2 days ago
Then there were four... Monday night wrap, next week's games and results from week two of the NRL Finals from Tuesday's Expert.
Last weekend's NRL finals gave us high drama in the Storm v Broncos clash mixed with the spirit of underdog as the Warriors got up once again, this time over Roosters.
After 'vowing to go the full distance', the Roosters were left scoreless in the second half for the second time in as many weeks. Spare a thought for those Roosters supporters subjected to a slower than normal death as their team qualified for a top four spot, but failed to deliver despite leading at half time in both finals clashes.
Meanwhile a jubilant Warriors outfit ran out 30-13 winners. The bearded outsiders have got everyone in New Zealand - as well as supporters from eight other clubs - cheering them on. And I'm jumping on the bandwagon. Go the Warriors!
The next day we saw the Storm pull off an amazing last minute 16-14 victory. The bizarre thing about the Broncos v Storm match is that every man and his dog reckons the better team lost. Some have dared to say they were robbed. Enough has been written about this. Suffice to say, the Storm are being labelled as a team that is fast running out of steam.
Meanwhile the fallout continues with Storm skipper Cameron Smith, last year's best player in the universe, being charged over a 'grapple tackle' on Broncos' forward Sam Thaiday.
Defenders of Smith have called for calm. They maintain that it wasn't really a grapple, it was merely an attempt to turn Thaiday into a pretzel. So what's the drama? In any case, Smith has the burden of carry over points and any conviction will see him gone for two weeks, and the year.
Teammate Jeremy Smith has also been charged with a grade one 'chicken wing' in the same tackle, but the Kiwi international can accept a one week ban with an early guilty plea. The Storm are also likely to be without backrower Ryan Hoffman after he aggravated an ankle injury.
Regardless of this week's judiciary ruling, the defending premiers are under the hammer this coming weekend. But only a fool would write them off this close to the final prize.
NEXT WEEK - Finals Week 3
Friday 26 September 2008: Sharks v Storm Sydney Football Stadium 7:45pm AEST
Saturday 27 September 2008: Sea Eagles v Warriors Sydney Football Stadium 7:45pm AEST
MATCH RESULTS: LeagueUnlimited.com NRL - FINALS WEEK 2: 19 SEPTEMBER - 20 SEPTEMBER 2008
New Zealand Warriors 30 def Sydney Roosters 13 Finals - Week 2 - Friday September 19th, 2008 6:40pm AEST Venue: Mt Smart Stadium (Kick off 8:40pm NZST) Referee: Tony Archer Touch Judges: Steve Chiddy & Jeff Younis Video Referees: Steve Clark & Phil Cooley Halftime: Roosters 13-6 Crowd: 25,585
New Zealand Warriors 30
Tries: Lance Hohaia (2), Ian Henderson, Manu Vatuvei, Aiden Kirk
Goals: Michael Witt (5/5) Sydney Roosters 13 Tries: Mitchell Pearce, Anthony Minichiello Field Goals: Braith Anasta (1/1) Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Lance Hohaia (Warriors) 2 Points: Nathan Fien (Warriors) 1 Point: Ian Henderson (Warriors)
Melbourne Storm 16 def Brisbane Broncos 14 Finals - Week 2 - Saturday September 20th, 2008 7:35pm Venue: Suncorp Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne Touch Judges: Matt Cecchin & Paul Holland Video Referee: Bill Harrigan Crowd: 50,466 Halftime: Broncos 12 Storm 0
Brisbane Broncos 14 Tries: Darius Boyd, Denan Kemp Goals: Corey Parker (3/3) Melbourne Storm 16 Tries: Michael Crocker, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis Goals: Cameron Smith (2/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Darren Lockyer (Broncos) 2 Points: Billy Slater (Storm) 1 Point: Denan Kemp (Broncos)
LEAGUEUNLIMITED.COM PLAYER AWARDS 2008 (FINALISED AT COMPLETION OF ROUND 26)
LEAGUEUNLIMITED.COM PLAYERS OF THE YEAR (TIED):
MATT ORFORD (Sea Eagles), JAMIE SOWARD (Dragons)
Previous Winners 2003: Matt Orford (Storm) 2004: Brett Finch (Roosters) & Matt Orford (Storm) 2005: Andrew Johns (Knights) 2006: Cameron Smith (Storm) 2007: Cameron Smith (Storm)
LEAGUEUNLIMITED.COM TEAM OF THE YEAR
Fullback: Billy Slater (Storm) Wingers: Luke Covell (Sharks), Manu Vatuvei (Warriors) Centres: Joel Monaghan (Raiders), Israel Folau (Storm) Five eighth: Jamie Soward (Dragons) Halfback: Matt Orford (Sea Eagles) Prop forwards: Petero Civoniceva (Panthers), Ben Hannant (Broncos) / Jason Ryles (Dragons)* Hooker: Michael Ennis (Broncos) Second row forwards: Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters), Chris Heighington (Tigers) Lock forward: Glenn Stewart (Sea Eagles)
*Hannant and Ryles tied for the second prop forward position.
The LeagueUnlimited.com players of the match are decided by our live score updaters and tallied here each week on Tuesday