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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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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

Also forgot to mention for the Panthers I think apart from Maloney the key is Kikau. If he gets his game on he will be hard to stop. I think though he’s up against Lewis who is a pretty good defender so needs to keep him quiet.

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

Tough games both of these. I’ve backed the Sharks all year so I’ll go with them again but I think it will come down to which forward pack dominates. They both have some big boppers with rep experience but I think the Sharks have the edge with Woods, Segeyaro coming off the bench.
If Siebold plays the same bench I think the Dragons will win. It will be another torrid encounter but he can’t just rely on the Burgii to carry the momentum all though the game. He needs to drop Hunt and put in a forward, maybe Mark Nichols who has done well. Especially as Mcgregor has signalled his intentions to go with a four forward bench. If Siebold matches him which allows the Burgii a bit more rest than they will come over the top in the 2nd half with Cook finding some space. If they use the same bench strategy as last week the Dragons will find a way to win.

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

Agree Greg. He is a loss but not to the extent that the Sharks will struggle. The replacements are pretty good with both Sorenson and Bukuya playing very good footy. They don’t have the extras like the kicking skills and in your face defense but they will do the job.

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

I think you’re right. The Dragons are a big chance and playing like a stress free team. Definitely reminds me of the Cowboys last year. I do think if they get past Souths the Roosters will be ready for them being beaten by the Cowboys in the prelims last year. I don’t think there will be any complacency. That said I think if this Dragons team plays like they did early in the season they can beat any team.

The Dragons are back and they’re a real chance

I’m looking forward to both games this weekend because I have no idea who will win. At this stage there are no favourites. Dragons lose Widdop but they go in with momentum and a positive mental attitude. Souths have the extra 2 days rest but will be mentally down and physically battered. Can the Burgess Bros turn up or will it be another Sims special. I think also for the Dragons they really need Graham out there, he is inspirational. Sims needs to target Reynolds early and make him feel his injuries. If they take Reynolds kicking game out they will go a long way to winning the match. I though Reynolds kicking kept the Bunnies in it last week against the Storm. Try for GI and made the Storm start their sets inside their 20m. For the Rabbits they need the Burgii to step up so Cook can run. They were all nullified last week and it started with Sam. Two clubs with long histories and big fan base, it will be a good one.

Dragons ready to roll on past Rabbitohs

That’s is also my concern with the Rabbits this week. This is reminding me of Eels last year where they put all their energy in that first semi against the Storm and came so close to pulling it off but after losing they lost all their momentum and energy and an upset loss to Cowboys the following week. The Dragons coming off a huge upset win (similar to Cowboys last year) and they’ll have all the energy and the attitude. I think Siebold will have to find a way to rally his team to get up physically but especially mentally for this one. Could we see the Dragons doing a Cowboys 2017 this year and get to the GF.

Dragons ready to roll on past Rabbitohs

If you put the Chambers and Mitchell tackle side by side they’re both similar in that they both backslammed with the intent to cause some hurt. The difference is Chambers actually lets Haynes head go under his arm before he backslamed him whereas Dugans head is trapped on Mitchells chest in the classic crusher fashion. I think they should both get 3 weeks as this type of tackle has no place in the game.

Six talking points from Sydney Roosters vs Cronulla Sharks NRL qualifying final

If there was one team that I thought could unrail the Roosters juggernaut it was the Sharks with their superior forward pack. They came very close but errors in key moments cost them when they had the Roosters on the rack. The loss of Wade Graham also cannot be underestimated as he is key to keeping Cronk quiet. Cronk had a great game for the Chooks and did what he was brought there to do, keep them in the game under pressure and his kicking game was superb. The kick for Tupou for Latrells try was the backbreaker for the Sharks.

Cronk guides Roosters through to home prelim

That is a great point that seems to be missed, apart from I’m sure the two coaches involved. I also thought both team would be worried about their defensive issues letting in 5 tries each. Sure some were well worked but some were just soft tries. They’ll both need to have much better online goal defense in their coming games.

Six talking points from Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL qualifying final

I think the coaching tactics could have been a talking point all on its own. Apart from bench use it was a game where you could actually see the tactics of the coaches and the changes as required. Siebold is proving to be an excellent coach and win or lose next week I think should get coach of the year gong. His initial tactic to kick to the Fox where his 6’5 winger had the advantage (3 kicks in first 8 mins) resulted in a try to Gagai. The next four kick to that flank however found Slater waiting as the Storm tactician countered. It was also clear the Storm forwards were out to nullify the Burgii, in particula Sam to counter Cooks running game. For the first 20 Souths made great metres but at the end they were not which is where Reynolds kicking game came to the fore to return the ball near the Storms line. I also don’t think the targeting of Stimson was an accident, they were running big traffic his way all game and in the end he made an error. Before the game I had seen the updated team list include Hoffman which is why I had the little rant about Craig playing favourites on the roar yesterday but Craig is all about the team and his difficult choice to leave Hoffman out was probably already made early in the week as was the great decision to go with Croft. I guess that’s why he’s one of the best in the business.

Six talking points from Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL qualifying final

The way the game was reffed would have been a talking point as you say. I think it was a great reffing performance, incorrect decisions aside which does happen. I thought the refs could have blown a whole lot more penalties against both sides but let the game flow instead leading to an excellent game. I’m glad the Storm won though because if they hadn’t then it would really have been all about the refs in the news.

Six talking points from Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL qualifying final

Again Hoffman promoted to the bench…why!!? He only played about 5 mins off the bench last week and has been one of the most error prone forwards this year. They need big forwards to counter the Bunnies pack and now have 3 small forwards and a smallish prop on the bench. Craig’s sentimentality for Hoffman is going to cost them again.

Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney Rabbitohs: Qualifying final preview and prediction

First off, Roosters won the Minor Premiership not the Storm. You seem to be one of the few picking a Storm win this weekend and I hope you’re right. However the Rabbits have a settled spine, great form and the one, two combo of the giant Burgess bros going forward with Cooks running off them while the Storm are limping into the finals with injuries and Nelson and Chambers out and a spine that is still finding itself. All season I have been hearing from players and coach alike that there is a lot of improvement left in this side, unfortunately the finals are here and they still are saying the same thing. Heart says Storm but head says Bunnies to win this one. Since its finals I’ll go with the heart

Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney Rabbitohs: Qualifying final preview and prediction