All posts by Callum Urquhart

2019 Grand Final day preview

Newtown Jets player Scott Sorenson in first-grade

We now kno who will play who in each game on 2019 grand final day.

The day will mark the end of all regular season club games for the main Australian competitions and this will take place live and free on channel 9.

INTRUST SUPER CHAMPIONSHIP

NEWTOWN JETS VS BURLEIGH BEARS

To kick off the day in Sydney, the Intrust Super Championship game will see the Newtown Jets take on the Burleigh Bears.

The Bears finished the Intrust Super Cup regular season 3rd on the ladder with 17 wins and 6 losses.

They had to beat the Wynnum Manly Seagulls and the Sunshine Coast Falcons to qualify for the Grand Final.

Triumphant in the ISC grand final, the Burleigh Bears defeated the Wynnum Manly Seagulls 28-10 to qualify for the championship game.

On the other hand, the Newtown Jets finished 7th on the ladder in the Canterbury cup with 11 wins, 1 draw and 10 losses.

Newtown Jets fullback Will Kennedy

Even though they were heavy outsiders, they would go on a magical run through the finals.

This started off with a 44-20 win over the Mount Pritchard Mounties.

The following week, they defeated the 3rd place Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs with a late try to advance to the prelims.

In the preliminary final, they defeated the minor premiers, the St George Illawarra Dragons, to advance to the grand final.

The clash against the Wentworthville Magpies was an epic.

After the culmination of 80 minutes, we didn’t have a winner. 14-all with 10 minutes of extra time to play.

2019 Intrust Super Cup winners Burleigh

The Magpies took the early lead with a field goal but William Kennedy would score the game winning try in extra time.

Will the Newtown Jets continue their underdog run through the finals?

Will the Burleigh Bears be the first QLD team to win the championship since 2015?

HOLDEN WOMENS PREMIERSHIP

BRISBANE BRONCOS VS ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS

Following the Intrust Super Championship, the second Holden Women’s Championship winner will be decided.

The Brisbane Broncos have been the powerhouse of the NRLW since its conception.

They proved this earlier in the year by defeating the St George Illawarra Dragons In Round 1, 14-4.

Following this was a 20-0 win over the Sydney Roosters in round 2 but they would suffer their first ever loss in round 3.

Brisbane Broncos women’s team

This was a 10-8 loss to the New Zealand Warriors. These results were enough to get the Broncos the minor premiership.

The St George Illawarra Dragons on the other hand, came into this season with the wooden spoon of the previous season to their name.

Even with this, they came into the season as premiership favourites.

They started the season in round 1 with the Broncos leaving a 14-4 dent in their premiership favourite hopes.

However, they turned this around with a 26-6 win over the New Zealand Warriors and a 24-16 win over the Sydney Roosters.

This got them into second position on the ladder by for and against points.

St George Illawarra women’s team

Will the defending premiers and minor premiers of the Brisbane Broncos emulate the men of 1992 and 1993 and go back-to-back?

Will the Dragons make good of the preseason premiership hopes?

TELSTRA PREMIERSHIP

SYDNEY ROOSTERS VS CANBERRA RAIDERS

The main event of the day, the Telstra Premiership grand final.

The Sydney Roosters host the Canberra Raiders in a must-see clash to decide the 112th Telstra Premiership winner.

The Sydney Roosters came into the season as heavy favourites to go back-to-back to win the premiership.

They proved that this could very well come true in the regular season as they finished 2nd on the ladder with 17 wins and 7 losses.

In the first qualifying final, they laid on an attacking masterclass against the 3rd place South Sydney Rabbitohs at the SCG.

2018 premiers Sydney Roosters

They ran away with the 30-6 win to earn a bye and a ticket to the preliminary finals.

In the preliminary finals, they matched up with the minor premiers, the Melbourne Storm at the SCG.

Though it wasn’t as high-scoring as the qualifying final, they showed their defensive capabilities for a 14-6 win to earn a spot in the grand final.

The Canberra Raiders came into the season with many people having them in the bottom 8.

Not many people will have expected the resurgence of the former powerhouse we had in the 80s and 90s in the days of Ricky Stuart and Laurie Daley.

They proved the doubters wrong and finished 4th on the ladder with 15 wins and 9 losses.

Canberra Raiders’ players

In the second qualifying final, they faced the 1st placed Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park.

A late game winning try from John Bateman gave them a bye and a home preliminary final.

In the preliminary, they proved to be as tough as a brick wall defensively to win 16-10 and book a spot in the grand final.

Will the Sydney Roosters be the first team to go back-to-back since the 1992 and 1993 Brisbane Broncos?

Will the Canberra Raiders win their first premiership since 1994?

All of our questions will be answered live and free on Channel 9 on Sunday.

Shane Flanagan to the St George Illawarra Dragons

Former Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan

In 2013, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) launched an investigation into the Sharks supplements program.

The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks used this program during the 2011 season.

At the time, the head coach was Shane Flanagan and he was the one who lead the program.

The NRL caught the Sharks using illicit substances during this program and subsequently handed many players and staff members lengthy bans.

It was not until 2018 that the NRL found out that Shane Flanagan had sent over 50 emails to the Sharks management.

The ban strictly prohibited this.

Due to these emails, the NRL de-registered Shane Flanagan from coaching in the NRL.

John Morris would take over as the Sharks head coach in 2019 as Flanagan fought to be able to coach again.

This was successful as after the 2019 season, the NRL re-instated Flanagan into coaching in the NRL.

St George Illawarra Dragons coach Paul McGregor

This was with a clause that Flanagan can not be a head coach until 2022.

Flanagan has been signed by the St George Illawarra Dragons to be the assistant coach to Paul McGregor.

Many different news sites reported this throughout the week as well as NRL 360 on Monday night.

Buzz Rothfield said that this signing was due to Phil Gould’s assessment and report on the Dragons.

Will Shane Flanagan help lead to the Dragons to a top 8 finish?

Maybe even a premiership? We will see next year.

Roosters hold off Storm to make NRL grand final

Sydney Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell

Roosters vs Storm. The grand final rematch in the grand final qualifier. Minor premiers vs defending premiers.

One team will go on to the big dance and one will go home. The Storm got the better of the Roosters in their most recent meeting but this time, it’s at the SCG, the Roosters stomping ground.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves suspended and Suliasi Vunivalu injured. Kenny Bromwich plays his 150th NRL game and Cooper Cronk playing for his career.

KICKOFF

The game started in unique fashion as Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Sio Siua Taukeiaho were both sin binned for slapping each other after the first tackle!

From this, Latrell Mitchell would open the scoring with a penalty goal for a 2-0 lead after 1 minute.

Both teams would have attacking opportunities but the Roosters would get the first try after 15 minutes.

Daniel Tupou caught a high bomb above his head in the in-goal area.

Three Storm players almost held him up for the handover but Tupou got the offload out the back for Cordner to score.

Sydney Roosters winger Daniel Tupou

Latrell Mitchell sliced the kick so the score remained 6-0 after 15 minutes.

Both teams would keep having attacking opportunities but no one would crack.

With 5 minutes left in the half, Jahrome Hughes would be caught offside so Mitchell would kick the penalty goal.

The Roosters lead 8-0 with 5 minutes left until half time. The Roosters would hold on to this lead until the half.

Sydney Roosters back-rower Boyd Cordner

HALF TIME

ROOSTERS 8 – 0 STORM

Early in the second half, Zane Tetevano was put on report for a dangerous tackle on Ryan Papenhuyzen.

10 minutes later, Storm would finally crack the defence.

After a lot of great field position, an under ball to Nelson Asofa-Solomona would see the mammoth of a man reach out to give Melbourne their first points.

Cameron Smith converted for the 8-6 scoreline.

Melbourne Storm back-rower Kenny Bromwich

With 25 minutes left, Mitch Aubusson would go down with a nasty head clash with Kenny Bromwich’s hip. He failed the HIA.

15 minutes later, James Tedesco would go over on the right side to get the Roosters a 6 point lead.

Mitchell converted for the 14-6 score but in the try, Bromwich accidentally headbutted Ryan Papenhuyzen in the chin.

He would go off with his jaw bleeding. Roosters held on to win it.

Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen

FULL TIME

ROOSTERS 14 – 6 Storm

The Melbourne Storm’s 2019 season is over with that win and for the first time in 4 years, the minor premiers are not in the grand final.

The Sydney Roosters will head to ANZ stadium next week to play against the Canberra Raiders.

Will the Green Machine break their 25-year drought or will the Chooks be the first team to go back-to-back since the 1992 and 1993 Broncos?

We will find out in 8 days.

Mass changes in Brisbane?

Brisbane Broncos utility back Anthony Milford

The Brisbane Broncos season ended horribly with a 58-0 loss to the Parramatta Eels in the elimination finals.  

Mass changes have taken over Red Hill during the offseason in an attempt to repair their broken 2019.

New signings

One change that looks set in stone is Brodie Croft heading north to Brisbane.

On Thursday Morning, Croft and Anthony Seibold (Brisbane Broncos coach) met up for about an hour at a cafe on Stanley Street in Sydney.

A picture of Anthony Seibold and Brodie Croft leaving the cafe backs this up.

“Brodie Croft is Brisbane’s number one recruitment target for next season” James Hooper said as he reported on the meeting during NRL 360.

According to Hooper, the Broncos only have approximately $100k remaining in their salary cap for the 2020 season.

Potential new Bronco Brodie Croft

“If they do some shifting of players, then things could free up”, Hooper said.

Suggestions that Croft would be leaving the Melbourne Storm arised after the storm dropped him from the side after their 18-22 loss to the Canberra Raiders.

This change made way for Ryan Papenhuyzen to get into the starting side.

Who will make way?

The Broncos told Jack Bird that he is free to negotiate with other clubs.

James Hooper reported earlier in the week that there is little to no appetite for him.

The Broncos may have to look at other options to make space. According to Hooper, these options are Matt Gillett and Alex Glenn.

Brisbane Broncos back-rower Matt Gillett

Reportedly,the Broncos told Matt Gillett that he will start on the bench in 2020.

This has people believing that he has not taken this well and may want to look around for another club.

Alex Glenn seems a much more viable option though.

The Penrith Panthers are showing interest in the Broncos veteran.

This is most likely due to a lack of money.

“He’s had his current contract for this season essentially cut in half if he wants to stay at the Broncos”, Hooper said.

Captaincy, a controversial choice?

Another major change is reportedly set to be made.

The Broncos will reportedly hand down the captaincy from Darius Boyd to Matt Lodge and Patrick Carrigan.

Brisbane Broncos prop Matt Lodge

This was reported by Peter Badel earlier in the week and again by NRL 360 on Thursday night.

This is possibly due to a psychology test conducted by the Broncos where Matt Lodge and Patrick Carrigan scored the highest.

Conclusion

All in all, the Broncos appeared to have recognised that the problem in 2019 was leadership.

They are attacking this by trying to buy Brodie Croft and give the captaincy to Matt Lodge and Patrick Carrigan.

Will these changes turn around the Broncos and return them to the powerhouse they formerly were, or give them another horror season in 2020?

Only the future will tell.

Raiders make first grand final in 25 years with win over Rabbitohs

Canberra Raiders forward Josh Papalii

Both the Canberra Raiders and South Sydney Rabbitohs went into this game playing for their season and a spot in the grand final.

We have John Sutton playing for his career and Elliott Whitehead and Damien Cook playing their 100th NRL games.

All in all, there is a lot riding on this game. That is probably why this is the biggest home crowd the Raiders have ever had.

Kickoff

It took 15 minutes for first points in the game. The master of the strip, Josh Hodgson, executes it perfectly 20 metres out.

A few tackles later, Hodgson laid a kick into the in goal from an offload from Elliott Whitehead.

The late replacement for James Roberts, Corey Allan cleaned this up but lost it in his own in goal and Jarrod Croker jumped on it for the 6-0 lead.

5 minutes after the try, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was held too long by the defence and the Raiders elected to take the 2. J

Croker hooked the penalty goal to the right for the 20m dropout. The score remained 6-0 after one quarter of the game.

A bit later, Souths would get a scrum in great field position and Cody Walker looked certain to score but for a wonderful try-saving strip by Josh Hodgson!

Canberra Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson

However, this would be nullified by Souths 2 minutes later when Dane Gagai went over near the right sideline from a scrum after a John Bateman knock on.

Adam Reynolds converted for 6-all scoreline after half an hour.

Hulking Rabbitohs prop Tevita Tatola would crash over the line.

He would be denied by the bunker because three Raiders would stopped him short for the handover.

We went into the half-time break at 6-all.

HALF TIME

RAIDERS 6 – 6 RABBITOHS

The second half kicked off and the Raiders started quickly and brilliantly.

Wighton bombed it on last for Nicoll-Klokstad to bat it backwards.

The in-form custodian would recover it and lose the ball but managed to get a foot to it before it hit the ground.

He would miraculously recover this kick and go over in the left corner to score.

Croker hit the post on the conversion so the scores remained 10-6 to the Raiders after 45 minutes.

Canberra Raiders centre and captain Jarrod Croker

5 minutes later, from a grubber return, Adam Doueihi was hit high by Josh Papalii.

As the contact was with the shoulder, Papalii was put on report for the high tackle. The Souths doctors took Doueihi off the field for a HIA test.

Straight after, Sam Burgess went high on Croker. In this contact, Burgess hurt his bicep and they took him off the field.

Both Doueihi and Burgess would return with 15 minutes to play.

With 15 minutes left, Joey Leilua would succumb to a left leg injury and would come off the field.

A few minutes later, Wighton went down clutching his right shoulder but would tough it out and stay on the field.

South Sydney Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds

On the next tackle, Reynolds would intercept it and run 60 metres before Nicoll-Klokstad stopped him.

Nicoll-Klokstad gave away a penalty on the tackle following the break and the refs sent him to the sin bin.

With 6 minutes left and Nicoll-Klokstad watching on from the sin bin, Papalii beat 4 tackled to barge over under the posts!

Croker converted from directly in front to make the lead 16-6 with 5 minutes left.

As we ticked into the final minute, Campbell Graham went over to give the Rabbitohs one last chance.

South Sydney Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess

Reynolds hooked the goal from close to the left sideline which meant the Rabbitohs were down 16-10 with 1 play to win it. The Raiders held on to win the game!

FULL TIME

RAIDERS 16 – 10 RABBITOHS

The Rabbitohs 2019 season is over, John Sutton’s career is over and George Burgess is off to England.

On a more positive note, the Canberra Raiders have held on to make their first grand final in 25 years!

Who will meet the Raiders next week at ANZ stadium? We will find out tomorrow night.