Analysing JT’s Random NRL Picks: 2021 Grand Final

Fatty’s tribute to Sterlo:

“Yeah there’s no power in Kingsford, South Coogee, Coogee, Randwick and Maroubra, so why not follow us on something that requires WiFi or phone reception, which also requires power!”

Penrith Panthers 16 defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 14 = Incorrect

I went the Rabbits in an upset, but ultimately it just wasn’t meant to be Wayne’s World in 2021, as the 50 point premiership curse still stands unbroken after 113 years of First Grade rugby league in Australia, and I feel comfortable writing that the better team on the balance of play won the game, and despite me enduring Gus Gould’s thoughts on rule book technicalities and Gerard Sutton seemingly giving the Panthers the rub of the green for most of the night, I still haven’t changed my view that the Mountain Men were the deserving winners, even as they scored 6 tries in 4 games to win a premiership.

One week they’re the Pink Panthers, the next week they’re the Black Panthers, but you know what they are, they’re the Premiership Panthers.

Sure, Souths were damn brave in defence and horrifically unlucky with refereeing decisions all night, especially that Adam Reynolds ricocheted kick on the last tackle that wasn’t played at by Spencer Leniu as he was going for the tackle and not the charge down, which is what led to Gus Gould’s original tangent about technicalities on the last tackle, and the Bunnies still had a live chance at winning the game up until the 79th minute….

But they just couldn’t get out of their own end often enough in the 1st Half, and that was in part due to the Panthers retaining the ball for so long (60/40 in the 1st Half) and forcing the Bunnies to start off the back foot so many times, then there was the consistent defensive pressure for the entire 80 minutes from the Panthers, which would make you think they were only backing up 5 metres instead of 10, the stupid killer errors at bad times in attack from the Rabbitohs, especially Cody Walker throwing that long intercept pass to Stephen Crichton that resulted in the winning try to the Panthers….

That play reminds me so much of that Brett Kimmorely pass to Matt Bowen in Origin I back in 2005… I’m pretty sure it was from a nearly identical part of Lang Park!

In a game that was 8-8 with 15 minutes to play, with the Bunnies building a little bit of momentum that was the moment, and obviously Walker did score that 30 metre solo try to have the Bunnies in that position in the first place, and he did somewhat redeem himself by feeding in Alex Johnston in the corner to cut the gap back, but that botched long ball was just a perfect height for a gangly winger like Crichton.

If Crichton wasn’t there, Dane Gagai would’ve charged 50 metres downfield and scored, and the Bunnies probably would’ve won the game, then Gagai would’ve run all the way down to Newcastle with a premiership ring on his finger, but while Cody gambled on Red & Green, Crichton gambled his house and the mortgage on Black….. and it came up Black.

Finally, what the Clive Churchill judges apparently decided was the ultimate difference in the game was that when Rabbits were defending, they just couldn’t get enough pressure on Nathan Cleary like they did in Townsville, and the end result was the junior Cleary absolutely took the Red & Green to town with his right boot, and Nathan was ultimately the logical choice for the Clive Churchill, on a night where no player really stood out for either team.

How many times did the Panthers get a fresh set deep in Souths territory, or a dropout, thanks to constant pressure on the kick-chase?

3? 4? 5?

And let’s not forget one of them led to a dropout and Matt Burton scoring the opening try.

Consistent pressure in a low scoring Grand Final… Like a boa constrictor killing it’s prey.

Unfortunately for everyone associated in Red & Green, from the guy dressed as Reggie the Rabbit that couldn’t be there, to Don Lane, Russell Crowe, Andrew Denton, Nick Pappas, Anthony Albanese and George Piggins, it just wasn’t the Bunnies’ year, and for the 3rd time, the Panther completed their journey FROM THE FOOT OF THE MOUNTAINS, TO THE SUMMIT OF AUSTRALIAN RUGBALEEG!

Of course, we should remember that while Ivan and Nathan Cleary ensured the Cleary family finished the night with 2 rings, Brian To’o ensured he and his partner also finished the night with 2 rings, after he successfully popped the question!

From the NRL on Nine Twitter

What a great move by Brian – Get the proposal to his missus in before he does unspeakable things with his teammates over the next week.

And it’s a good thing she didn’t say No’o to To’o.

On one final note for tonight, here’s the Random video I should’ve used if I’d been smart enough to pick the Panthers…. Forrest Gump having a fight in the middle of a Black Panther party

I imagine there’s a few Black Panther parties going on in Mount Druitt right now.

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