NRL Finals a 2 horse race?

As the Melbourne Storm and the Manly Sea Eagles finish miles in front of every other NRL top 8 team in 2007 – is this years Rugby League premiership anything more than a 2 team race?

Phil Gould made some interesting comments and pointed out the quality of the other 6 teams inside the Top 8 isn’t very impressive when compared to the daunting statistics of Melbourne and Manly this year.

â–  South Sydney Rabbitohs finishing 7th after having scored the least amount of points and least number of tries of any other team in the NRL.

â–  The Roosters finished just one point out of the NRL Top 8, having not competed for the first 17 rounds of the NRL and at one stage looking like certain wooden spooners.

â–  The Cronulla Sharks having only won four of their past 14 matches finished just one win out of the NRL Top 8.

â–  Newcastle Knights finished four points out of the eight, despite winning just one of their last eight as a horrific injury toll prevailed.

â–  The North Queensland Cowboys finished a clear third despite conceding a staggering 618 points during the regular season (only Newcastle and Canberra conceded more points).

â–  Wests Tigers missed the top eight on for-and-against despite winning just two of their last eight matches.

â–  The Bulldogs, Broncos and South Sydney all got belted in the last round, despite the fact a win for any of those teams would have helped them into a more prominent position within the top eight.

Phil makes some pretty good points here, certainly in an ideal world – the heavyweights at Melbourne and Manly would meet in the decider and this may even be the case in 2007. However, finals football is nothing like the regular season games of the NRL. As the old cliche says “It all starts again in September!”

Suddenly teams like Melbourne get a little more nervous, teams like the Bulldogs some how become giant killers who are very suited to finals Rugby League and regional teams such as the Warriors and Cowboys and will have massive crowd support behind them – spoon feeding them truckloads of confidence and pride each day of the finals.

Throw in a Rugby League football that can bounce in any direction and referee’s decisions that can send a fanatical fan into the suicide watch house at RPA Hospital and you have an idea of how things never go to plan.

Oh and one more thing, you need to say your prayers and hope your teams most valuable players can stay healthy, avoiding injury for just 4 more weeks!

See, there’s nothing much that can stand in the way of Melbourne and Manly competing in the Grand Final……………NOT.

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