Hope arises for all eight NRL finalists with the arrival of Sudden Death football

Hope arises for all eight NRL finalists with the arrival of Sudden Death football

Hope arises for all eight NRL finalists with the arrival of Sudden Death football

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<p><figcaption class=Photography: Dan Himbrechts / AAP

It will not be lost to the Sydney Roosters who winning a premiership outside the top four is as likely as breaking a double-yolk egg. An exaggeration, perhaps, but the odds aren’t good. In the 113 years since 1908, 111 champions finished within the four: Brisbane took the title from the fifth in 1993 and the Bulldogs from the sixth in 1995.

Still, there is something preparing for Bondi. The Roosters, who finished sixth in the standings, are in the longest winning streak of any team entering the final. The last game they lost was against Penrith in early July. The combined score of the eight games since then is 298-118. Of course, nothing is guaranteed against a team like South Sydney, who overtook Trent Robinson’s side in the last three quarters of Friday night’s final regular season round, but still lost 26-16 after accumulating 14 points in the top 20. minutes. Nothing like a final elimination rematch between old enemies to fix it.

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And here lies the beauty of the football finals. The tail of the tape can only tell you so much when the prospect of sudden death comes. It does not satisfy Joey Manu’s calf tear, Daniel Tupou’s groin and Cameron Murray’s latest concussion. Contains no provisions for unbridled glare and brain beards and fades. It also ignores the old adage that stats are there to be broken and winning streaks stop. The Rabbitohs also have their eyes on the prize from seventh place, and when one comes out victorious from Allianz Stadium this Sunday they will already know which of Cronulla or North Queensland will wait in the semifinals.

Or one will be difficult. The Sharks have shocked the competition this season under rookie manager Craig Fitzgibbon, who led the club to second place, the best finish since 1999. Crucially, Sunday’s 38-16 defeat to Newcastle brought the Cowboys in third place, which means that the Cowboys are inspired by Todd Payten. the rebirth in the far north will only continue if they do the work away from home. More precisely, at the PointsBet Stadium, where the Sharks have only lost one game in the whole year and where they will host a first final since 2008 in front of 12,000, after many discussions with the NRL about a potential move to the bigger Allianz.

Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta said it was “a difficult decision to make”. “With our limited capacity at PointsBet Stadium this year and expected demand exceeding the 12,000 we can accommodate, there was an argument for taking the game to a larger venue,” Mezzatesta said.

To weigh on this is the fact that if we were to finish second, the team will have earned the right to play at home and it is also the advantage of playing such an important match at home, where a victory would lead us to a preliminary final. attractive to give up “.

Sharks' Braden Hamlin-Uele runs with the ball against the Newcastle Knights at the weekend.

Sharks’ Braden Hamlin-Uele runs with the ball against the Newcastle Knights at the weekend. Director of photography: Darren Pateman / AAP

The home final against big crowds policy will remain in place for another of the most anticipated games of the year, with the first minors Penrith hosting the playoffs against Parramatta at the 22,500-seat BlueBet Stadium instead of the 83,500-seat Accor Stadium. . “Sport is not always just a core issue, we need to have a broader view of that,” said NRL CEO Andrew Abdo.

For the Eels, the bigger picture is an opportunity to demonstrate that they are a different kind of consistency, having previously been consistent in their failure to win in September games. This looks a bit different, though. As it stands, Brad Arthur’s side are the only team not to have lost to the Panthers this season, having beaten them twice and doing light work in Melbourne last week. The Sydney Western Derby is hanging on some strands, the biggest being the return of Nathan Cleary after a month of waiting, the other being the ever-controversial turnaround period.

Parramatta was given eight days off against Penrith’s six, with manager Ivan Cleary resting most of his starting side in Saturday’s 38-8 defeat to the Cowboys. While he made his changes quietly, the same can’t be said for Canberra counterpart Ricky Stuart, who took a hit at the NRL on his schedule ahead of his six-day breakthrough and trip to AAMI Park for play the Storm.

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‘”I’m just happy to be in the semifinals,” said Stuart. “We are a club very used to having a short straw. I thought we would play on Sunday and then, when we had 24 hours less, I thought to myself to make a couple of changes ”. However, he can’t fault the Raiders’ recent streak for reaching eighth, cemented Sunday with a 56-10 triumph, even without retired captain Elliott Whitehead and five-eighth Jack Wighton.

The win doubled as the last humiliation of the Wests Tigers, who finished their season in last place with four wins, 10 points and 679 points conceded. Already guaranteed the wooden spoon, the Tigers were 42-0 behind at half-time at the Leichhardt Oval, in the eleventh loss in 12 games to interim manager Brett Kimmorley since taking over the sacked Michael Maguire. He’s also returned to the drawing board for Manly, 11th, who lost a seventh straight spot to the Bulldogs by extending the post-Pride losing streak to seven games, the longest of Des Hasler’s career as a player or manager.

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