16 teams. 1 premiership title. Only 4 teams remain. We are closer to finding out who will be the NRL Telstra Premiers for 2013 as we are now in the semi final round of footy. We are guaranteed new premiers as the reigning Melbourne Storm were upset by the Newcastle Knights last weekend. Who will go onto one of the most anticipated grand finals of recent years?
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Two of the top form teams collide at ANZ Stadium tonight in what is sure to be an all-out nail biter between the Bunnies and the Eagles. The Bunnies have not tasted grand final glory since 1971 (I wasn’t even born then!) while the Eagles have been finals mainstays year after year, last tasting grand final flory only two years ago defeating the Warriors.
The Bunnies have had a week off after securing their semi final presence by beating the Storm in the qualifier. This time off not only serves the whole team some good but especially fullback Greg Inglis who is overcoming an injury. Their game against the Storm was challenged by many rugby league fans alike and it is debatable that they have been playing at 100%. In my sweet and humble opinion, the Bunnies have been playing good footy – not bad, but not excellent either. If they want to break their premiership drought, they’re going to have to find that passion and hunger that is evident in other teams (Newcastle Knights) to beat the ever impressive Sea Eagles.
One of the things that I admire about the Sea Eagles are their loyal followers, and it’s hard not to argue that fact seeing as they have impressed year after year. While the player to watch for the Eagles has often been Brett Stewart, I would argue that the one to watch in the Eagles side is Kieran Foran – the (proud Kiwi) man has been a force to be reckoned with in recent weeks and has been in top form in the latter portion of the year. He has been a bloody outstanding five-eighth so John Sutton will have his work cut out for him.
SolSat’s Prediction: South Sydney Rabbitohs
This is a tentative tip, not because I am unsure of the Bunnies ability to win but because the Eagles are that damn good that I wouldn’t be surprised to see if I was wrong. I am basing 90% of my choice on the fact that since the beginning of the year, I have said that the Bunnies will make the grand final so I am sticking to that prediction. If I am wrong, however… there is no shame in losing a tip against the Eagles. Here’s to a good game of footy at my second most favourite stadium in the world.
Sydney City Roosters vs. Newcastle Knights
It is the premiership favourites versus the veteran underdogs as the Chookies collide with the Knights. The minor premiers for 2013 (the Roosters) last captured grand final glory in 2002 led by league great Brad Fittler. Coincidentally, the previous year’s Premiership was won by the Newcastle Knights who were led at the time by Fittler’s main ‘rival’, Andrew “Joey” Johns.
The Roosters have been favoured to win the grand final this year with the acquisition of solid footy players like Sonny Bill Williams and James Maloney – with the former, I would just like to point out that if I saw that man running at me, I would gladly relinquish the ball and put my head between my legs. Their side have incredible talent that could have this one easily if they knew how to execute their talents effectively, and not choke. Not that that’s a reference to anyone…
The Knights were written off earlier in the year with a decent start to the year, nothing outstanding, nothing bad. With the added pressure of making the top 8 later in the year, the Knights were slapped awake and went on a steamroller, their most impressive victory coming last week against the Storm. With this being Buderus’ last year in the NRL (for the second time), the Knights are keen to make Danny’s last year a golden one.
SolSat’s Prediction: Sydney City Roosters
I’m tipping with my head on this one because my heart is solely behind the Knights. I’m hoping for Buderus to go out with a win in the semi final and maybe even a grand final win but if not, that’s okay – there is no embarrassment about losing to the Chookies who have been hovering around the top rung of the ladder all year.
I haven’t been this excited about footy finals in ages, and one semi is being played right now. Peace out, SolSaters!
– by Noah La’ulu