A final round that went far better than I’d hoped for with 7 out of 8, with the Broncos comfortably winning as I’d hoped, and all I needed to end the season with a perfect round was for the Tigers to win a totally meaningless final game of the Home & Away season, only to find out the Tigers had ended their season a week early, resulting in them making a Bulldogs team that had won 2 games all season resemble the Melbourne Storm.
So on that note, among the many records that were broken this weekend, like Manly’s Reuben Garrick becoming the first player in history to score 300 points during a regular season, and the first to score 300 points full stop since Brett Hodgson in 2005, here’s one record that should stand for a while:
This is the first season in history in which 3 teams have won 20+ games.
Manly and Canberra both won 20 games (Out of 22) in 1995, and this year Melbourne and Penrith won 21 games, and Souths won 20, although based on this season, absolutely nobody rates the Bunnies a chance of beating either the Storm or Panthers.
Sydney Roosters 40 defeated Canberra Raiders 16 – Correct
A call back to Thursday:
“The 9th placed Raiders have a simple finals equation of needing to handle their own bit of business, and hope the Storm beat the crap out of the Sharks, so naturally you’ll expect them to get too far ahead of themselves and slip up.”
And whaddaya know, the Green Machine slipped up with great distinction, going from leading 12-6 in the 1st Half to being utterly destroyed by the crippled Chooks, conceding 34 unanswered points in a crushing season-ending defeat as Adam Keighran scored a hat-trick and had to smash himself against a goal post to achieve it.
Much like many institutions in Canberra, such as Parliament House, the Raiders need an enormous clean out in the coming months, and goodness me, Ricky Stuart and one of the Furners won’t be using a broom, they may as well use a high-powered bore to clear through the crap.
You wouldn’t even remember Jack Wighton won a Dally M as recently as 12 months ago, because he was comparatively horrible this year.
Here’s another random fact from the game – The Roosters won 16 games this year, which was the exact same tally as their minor premiership & premiership year of 2018.
This time around they were 5 games off top spot.
Melbourne Storm 28 defeated Cronulla Sharks 16 – Correct
It was always likely to happen, but the Sharks season was ended by some High Voltage football, although it took them 2 days to realise that fact, as the Storm took their 4th J.J. Giltinan Shield in 6 years and finished just 1 point off ending the season with a Points Differential of +500…
Still, it’s not like they didn’t set a new record for the best points differential in history, is it?
Penrith Panthers 40 defeated Parramatta Eels 6 – Correct
Nathan Cleary still hasn’t lost a game this year.
16 games for Penrith, 2 for New South Wales = 18 wins, 0 defeats.
Brad Arthur knew exactly what he was doing when he rested 6 players and gave up on finishing 4th…
He was being realistic.
Brisbane Broncos 35 defeated Newcastle Knights 22 – Correct
The Broncs weren’t ever losing that one, because they had Alex Glenn to play for, plus Anthony Milford wanted to leave Red Hill on a positive note, and Newcastle had absolutely nothing except avoiding injuries before the final to play for, as evidenced when they took Pearce and Ponga off for lengthy periods of the game.
Amazingly enough, as a result of giving up 35 points, the Knights have seemingly smashed some kind of record for having the worst defensive record of any Top 8 team in the NRL era, and they’re one of four teams in history to make the finals with a ‘bad’ attack & defense according to the Eye Test, a statistic that gets weirder considering they finished 7th with a 12-12 record and were 2 games clear of 8th.
Even weirder is that of those 4 teams, the 2008 Warriors and 2009 Broncos both made the Preliminary Final.
Manly Sea Eagles 46 defeated North Queensland Cowboys 18 – Correct
“Want to see Tommy Turbo finish off the Try of the Season?”
“Want to see him do it again?”
South Sydney Rabbitohs 20 defeated St George-Illawarra Dragons 16 – Correct
The team full of reserve graders defeated the reserve grade team, which will be minus Josh McGuire for the first 5 games of 2022 thanks to two separate head high contact charges, and the Rabbitohs, despite conceding 50 points in a game twice, finished with the 8th-greatest points differential of any team in the NRL era, they joined the shortlist of 20+ win teams in the NRL era, and yet there were still 2 teams better than them this season alone.
Of course, the other element of this game, aside from the Dragons doing Dragon things in an appropriate ending to their season, was the farewell tribute to retiring referee Matt Cecchin, who decided he’d had enough of feeling unloved by his own bosses and being shitkicked by the fourth estate, only to be ironically praised by an apparently shocked media for a solid career with the whistle ahead of his final game, akin to the fabled Eulogy song from The Chaser’s War on Everything.
MAYBE IF YOU’D SAID SOMETHING NICE ABOUT CECH IN THE LAST 15 YEARS IT WOULDN’T BE SUCH A SHOCK.
Gold Coast Titans 44 defeated New Zealand Warriors – Correct
I imagine it must’ve been brilliant for Sharks fans and players on Sunday, having to put their entire season in the hands of the New Zealand bloody Warriors, who promptly put in their worst performance of the year and allowed the Gold Coast Titans, who only needed an 11 point win just to qualify, to record their biggest winning margin in their 15 season history, with the cherry on top being the 3 sin-binnings of Jazz Tevaga, Matt Lodge and Kane Evans (Who had already been reported for a high fend) with 15 minutes to go as the Warriors attempted to bring back the biff.
Ah Matt Lodge, what a strange unit…. Based on his career and that performance on Sunday, the only contract that anyone wants him to sign is the one he needs to set up a boxing match with Jarrod Wallace.
So there we go, the Titans are into the Finals for the first time in 5 years after a club record 44-0 win, despite having the second-fewest wins of any finals team in the NRL era, and my word, weren’t the fans going wild with delight as the heavens opened up and the tries flooded in:
Amazingly enough, rookie Jayden Campbell will have played in more finals than Luke Brooks after next week.
Canterbury Bulldogs 38 defeated Wests Tigers 0 – Incorrect
Here’s live, round the clock footage of Michael Maguire trying to turn the Tigers around:
Well, if the Bulldogs play like that after the new signings come flying in over the offseason, not only will they be dodging the wooden spoon, they’ll have a crack at 9th!