FAO Eddie Hemmings: just because you’ve seen an NRL game / result from earlier on in the day, it doesn’t mean that everyone else has, and some of those people who haven’t might have the game ready to watch and would like to be able to watch those games without actually knowing the result. And to not realize this for two days in a row, well it’s not on. Le sigh…
Parramatta Eels vs Canterbury Bulldogs
So, how ’bout them Eels? Parramatta become the first side to reach the Grand Final from 8th place in the McIntyre system, and they did so because they’re a team right in form. Their pack is immense, and Fuifui Moimoi appears to have come on leaps and bounds from the last time I saw him. It’s also very hard not to like a pack that has Nathan Hindmarsh in it. As for the backs, their back three has been the best in the Finals and Jarryd Hayne has fully justified his Dally M, hasn’t he? It’s odd, but the least appreciated part of this team has been their halves. Daniel Mortimer had a pretty big game (especially as he was injured the week before) and Jeff Robson kept the team’s play ticking over. He almost passes under the radar but he rarely makes a mistake which allows the rest of the side to wreak havoc.
Of course, you can’t have a great match without two good sides, and the Doggies did themselves proud in defeat. Brett Kimmorley put himself about despite a messed up cheekbone, and Hasem El Masri’s final game was a noble effort out of position once Luke Patten went down injured. Their main problem was being unable to fight fire with fire in the forwards, and thus being unable to control Parramatta’s 2nd phase play. All in all though, an excellent game and it was worth noting how serious Daniel Anderson and Nathan Hindmarsh were after the final whistle. They’re not pleased with simply being in the Grand Final – they want to win it.
Melbourne Storm vs Brisbane Broncos
Of course, lost in all this (deserved) talk about the Eels is this sobering thought: they’re going up against a Melbourne side who have been awesome in their last two games. Admittedly, they were helped immensely in this game by the absence of Peter Wallace, because it ended in Darren Lockyer trying to do too much for the Broncos and ultimately doing nothing. What also really didn’t help the Broncos was that a week after putting in one of the most brutal defensive efforts seen in a while, they appeared tame and weak in the middle and were bullied in the forwards all day.
It’s interesting too that with all this talk of Jarryd Hayne people seem to be forgetting that Billy Slater has scored six tries in his last two games. Add to that Greg Inglis getting a hat-trick including yet another insane finish, and Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Brett Finch all at the peak of their playmaking powers. My only worry if I was a Storm fan would be that the last two games have been too easy, because I doubt the Eels are going to be so rudderless. Nonetheless it’s fair to assume that the Storm won’t be intimidated by the Eels pack and if they can throw the Eels out of their razzamatazz element, you would think they should be favourites on Sunday.