The Raiders have been smashed back to the frozen capital to hibernate for 6 months after getting an almighty Eel-ectric shock, and the Sharks around Cronulla, after being 20 seconds away from a home Preliminary Final, have been brutally culled by the Cardinal & Myrtle spear fishermen from Redfern, which marked the second time Anthony Albanese’s mates have speared Scott Morrison’s mates in 2022.
Now, we find ourselves in the penultimate week of the NRL season, and what a fantastic set of matches to decide the teams for the Grand Final next Sunday.
After waiting a couple of years, the North Queensland Cowboys will get to play their first final at Queensland Country Bank Stadium against the Parramatta Eels, into their first Prelim since the wonder run of 2009, and it does seem funny to think that the Sydney Roosters played a home final at the new Townsville Stadium before the Cowboys did…
But, that’s the pandemic for you.
Of course, the Cowboys and Eels have a bit of history in Prelim Finals, because if you go all the way back to 2005, the Eels were minor premiers and Premiership favourites after the Tigers knocked out the Dragons in that memorable Prelim at the old SFS, but the Cowboys, who had lost 50-6 to the Tigers in Week One, marched into the Olympic Stadium and smoked the Eels 29-0 to make their first Grand Final, which ultimately didn’t go too well for them.
And the feature match of the round, out at Accor Stadium on Saturday night sees a sudden death GRAND FINAL REMATCH, as the well-rested Penrith Panthers face the rampaging might of South Sydney for the third consecutive finals series in a row, as a couple of key Rabbitohs not named Latrell Mitchell face injury clouds, while Jason Demetriou has already proven how good of a coach he is by overcoming the Wayne Bennett Curse and winning 2 finals this season, something that only the great Ivan Henjak has previously overcome.
That’s right, remember when Ivan Henjak was the poor bastard to succeed Wayne Bennett after 20 years at the Broncos?
He actually did well for about 18 months…. Then Darren Lockyer got injured at the end of 2010, the Broncos missed the finals for the first time since 1991, and Ivan got the guillotine.
Of course, the Rabbits haven’t forgotten about how close they came last October without Mitchell in the No.1 for his own stupid reasons, but whether or not they’re good enough to reverse the result is another question in of itself.
Fun fact, this week marks the fourth consecutive finals series in which we’ve had a Grand Final rematch; The 2019 Prelim (Roosters vs Storm) was a rematch of 2018, the 2020 Semi Final (Roosters vs Raiders) was a rematch of 2019, the 2021 Prelim (Storm vs Panthers) was a rematch of 2020, and now the 2022 Prelim is a rematch of 2021.
NOW, LET’S GET TO BUSINESS:
Semi Final score: 2/2
Progressive Score After Semi Finals: 143/201 (71.1%), without Origin games 142/198 (71.7%)
Preliminary Final Picks:
This week’s Random Picks from me….
The Cowboys to throttle the Eels in the tropics with a bit of inspiration from the Rhinestone Cowboy himself, Mr Glen Campbell.
And despite the heroics of Latrell Mitchell, the Panthers to repeat the outcome of October 2021 and have a crack at the Back To Back, as Davy Crockett rides around and says it’s Cool for Cats it’s COOL FOR CATS