We made it. NRL finals time!
Prior to the pummelling of the Roosters last week, it looked like there were 3 teams in contention for the 2020, maybe that is still the case, I guess we will find out this weekend.
Like every year, a couple of teams limping into finals and making up the numbers. No Broncos, no Cowboys and no Titans. Bring on State of Origin!
I'm still coming to terms with what happened to the Roosters last week. Trent Robinson shouldered much of the blame but is his side going as well as the past couple of years?
I don't think so.
Both teams look fairly healthy, Jake Friend the only casualty for the Roosters whilst they welcome back Brett Morris, Isaac Liu, Joseph Manu and Lindsay Collins.
Meanwhile the Panthers bring back a few big names rested last week.
Whilst the Roosters were unbelievably awful against the Bunnies, you don't lose your skill overnight. But it just seems as though they've been carrying a few injuries throughout the year and beating up on some poor sides.
The Panthers on the other hand have just lost one game in 2020. The one time these two sides did battle this season, it was a 20-14 win to the Panthers back in Round 1. That's right, no games post-COVID.
The Panthers demolition job on the Bulldogs further solidified their number 1 seeding into the finals but a lack of serious opposition in recent weeks may be to their detriment.
It may well be D-Day for the Roosters but I am going to tip the champions to bounce back and make a statement here. James Tedesco has been quiet of late, he's a big game player, this is a big game.
This'll be a cracker, I can not wait for it.
Roosters by 4.
Well the Raiders rested half the squad against the Sharks on Saturday night and got the chocolates. Do they just run out the same side? Not quite.
Mass changes for both sides after plenty of juggling last week, but it's advantage Canberra in terms of the cavalry coming back for both sides.
The Sharks have done well just to make the finals to be fair, they've really got nothing to lose coming in here. One or two more weeks and Titans take their spot!
The thing about Cronulla is they can attack, but they can't really defend and a cold night in Canberra won't make things any easier. No matter which way you look at this, it looks as though it will be a cricket score, the green machine will do this one pretty easy and they'll get ready for the loser of the Panthers / Roosters the following week.
Raiders by 22.
Parramatta just have nothing to offer in October, I'd be very surprised if they made too much noise. In actual fact, the draw works out great for the Storm, they avoid having to play either the Panthers or Roosters in the first week of finals.
These two sides met back in Round 14, it was the Eels who beat an understrength Storm side 14-0. A bit has changed since then, the Storm have been outstanding and the Eels haven't been good.
Parramatta has never beaten Melbourne in the finals and throughout the year, the Storm scored more points and conceded less.
The Storm are too good here, their side looks very strong and settled. Maybe some early energy from Parra might keep it nice and tight, but expecting the Storm to assert dominance in the second half and look forward to a week off.
Storm by 14.
It's fair to say the Knights haven't been very good and are dead set limping into the finals. On the hand, the Souths lost to the Bulldogs, then smashed the Roosters by 52. Consistency!
On that logic, perhaps this would look pretty clear cut, Rabbitohs win.
I'm weary with this but, when Newcastle start games well, they're hard to knock. When they don't, they concede some big scores.
Last time they met was back in Round 10. Remember that game? Knights got out to a 20 point lead and led by that margin with 15 minutes to go. The Rabbitohs then started playing and almost pulled off a ridiculous come back. Don't think they'll be giving them that much start this weekend.
The first 20 minutes are key in this game, will Souths have a hangover from last week and could the Knights come out and set the right tone?
Very, very weary of Newcastle here.
Rabbitohs by 1.