I was right at least that my bracket was destroyed within fifteen minutes of the first game as the Roosters went to an early lead against the Broncos that they only briefly gave up. I finished the round one tip from four, meaning that the only thing I got right was that I got my bracket wrong.
Fortunately, a new week of finals brings new opportunities to get things wrong.
Penrith (13-11) @ Brisbane (16-8)
The Panthers rode Nathan Cleary like Hannibal crossing the Alps (sixteen of them riding one elephant somehow) through yet another game that somehow resulted in victory. I just looked up the team list to see if he had any teammates and the only name I recognised was Josh Mansour and that’s only because he looks like he should be robbing stagecoaches in 1890s Ballarat. Penrith did a good job of turning around the fixture that they lost only a week before, particularly having to come from behind in the last ten minutes, which is roughly the amount of time that the Panthers’ premiership chances have left.
Brisbane and Sydney played their usual roles on the stage of rugby league, the Broncos as Brisbane and the Roosters playing the role of Sydney. It was practically a spec script: the Broncos went behind early, the Roosters lifted their foot off the pedal too early and Brisbane stormed back to take an unlikely lead with ten minutes to go, capitalising on the unlikeliest of Roosters’ errors. Painfully weak Broncos defence saw the Roosters’ superstar-in-the-making Latrell Mitchell get through for the game winning try. It was a fun time while it lasted, even if it was only five minutes, which is roughly the amount of time that the Broncos’ premiership chances have left.
I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if the Panthers win it, just because Brisbane haven’t been that reliable, but I think that the Broncos are really itching to cop a hammering from the Storm.
North Queensland (13-11) @ Parramatta (16-8)
Who’d have thunk the Cowboys would’ve made it this far? Not me. I thought Cronulla would be playing Parramatta and that Paul Gallen might give Mitchell Moses something to think about during the off-season (i.e. a belting). Instead, the Sharks stuffed it, giving away a number of opportunities to win the game and taking it like the mature adults the Shire is known for, had a meltdown that would make a three year old proud. The Cowboys showed the same grit that the media has been talking about for months now, even if it is just the result of a statistical fluke due to excessive possession.
Parramatta played what was probably the best game of their season last week. Fortunately for them, Melbourne had one of the worst. And the result? Melbourne still won by two points. The Eels had a good game but couldn’t crack the Storm but if they play like that again this weekend and given the Cowboys aren’t the same calibre as Melbourne, they should be able to account for the Cowboys’ relatively weakness, even if Jason Taumalolo decides to hulk out again and start charging the Eels’ halves.
While it’d be fantastic if the Cowboys did win – the stuff of fairy tales even (has anyone thought of that angle yet?) – my head says Parramatta will win to face Sydney next week.
After week 1: