Monday's Expert - 2022 NRL Finals Week 3

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Time for a full wrap-up of the weekend's NRL action. Monday's Expert brings you the full results wrap from the weekend, plus Match Review charges, injury news, our POTY standings, crowds, TV ratings and a look ahead to next round.

All listed times are AEST (NSW/QLD/VIC/ACT).


RELATED: See the full list of 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Draw and Results.


NRL Finals Week 3 results

North Queensland Cowboys 20 Parramatta Eels 24

Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Crowd: 25372
Date: Friday 23 September 2022 at 7:50pm

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (20)
Tries: Reuben Cotter, Luciano Leilua, Murray Taulagi
Conversions: Valentine Holmes (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Valentine Holmes (2/2)

PARRAMATTA EELS (24)
Tries: Viliami Penisini, Reagan Campbell-Gillard (2), Maika Sivo
Conversions: Mitchell Moses (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Mitchell Moses (0/1)

Eels into their first grand final since 2009 with a prelim final thriller

AJ Lucantonio | September 23 2022 9:45PM

The Parramatta Eels are the first side into the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final with a nail-biting four point victory over the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville tonight.

It was a fast and furious start to the game, which was played in warm and humid conditions in Townsville which was more suited to the home side. But the visitors got the early rub of the green when an almost certain forward pass from Mitch Moses was called by everyone live, except the officials. From there, Parramatta played on and Marata Niukore drew in the fullback and Will Penisini crossed for the first try.

Parramatta's lead was short lived, and it was all their own doing. Off the back of a short dropout, Rueben Cotter went straight between Reed Mahoney and Niukore and crashes over to get the Cowboys back in it. There was more controversy when Jason Taumalolo was dispatched to the sin-bin for direct shoulder contact to the head of Isaiah Papali'i.

Parramatta took full advantage of the extra man when Reagan Campbell-Gillard crashed over after Chad Townsend jammed in to create a yawning gap and the enforcer retook the lead for the visitors. The Eels were once again their own worst enemy when Moses kicked two consecutive bombs out on the full and Waqa Blake went back to his form of two weeks ago dropping bombs for fun.

 North Queensland reduced the gap when Luciano Leilua charged over the top of Penisini to reduce the gap to two. A late penalty for ruck interference gave Val Holmes a gift two points to go into the sheds all locked up at 12-12.

The second half started like the first ended, an illegal strip from Papali'I gave Holmes a gift two points from in front and the Cowboys had their first lead of the night. Two minutes later, it was a great Griffin Neame offload to Tom Dearden who was taken short of the line. Off the next play it was a lovely ball to Drinkwater who found Holmes who in turn got it onto Murray Taulagi to cross and more importantly, a two possession lead.

But, then the twists continued to come. Parramatta had limited possession, but they took advantage off a Cowboys mistake. It was an unlikely double for RCG when Jordan McLean and Jason Taumalolo had a horrific defensive relapse and the Eels veteran forward got try number two. Moses converted to give his side every chance as they trailed by just two points. Moses missed a gift penalty goal, but off the set post points, a clever short-side raid by Reed Mahoney allowed Maika Sivo to score and put the Eels back front and with Moses redeeming himself, the Eels had a four point lead.

North Queensland threw everything at the Eels and they were denied a try when Kyle Feldt stepped on the sideline. Parramatta also withstood a large defensive stand in the final ten minutes of play to seal their place in this season's Grand Final. North Queensland are far from disgraced, a season where many pundits had egg on their face predicting them to be competition cellar-dwellers. Todd Payten can build upon this for seasons to come. But, the party is beginning for the Eels as they prepare for their first premiership decider in 13 years.

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Shaun Lane
2 points - Reagan Campbell-Gillard
1 points - Reuben Cotter


Penrith Panthers 32 South Sydney Rabbitohs 12

Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
Crowd: 50034
Date: Saturday 24 September 2022 at 7:50pm

PENRITH PANTHERS (32)
Tries: Apisai Koroisau, Nathan Cleary, Brian To'o, Spencer Leniu, Izack Tago
Conversions: Nathan Cleary (5/5)
Penalty Goals: Nathan Cleary (1/1)

SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (12)
Tries: Cody Walker, Richard Kennar
Conversions: Latrell Mitchell (2/2)

Penrith prevail to reach premiership decider

Robert Crosby | September 24 2022 10:06PM

The Penrith Panthers will have a chance to defend their premiership title after defeating the South Sydney Rabbitohs 32-12 to confirm a place in the 2022 NRL Grand Final.

Becoming only the third team alongside the Sydney Roosters (2002-04) and Melbourne Storm (2016-2018) to legitimately qualify for three consecutive Grand Finals in the NRL era, the reigning premiers will face a nervous wait with Viliame Kikau placed on report and Spencer Leniu forced from the field after a high tackle resulting in Taane Milne being sent off.

In a fierce opening which saw Izack Tago denied a four-pointer due to an obstruction, the Rabbitohs made the most of ensuing field position with Cody Walker (12th minute) pouncing on an offload from Mark Nicholls close to the goal line.

Taking advantage of another penalty after Kikau was placed on report for a shoulder charge, Latrell Mitchell timed a short pass to perfection allowing Isaiah Tass to find space and send Richie Kennar (18th minute), replacing Alex Johnston on the wing, over in the corner.

Facing a 0-12 deficit for the first this season, the Panthers managed to hold their nerve and were unlucky to have a try to Charlie Staines overturned for an obstruction midway through the half.

The Panthers were denied four points once again with Kikau ruled offside from a short line drop out, but the resolve of the reigning premiers eventually paid off with Apisai Koroisau (36th minute) managing to get the ball on the line following a terrific bust from dummy half. 

Looking set to head to the sheds trailing by a converted try, Brian To'o (40th minute) produced a Steven Bradbury-esque moment by swooping on an error from Campbell Graham and outpacing the Rabbitohs defence to level the scores at 12-all. 

Coming out for the second half without the burden of needing to chase points, the Panthers gained the ascendancy with Kikau charging down a kick from Lachlan Ilias; Nathan Cleary capitalised with an inspired grubber grounded by Leniu (45th minute) to put the hosts in front for the first time.

Dylan Edwards showcased his standing as Penrith's most valuable player this season with an inspirational kick return culminating in Izack Tago (55th minute) running onto a grubber from Jarome Luai to swing the momentum of the match entirely in the Panthers favour.

Securing the result t after Taane Milne was sent off for collecting Leniu with a swinging arm around the head, Cleary added a penalty goal to push the victors beyond two converted tries.  

Completing a night to remember with a try in the shadows of fulltime, Cleary (78th minute) kicked for himself to the delight of 50,034 supporters in attendance at Accor Stadium.

Aiming to become only the second team in the NRL era to claim back-to-back premierships, the Penrith Panthers will face the Parramatta Eels in the 2022 NRL Grand Final on Sunday evening.

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Dylan Edwards
2 points - Apisai Koroisau
1 points - Cameron Murray


RELATED: Click here to view the final NRL Telstra Premiership ladder.


Match Review Charges

PlayerChargeVerdictSuspension/Fine
Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys)Grade 2 Dangerous ContactGuilty - early plea3 matches
Viliame Kikau (Panthers)Grade 1 Shoulder ChargeGuilty - early plea$3000 fine
Charlie Staines (Panthers)Grade 1 Shoulder ChargeGuilty - early plea$1500 fine
Taane Milne (Rabbitohs)Grade 2 High Tackle - RecklessGuilty - early plea6 matches

Check out the 2022 match review structure and penalties table here.


Who could be back?

Parramatta back Tom Opacic could be back for the Grand Final after withdrawing ahead of the preliminary final.


LeagueUnlimited Player of the Year standings

Our writers issue points every game for who they judge as the best player on the field.

38 points - Nicho Hynes (Sharks)
31 points - Ben Hunt (Dragons/QLD)
29 points - Cameron Munster (Storm/QLD), Mitchell Moses (Eels)
25 points - Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles), James Tedesco (Roosters/NSW)
23 points - Jahrome Hughes (Storm/NZ), Joseph Tapine (Raiders)
20 points - Latrell Mitchell (Rabbitohs), Joseph Manu (Roosters/NZ), Nathan Cleary (Panthers/NSW)
18 points - AJ Brimson (Titans)
17 points - Jarome Luai (Panthers/NSW), Matt Burton (Bulldogs/NSW), Dylan Edwards (Panthers)
16 points - Jack Wighton (Raiders/NSW)
15 points - Isaah Yeo (Panthers), Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys), Damien Cook (Rabbitohs)
14 points - Adam Reynolds (Broncos), Scott Drinkwater (Cowboys), Cameron Murray (Rabbitohs)
13 points - Apisai Koroisau (Panthers)
12 points - Viliame Kikau (Panthers), Harry Grant (Storm), Jackson Hastings (Wests Tigers), Valentine Holmes (Cowboys/QLD), Reuben Cotter (Cowboys)
11 points - Jeremiah Nanai (Cowboys), Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (Titans), Clinton Gutherson (Eels)
10 points - Dylan Brown (Eels), Sam Walker (Roosters), Siosifa Talakai (Sharks), Kalyn Ponga (Knights/QLD), Junior Paulo (Eels), Shaun Lane (Eels)
9 points - Reed Mahoney (Eels), Josh Papali'i (Raiders), Blayke Brailey (Sharks), Luke Keary (Roosters), Keaon Koloamatangi (Rabbitohs), Shaun Johnson (Warriors), Jeremy Marshall-King (Bulldogs), Ryan Papenhuyzen (Storm), Haumole Olakau'atu (Sea Eagles), Reece Robson (Cowboys), Payne Haas (Broncos)
8 points - Matt Moylan (Sharks), Talatau Amone (Dragons), Jake Clifford (Knights), Selwyn Cobbo (Broncos), Josh Addo-Carr (Bulldogs), Isaiah Papali'i (Eels), Addin Fonua-Blake (Warriors), Hudson Young (Raiders), Taylan May (Panthers/Samoa), Cody Walker (Rabbitohs)
7 points - Will Kennedy (Sharks), Josh Curran (Warriors), Zac Lomax (Dragons), Reece Walsh (Warriors), Ronaldo Mulitalo (Sharks), Chad Townsend (Cowboys), Tom Dearden (Cowboys), James Fisher-Harris (Panthers/NZ), Lachlan Ilias (Rabbitohs)
6 points - Kieran Foran (Sea Eagles), Dane Gagai (Knights), Kotoni Staggs (Broncos), Justin Olam (Storm/PNG), Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs), Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Eels)
5 points - Lachlan Miller (Sharks), Adam Elliott (Raiders), David Klemmer (Knights), Thomas Burgess (Rabbitohs), Patrick Carrigan (Broncos), Wayde Egan (Warriors), Adam Doueihi (Wests Tigers), Jock Madden (Wests Tigers), Peta Hiku (Cowboys), Liam Martin (Panthers), Josh Aloiai (Sea Eagles), Siosiua Taukeiaho (Roosters), Reuben Garrick (Sea Eagles)
4 points - Cameron McInnes (Sharks), Herbie Farnworth (Broncos), Royce Hunt (Sharks), Tex Hoy (Knights), Kurt Capewell (Broncos), Briton Nikora (Sharks), Ryan Matterson (Eels), Beau Fermor (Titans), Cody Ramsey (Dragons), Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Storm), Zac Hosking (Broncos), Corey Oates (Broncos), Tesi Niu (Broncos), Luciano Leilua (Wests Tigers/Cowboys), Nat Butcher (Roosters), Luke Brooks (Wests Tigers), David Nofoaluma (Wests Tigers, Samoa, Storm)
3 points - Dale Finucane (Sharks), Lachlan Croker (Sea Eagles), Mikaele Ravalawa (Dragons), Toby Sexton (Titans), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters), Brad Schneider (Raiders), Ezra Mam (Broncos), Braidon Burns (Bulldogs), Campbell Graham (Rabbitohs), Ryan Sutton (Raiders), Te Maire Martin (Broncos), Marion Seve (Storm), Albert Kelly (Broncos), Sean O'Sullivan (Panthers), Erin Clark (Titans), Tom Gilbert (Cowboys), Anthony Milford (Knights), Tohu Harris (Warriors), Luke Thompson (Bulldogs), Daejarn Asi (Cowboys), Tyson Frizell (Knights), Stephen Crichton (Panthers), Xavier Savage (Raiders), Jesse Ramien (Sharks), Matthew Lodge (Warriors/Roosters), Joseph Suaalii (Roosters), Kelma Tuilagi (Wests Tigers), Moses Suli (Dragons), Matt Frawley (Raiders), Angus Crichton (Roosters), Daine Laurie (Wests Tigers), Lachlan Lam (PNG/Roosters), Brian To'o (Panthers)
2 points - Corey Harawira-Naera (Raiders), Felise Kaufusi (Storm), Tanah Boyd (Titans), Morgan Harper (Sea Eagles), Edrick Lee (Knights), Jordan Rapana (Raiders), Tevita Pangai Junior (Bulldogs), Jamal Fogarty (Raiders), Mathew Feagai (Dragons), Toby Rudolf (Sharks), Jaydn Su'A (Dragons), Dylan Walker (Sea Eagles), Izack Tago (Panthers), Martin Taupau (Sea Eagles), Liam Knight (Rabbitohs), Nick Meaney (Storm), Luke Garner (Wests Tigers), Jai Arrow (Rabbitohs), Kodi Nikorima (Warriors/Rabbitohs), Ken Maumalo (Wests Tigers), Tyrell Sloan (Dragons), Phillip Sami (Titans), Greg Marzhew (Titans), Kyle Feldt (Cowboys), Teig Wilton (Sharks), Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles), Hame Sele (Rabbitohs), Murray Taulagi (Cowboys), Sebastian Kris (Raiders), Sunia Turuva (Fiji/Panthers), Elliott Whitehead (Raiders)
1 point - Kade Dykes (Sharks), Corey Waddell (Bulldogs), Jack Murchie (Warriors), Braydon Trindall (Sharks), Nathan Brown (Eels), Izaac Thompson (Rabbitohs), Jaeman Salmon (Panthers), Corey Horsburgh (Raiders), Jake Averillo (Bulldogs), Jordan McLean (Cowboys), Siliva Havili (Rabbitohs), Jayden Campbell (Titans), Jack Bird (Dragons), Dominic Young (Knights), Thomas Freebairn (Wests Tigers), Tevita Tatola (Rabbitohs), Jacob Kiraz (Bulldogs), Max King (Bulldogs), Adam Pompey (Warriors), Kenny Bromwich (Storm), Matthew Timoko (Raiders), Joe Ofahengaue (Wests Tigers), Tyrone Roberts (Broncos), Matt Eisenhuth (Panthers), Josh Mcguire (Dragons), Ben Trbojevic (Sea Eagles), Brandon Smith (Storm), Lindsay Collins (Roosters), Adam Clune (Knights), Blake Taaffe (Rabbitohs), Victor Radley (Roosters), Xavier Coates (Storm), Blake Lawrie (Dragons), Matt Dufty (Bulldogs), Connor Tracey (Sharks), Mitchell Barnett (Knights), Aiden Tolman (Sharks), Marcelo Montoya (Warriors), Toafofoa Sipley (Sea Eagles), James Schiller (Raiders), Declan Casey (Bulldogs), Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles), Josh Schuster (Sea Eagles/Samoa)


Metrics Metrics Metrics

Each week we'll also do our best to keep you across the crowd figures and TV ratings which are often the most talked-about parts of the game.

Crowds - Finals Week 3

North Queensland Cowboys (20) v Parramatta Eels (24)
Fri 23 Sep 7:50PM at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville (Crowd: 25372)
Penrith Panthers (32) v South Sydney Rabbitohs (12)
Sat 24 Sep 7:50PM at Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park (Crowd: 50034)

Ratings - Finals Week 2

STV ratings (Fox League)

Fri 7:50pm - NQL v PAR - 418K
Sat 7:50pm - PEN v SOU - 393K

FW3 STV total: 811K

FTA ratings (Nine Network)

Fri 7:50pm - NQL v PAR - 744K metro
Sat 7:50pm - PEN v SOU - 748K metro

FW3 FTA total: 1.49M metro only


Around the grounds

Scores from state leagues and the UK

--> Check out all the finals and grand final results


What's ahead - Grand Final Day

NRL State Championship

Sunday 2 October, 1:15pm
Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
Norths Devils (QLD Cup premiers)
v Penrith Panthers (NSW Cup premiers)

NRLW Grand Final

Sunday 2 October, 3:45pm
Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
Parramatta Eels
v Newcastle Knights

NRL Grand Final

Sunday 2 October, 7:30pm
Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
Penrith Panthers
v Parramatta Eels

Full 2022 NRL draw & results