and great pass so he will get better with time. I think he will be a better version of Cronk who wasn’t a natural half to begin with. Great defender but has a better pass and running game. Wish he was at the Storm…with the systems and coach they have and Cleary’s discipline and attitude he would be absolutely lethal in the halves with Munster. In fact I think that should be the Kangaroos pairing going forward.

Call Nathan Cleary overrated all you want, he's still worth every cent

I think you’re making Dirks point. They signed Maloney, Jennings and SBW the year they won the comp. Those were three players at the top of their games when signed. They then lose Maloney and sign Keary. Lose RTS and sign Gordon, lose Gordon and sign Tedesco. Cronk who next to JT is the best half to play the game in recent times comes on the market and gets signed for two years after which they’re looking at Munster who is probably the best up and coming half apart from Cleary. Not to mention Crighton and Ferguson. Sure they have some great youngsters coming through like Latrell, Manu but they’re definitely buying the best available on the market. Looking at Robinsons record since he started he has had success equivalent to Bellamy (better if he wins this weekend) yet isn’t talked about in the same league. I think that’s because people understand that his recruitment is way better than the Bellamys.

Here's to you, Mister Robinson

Did Hymel Hunt get any minutes off the bench? Siebold deserves to get coach of the year for taking that Rabbits team to the prelims but he is really not learning anything about the maximum use of the bench in the finals. Every body is needed in these games and everybody needs to contribute something. He overused the Burgii and by last night they were all struggling.

Seven talking points from Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL preliminary final

Unfortunately for Billy Slater I think he is done and would be a sad way to bow out. The rules are the rules and it will be very hard to fight a charge. I think that knocks the Storm down a few pegs. That said if it does happen and Hughes gets a chance I think he is one player I will be very happy to see get a chance at a GF. He has been outstanding for the Storm this year whether at fullback or covering at halfback and would not let the side down. He is the Storms next fullback so we’ll just get a preview of what’s coming next year a little earlier than expected.

Seven talking points from Melbourne Storm vs Cronulla Sharks NRL preliminary final

That was pretty much the game perfectly summarized. Have to say though that the Sharks missing key forwards pretty much ended it for them. Gallen and Graham out and Lewis on one leg. The loss of Feki in the 25th minute also meant they lost a bench forward interchange which they were heavily relying on. Once they lost the forward battle that pretty much took their halves (who always were the question mark) out of it and also Holmes who thrives on go forward. That play by Smith to take advantage of Lewis and Bukuya being distracted by the Fifitiat/Bromich scuffle was amazing to watch. Split second and he was off and a perfectly weighted kick for Slater to score. Amazing play.

Seven talking points from Melbourne Storm vs Cronulla Sharks NRL preliminary final

I think the key in this game will be Brodie Croft, both in attack and defense. When he was playing poorly early in the year, the Storm were ridiculously bad and looked like missing the 8. When he played well as in the last few weeks they look a totally different team. I think Flanagan will have his game plan around testing Croft in every way in particular his goal line defense which is shockingly poor. He has a tendency to drift away from the big fellas in defense. Once you get him off his game defensively the players around will then overcommit to help him allowing the opposition to take advantage like in the early rounds. I think the big thing the Sharks have for them is absolutely no pressure. Last year the Cowboys were able to take advantage with a much heavier injury toll they beat both the Sharks and the Roosters to get to the Final. They played with no expectations and the opposing teams which were under pressure to win easily ended up caving in. I think this game is much closer than the odds being offered.

Melbourne Storm vs Cronulla Sharks: NRL preliminary final preview and prediction

Jahrome and Brodie may be the front runners but they’ve both played against the Sharks and lost. Jacks played against them last year and won.

Storm give no hints on No.7 for finals

I’m the opposite…my head says Cronulla so that’s where my money went. Heart says Storm though but if they don’t get through at least I’ll have something to drown my sorrows.

Storm vs Sharks: The ultra definitive NRL preliminary final stats preview

I think you’re being pretty tough on Mann. He had little time to do a quick catch and pass and as you say its not like he passes in the best of circumstances. Surely then Hunt takes some of the blame for passing to a player that isn’t likely to do a catch and pass. I think The Barry sums it up best below…the play was there because they had the overlap and Hunt knew it. The problem was the best person to receive the pass Field had run his line such that it was not possible for Hunt to pass to him as he was obstructed by Mann. The longer pass out to Lafai was probably the next best option but Hunt went with Mann hoping he would do a catch/pass to Field to take advantage of the overlap. I do agree though that the Hunt bashing over this incident is over the top as he did what possibly could have been the match winner play.

Ben Hunt should be praised, not criticised

No confidence at all in a Storm victory. Sharks just seem to go to another level when they play the Storm and playing in Melbourne means little to them having won the last two outings. They are fast becoming Melbourne’s bogey side. I think they will throw everything at the Storm and whoever is going to go through will be struggling next week. As with first weeks finals its heart over head for me since its finals and will pick the Storm in a nail biter.

Storm vs Sharks: The ultra definitive NRL preliminary final stats preview

Definitely agree with your comments. Sharks always aim up against the Storm and have a healthy rivalry going. Don’t have to look too far back to see a team in the Sharks position going all the way. 2015 Cowboys lost their week 1 game, won 2nd week then defeated Storm at home prelim on the way to winning the GF. It has been done before and this year I think both the Sharks and Rabbits have the potential to cause upsets this week and go all the way next week. Sure the weeks rest is great but with a 7 day turnaround I think these teams will be ready to roll next week.

Have Cronulla played their grand final?

I’d say its been a success. Sure the off field stuff has been a distraction but despite that they make the 2nd week of the finals and lose by 1 point. Sure they have the current NSW Origin halves but they lost their number 1 fullback and hooker and had to make adjustments. I think the major success though is in the number of players who have vastly improved their games and talent unearthed. Luai or May I think should play more 6 next year and partner Cleary and give Maloney a break. I thought in the backs DWZ and Waqa had their best seasons. In the forwards the likes of Kikau, Fisher-Harris, Heatherington and Leota all had their best seasons. These guys outshone the more experienced and likely higher paid forwards like Merrin and Tamou. I think if they build on that they will have one of the best packs in the comp next year.

The 2018 Penrith Panthers: Success or failure?

The Panthers need more experience in the spine. I think they need a good hooker. I thought they were much more balanced when Wallace was playing. That said Wallace is in the blue shirt and pretty much on the field the whole game. They should be looking to do what the Sharks did in 2016 and bring an experienced hooker in to complement him. That said Cleary has grown up a lot in the past few years and maybe will start to take even more responsibility next year. I also think that last 5 mins comes down to coaching. Teams like the Storm even during Origin when all the experienced players are out, they have plays to set up for field goal and basically once its decided that’s what they’ll do all the players know where they need to be for every tackle leading up to the field goal attempt. This helps negate tiredness as you don’t need to think too much and just move from position to position.

Six talking points from Cronulla Sharks vs Penrith Panthers NRL semi-final

As Fraser said in the first post, I thought Gallen and Lewis were immense for the Sharks and the loss of Lewis in particular in the 2nd half allowed the Panthers to bust through for tries, in particular the Kikau try. Lewis provides a lot both in attack and defense, especially reading the game. Gallen just kept trucking it up and taking some massive hits as well but just keeps going. Great performance from these two ageless warriors.

Six talking points from Cronulla Sharks vs Penrith Panthers NRL semi-final

Oddly enough even though I’ve tipped against them this week, I mentioned last week before the Warriors game that they seem to me like a team that can go all the way. A lot of that is off the back off Maloney but they also have game breakers across the park and Kikau at his best has as much effect on a game as a rampant Taumalolo.

Cronulla Sharks vs Penrith Panthers: NRL semi-final preview and prediction

Yes, former Kiwi international Kasiano who last played for the Kiwis in 2013 and now playing for Samoa. Don’t worry though, I’m pretty sure Bellamy will get him back in that Kiwi side…seeing as the Kiwi’s likely starting props this year will be Bromich and NAS.

Legendary coach poised for 50 per cent grand final record

Both you and Tim picking the Panthers in your articles and both citing Maloney. I wonder though whether Malone not being a 100% could be a factor. Also the Sharks know his game quite well and will target him. I think this is just the kind of game tailor made for Cleary to step up. I’m still not sold on Moylan as a big game player. He really didn’t stand up when needed last week once Graham went off. I have to also add that even though the Panthers won last week, the Warriors did lose RTS and its a big step down to Hiku the replacement. On the other hand Sharks lost Graham and still were right in that game against a far better opposition. This game looks to be to be a test of that old adage – defense wins premierships because the Sharks are very good at that but the Panthers are very good at manufacturing tries out of nothing. I’ll go with the defensive team and also because I’ve been on the Sharks all year. Sharks in a close one by 1-6.

Cronulla Sharks vs Penrith Panthers: NRL semi-final preview and prediction

Just to take that point of clubs who bought high priced current rep (state, int) players and apply to this years final 6

Roosters – Tedesco, Cronk, Ferguson
Rabbits – Inglis, Gagai, S. Burgess
Panthers – Tamou, Merrin, Maloney (swap)
Sharks – Lewis, Dugan, Woods, Moylan (swap)
Dragons – Hunt, Widdop, Graham
Storm – ?

Not to mention the close to rep honors players like Luke Keary, Segeyaro.

Legendary coach poised for 50 per cent grand final record

Good point…doesn’t only churn out players but coaches as well. Also didn’t mention that those two bench players Hampton and Griffin go on to start at other clubs. Griffin actually beat out an NZ rep player Levi to start at the Knights.

Legendary coach poised for 50 per cent grand final record

Hi Scott,
I’ve got Harris there, 2nd last name…although he should be one of the first as he is that good. Can play 2nd rower, center and five eighth and make 40+ tackles in a game if required. Great player and no way I would have missed him out. : )

Legendary coach poised for 50 per cent grand final record

Not surprisingly the first few comments are all about salary cap. Bellamy’s record post 2010 is even better than his record during the salary cap years. The only two coaches close to him as you’ve mentioned are Bennett and Robinson but as you’ve touched on these two pretty much buy whatever players they need. Robinson got SBW, Jennings and Maloney who were all at the top of their game to win his premiership. Now he’s got Cronk and Tedesco this year, two of the best players in the game. Broncos needed a half and buy Milford from Raiders, they also got Barba at his peak. Bennett needed a center after Hodges and goes and buys James Roberts, Dally M center of the year previous. In that same year Craig bought Cheyse Blair and a teenage Curtis Scott for the center position. I’ve said it before on the Roar, Broncos and Roosters buy from David Jones and Craig is looking through the Reject shop. That is the additional difference in coaching. The only purchases of note I can remember are Finucane and Kasiano who were playing on the Dogs bench. Kasiano is looking unlikely to get into the 17 as the Storm props coming through like Welch, NAS and even Kamikamica are looking like getting the bench spot. The biggest though is losing Cronk. I fully expected Storm would buy but instead they go with 3 up and comers and finish a close 2nd on the ladder and also into prelims. That is ridiculous. Since the 2016 GF they have lost Proctor, Green, Koroibete, Hampton, Cronk, Mclean, Harris, Slade Griffin. Is there any other club that can lose their starting halves, 2nd rowers, Prop, Winger not buy to replace and still be competitive let alone in a prelim? That is why Bellamy is the greatest coach of the modern era.

Legendary coach poised for 50 per cent grand final record

If you watched the first 6 mins last week you would have tipped an easy Broncos win. : )

The Roar’s NRL expert tips and predictions: Finals Week 2