Analysing JT’s Random NRL Picks: 2021 Preliminary Finals

Look at this still of Benji Marshall…. Now try and look at it with a Matt Nable voiceover

Well friends, it took me an extra day to cobble this together, after I spent all of Sunday at the two bowl singles championship down the road, which featured everything from thunder, 20 seconds of hail, a flooded green that took us off for 40 minutes, sunshine, cutting wind, me somehow convincingly winning a game…

Then I got home after a long day, had dinner, forgot what I was doing and quite possibly just straight up fell asleep, meaning I missed the live chaos of the Russian Grand Prix, and in the process forgot several dozen things I was supposed to do, like get this done at a reasonable hour.

But to quote someone currently shaking up Kalgoorlie, IT IS WHAT IT IS, so to clear up any rumours, I did not spend the weekend with Reece Walsh.

South Sydney Rabbitohs 36 defeated Manly Sea Eagles 16 – Correct

If you ask me, Manly were screwed the moment their team bus got caught in traffic and delayed the game by 15 minutes:

So you’re telling me the Sea Eagles were basing themselves on the Sunny Coast for the last 10 weeks, and they still decided to wait until peak hour traffic to go to Brisbane, a move that was always up the creek, given there’s major road safety works all along the Bruce Highway from Caboolture through to Steve Irwin Way that would just make things even worse.

In fact, judging by that 1st Half rout by Souths, the Sea Eagles were still caught in traffic.

So despite some injury scares to Adam Reynolds, Souths comfortably got over the mental block of losing three straight Prelims and never looked threatened, giving Wayne Bennett, Reynolds, Dane Gagai and Benji Marshall the chance to depart the Red & Green as premiers, and the other interesting facet of the game was Bennett’s decision to hang more crap on the Broncos for undermining him while he was still coaching the club in 2018, a time when the Broncos were actively trying to court Anthony Seibold and/or Craig Bellamy, a decision that worked out well for everyone except the Broncos:

Anyone could see that’s a classic tactical move by Wayne to bring up his sacking once again…. Because while he goes at it against the members of the fourth estate for the next few days, it’ll allow his players to avoid distractions and have as good a preparation for the big dance as possible.

Meantime, come Sunday night, we can say this:




Penrith Panthers 10 defeated Melbourne Storm 6 – Incorrect

The Storm didn’t miss Cameron Smith’s on-field leadership until they did, and that was Saturday afternoon.

What an utterly brutal contest, befitting of a final between the two ladder leading teams of 2021, and in a game involving errors upon errors upon errors, a certain referee losing control of the ruck, reported players galore, concussed Storm players somehow staying on the field, the substitute rule being abused willy nilly, the Panthers pulling off defensive plays of a lifetime, Nathan Cleary pinching 8 metres on a sideline conversion that he wasn’t entitled to, and the end result is that the defending premiers, the once mighty Melbourne Storm, who were just about the only club to not have their last rites read at some point of this season, are dead and buried.

Forget about being the greatest premiers in NRL history after a season in which they matched the all-time consecutive wins record, they’re something even worse.

The greatest team that didn’t make the Grand Final.

22 wins from 26 games, the exact same record Penrith have before next Sunday, and yet the Panthers will be the ones who get the chance to go one better this season, and it’s nothing they didn’t earn, especially because they didn’t cough the ball up 16 times like the Storm did.

So bravo to the Panthers, and on a parting note, I’ve been reading a few articles in which Cameron Munster in particular came under fire for apparently not showing up on Saturday, especially when the push came to shove and the Panthers hit the Storm in the mouth with those two quick tries at the start of both halves.

Well, he did show up, but you see, Cameron was devoured…..


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