Meaningless NRL Preview: 2020 Semi Finals

Here’s the Six Again still, because apparently it’s topical again

Can you believe the NRL weighed up the idea of letting Ben Cummins referee another Roosters-Raiders final.

At least with the reduced fan numbers, this time around the Raiders players would have been able to hear Benny change his call.

Of course, they pretty much took a massive step sideways and appointed Ashley Klein instead.

On another note, it seems Sam Burgess is coming across as somewhat of a psychopath, and Souths are apparently doing things dodgier than medically retiring players for Salary Cap relief, apparently thanks to a propaganda campaign coordinated by Sam’s ex-wife.

We’ve already had a serial killer called Son of Sam…. what’s he going to be called – Sam?

First Semi-Final

Sydney Roosters vs Canberra Raiders at the SCG, Friday 7:50pm AEDT

Ah, it feels like it was only last October that I was writing about Easts and Canberra facing off in what was supposed to be the last Grand Final at the Olympic Stadium, and how they were selling green sausages in Canberra, and the Raiders had to photoshop Josh Hodgson’s head into the team photo because he was bedridden.

Papa with the old clenched fists on your mate’s knee.

Never gets old.

Yes, in case you’ve been stuck under landfill for the last 12 months, this is the third and final 2019 Grand Final rematch of the year (The Raiders won at the SCG and the Chooks won in Canberra), and the chieftains in the NRL offices would be barring up at the circumstances here.

Ricky’s pissed off Raiders, looking to dump Robbo’s Roosters out in straight sets and crush the Threepeat, in some apparent act of revenge.

If you ask me, it’s not true revenge unless the Raiders manage to knock off the Chooks in a Grand Final.

I mean sure, they could knock Easts out of the finals tonight and have a big piss-up, but if the Storm paste the Raiders next week and they go home with nothing again, are they really content?

N, followed by O.

As they try and stave off elimination, the Roosters’ last two games have followed the same pattern – The first 10 minutes are very good, then they fall away and the points get piled on.

The obvious big difference from the Rabbits game was that they were actually able to fight back against Penrith, to the point that they had a last minute Hail Mary’s chance of winning after being 28-10 down.

The other boost outside of that improved performance is that Jake Friend is back, as is Sonny Bill Williams to apparently boost the ratings, although I’m skeptical if a 35-year-old can make a huge impact.

Just look at last week – They literally improved by 51 points with SBW out of the team.

Meantime, the Raiders did the double on Cronulla to send them packing, a result that nobody was that surprised by, but the way the Raiders pulled it off on Saturday would’ve been a tad surprising, considering the Sharks, missing Shaun Johnson, savaged the Canberra goalline for 40 minutes on end and had a 14-6.

The fact that Johnson wasn’t there definitely helped the Green Machine make their comeback, as George Williams and Jack Wighton sparked a 26-0 run to seal the deal.

Staying on Wighton, what an evening he’ll be in for against Luke Keary, in the shootout between the two most recent Clive Churchill Medalists.

Won’t Matt Nable be salivating at the thought of mentioning “How good’s this bloke?” for both of them.

One guarantee is that both teams are going to beat the crap out of each other, and just to cap it off, they’ll have to back up 7 days later and take on a fresh Storm side, who are revered for physically grinding teams into dust.

To those of you who don’t follow the game of rugbaleeg, it’s like going skinny dipping in the frying pan, then hopping straight out and jumping on the fire.

So all that said, the Roosters might eek this out, then get chucked on the fire by the Storm.

Second Semi Final

Parramatta vs South Sydney at Bankwest Stadium, Saturday 7:40pm AEST

“It’s the Shechond Shemi, Tappy!”

Here’s my random little factoid for this game This is only the second time that Parramatta and Souths have played each other in a final.

To date, their only finals meeting was the Minor Semi Final of 1965, when Bernie Purcell’s Souths team won 17-2 and sent the Eels trudging back to Cumberland, on their way to becoming St George’s 10th consecutive Grand Final victim.

As you can clearly tell from that video, the only thing that’s happened since 1965 is that we can now enjoy the visual medium in colour.

Fast forwarding 55 years, and we could see a similar outcome on Saturday evening, because the Bunnies are gnawing through defences like they’re a bunch of giant carrots.

60 points one week, 46 in a row on Sunday against the Knights, and backtracking slightly, they gave the Eels an old-fashioned 38-0 belting in Round 16, the very night when Latrell Mitchell’s hamstring quite literally went in the opposite direction the rest of his skeleton was rolling.

They’ve gone alright without him.

I’d like to think Wayne Bennett is in two minds right now, because he’s got the Rabbits low-flying and extending his coaching career, and he’s also having to cobble together a team of misfits to represent Queensland next month.

Based on how many potential Maroons players are being taken out by injuries, Wayne probably isn’t that far away from asking someone like Rocket Reddy or Dale Shearer to pull the boots on again.

Meanwhile, the Eels, to their credit, weren’t disgraced against the Storm, and they did give it the good old 110%, but it’s the Storm, so even an early 12-0 lead wasn’t safe, and Brad Arthur’s wayward team could do nothing to stop the rampage that followed.

A 36-24 defeat will fill the pages of history, although if you saw that game, it felt more like 36-18.

As Homer Simpson once said:

Out of that visit to Brisbane, Maika Sivo’s flat end to 2020 was capped off by a season-ending knee injury, Marata Niukore was suspended for a crusher tackle, and Blake Ferguson is racing against time to overcome a leg injury and play on Saturday.

Considering Fergo has a leg injury, that’s a race that a fully fit time will have a major advantage in.

Apparently you don’t change a winning team, and it seems to be true for the Rabbits, who haven’t had to make a change to the 17 from last Sunday, with the only watch being on the incumbent NSW hooker Damien Cook after he clashed knees with Kalyn Ponga, an injury that is apparently so bad Cooky is still able to fly 80m and beat the Knights defence to score.

So all that said, I will stick the long neck out and say….


And if you think I’ll regret saying that if the Eels win, all I’ll say is, hahahahahaha, no.

Tipping Performance

So all I have to do is smuggle a mere 10,000 more spots in the next 3 weeks, and I’ll take home a thoroughly unearned bronze medal for finishing in the Top 10%.

As Hillary Clinton said before the 2016 Election, piece of piss.

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