Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
14 hours ago
Flashback: The year is 2002, the match is Warriors vs Roosters at Aussie Stadium - the one just before the finals, and also the one where the Warriors were flogged by a rather unhealthy looking scoreline of 44 to blot.
At one stage (after yet another Roosters try), Kevin Campion huddled his team together - presumably for the standard pep-talk, ?keep your heads up?, etc etc. But no, he had a clearer message. Despite being down by a considerable margin at the time, Campion was exhorting to his team to ?set up for a field goal to improve our points differential?.
Now one can only presume he wasn?t being serious - although we can?t tell for sure - but still, it reinforces one of the greatest qualities about this great game of ours.
Never give up.
Rugby League is literally overflowing with stories of amazing comebacks - from individuals performing superhuman feats despite overwhelming obstacles, to teams clawing their way back from a seemingly impossible position, to the game itself being able to repair and rebuild after a shocking and shameful internal war. That fire that seems to burn deep within is apparently impossible to extinguish, as many people can readily attest.
Can you honestly imagine any half-decent Rugby League player would ?pull his oars up? to the detriment of his team?
Take Willie Mason - by God, if any player ever had a reason to throw in the towel, it was definitely Big Willie. This bloke could hardly draw a breath without being condemned for some reason or another. I reckon if you took all the newspaper stories about Mr Mason over the past few years you would have enough paper to build a double-laned reinforced bridge over the Tasman ? with enough left over to wrap a whole years supply of our Fush and Chups.
Yet somehow he has managed to play at a consistently high level - capped off with a Clive Churchill Medal and rewarded with a Kangaroo jumper.
Sure, it?s easy to bag the guy - especially when most of his ?troubles? seem to be self-inflicted - but surely you have to admire his guts. Obviously, he?s another one who never gives up.
How about some of the team efforts we have seen recently? To be staring down the barrel of a 30 or 40 point hiding is demoralising enough - and yet somehow we have seen time and time again that teams just cannot realise when to give up ?
Did the Dragons give up when they were trailing Manly by a considerable stretch in that memorable match earlier this year?
Did the Warriors give up when they were miles off the pace against South Sydney at Aussie Stadium in 2003?
Did South Sydney give up when the Warriors hit back in that same match to draw level late in the game?
Did the Warriors give up when South Sydney managed to re-take the lead once more very late in that very same match?
(Just in case you need reminding, the Warriors won that one 31-30 ... yippee!)
There are countless others - Penrith vs Wests Tigers, 2000 ? Cowboys vs Penrith, 1998 ? Bulldogs vs Warriors, 2001 ? Dragons vs Storm, 1999 ? I could go on like this for hours.
All of those matches have given us some extraordinary memories that will last lifetimes. It?s all a wonderful reminder that our great game is built on such a strong spirit that just cannot seem to buckle or break, whatever the circumstances.
Never give up.
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