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On The Ball
On The Ball

Episode · 11 months ago

2021 NRL Season Review Pt.2 & Grand Final Week | Rugby League

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The final NRL episode of the year!!!! In this blockbuster, we run through the seasons of the top 8 teams handing out player awards for MVP, Most Improved and Best Young player. We review the Prelim finals and discuss what went right and wrong for the teams respectively. Finally, we preview the final game of Rugby League in 2021, revealing the deciding factors in this one for either team to come out victorious. 

Links: https://linktr.ee/ontheball

Welcome back to another episode of the on the wall podcast, in a bit of a different setting today, as I'm sure you can tell if you're watching, if you're listening, I'm outside in front of bamboo. Probably looks a bit whack, but you've got some feedback on one of the podcast last week that I should maybe try and spice up the backgrounds. Not really like going to go buy a green screen or something. So this is, you know, just in my house and it looks. I think it looks pretty cool. So I might try and do some podcasts out here more often. I used to do them but have since transition into the room, my bedroom. But it's looking like it's going to rain for the next like ten days in Melbourne, so might not be able to get here too much. But we're here today to talk about the NRL gram final. Massive week, arguably the biggest week of any sporting code, or in Australia anyway. I know some codes don't have finals, but, like you, AFL grand final weeks huge and NL grand final weeks huge. So we're going to do as usually. We're going to look back on last weekend's so we're going to chat about the two prelimbs. We're also going to have a little quick chat about the Daim awards that were on Monday night and then I'm going to do the final up. Did the bottom eight season review use it a few weeks ago and now I'm going to do the top eight season reviews and then we're going to finish with an Almighty grand final preview. So it's a pretty jampacked episode, so stay tuned for all of it. So first of up, last weekend we had souse versus manly. was excited for this one and I feel like a bit of a food coming out if it. To be honest. If you listen to the last week's podcast, I was heavy on the manly seagulls and I can't lie. As a fan of the Hello Sport podcast. Check it out if you don't know what that is. I may have been a little bit brainwashed about by manly, by those boys, but look, I just thought they were going to learn from their errors against Melbourne and they didn't. Really it was a very similar performance. They seemed to just be forcing everything early in tackle counts. I think I mentioned it after the Melbourne game, but like in the first ten, fifteen minutes. You just got to sort of earn your right to throw the footy around. So yeah, that was a little bit disappointing because I know it's the way they've been playing all year, but I just thought after that Melbourne lost they might have adapted a little more. But yes, House one by twenty points. This is some stats from the game. Manly had seventeen errors for penalties, for set restarts and one SIM didn't like. That's I don't know if a teams ever won without many because, let's say so the seventeen errors, I know like some of them might be fifth tackles. So it doesn't really matter because you know they're getting the ball the next set it. So let's say half of them. That's an extra set to south. So that's an extra nine set for penalties, that could be. Well, that is an extra four sets. And then for set restart. So that's about that's almost twenty extra sets for south just there. And they're also taking sets away from themselves by giving those away. Also one sinbin that was later on in the piece. Yeah, just really disappointing and I don't want to take away from south achievement of making the grand final, but yeah, as someone who I was very strong and manly, I thought they were even going to like win comfortably. Yeah, I thought it was really disappointing. I thought Cherry Evans is really, really bad. I have to be honest. I think in both finals games that look like he was almost trying a little bit too much. Yeah, the he was just forcing too many balls. And I know it's easy to say this when they lose and then when they win we haul the you know, herald these players like they're the best ever. But yeah, I just thought out a really, really poor game. And I also think I'm never really noticed this, but he's actually a really bad defender. Like he gets away with ...

...it because what he does he just sprints out of the line and tries to jam the heart the first receiver. But yeah, on his goal and he's a real liability. I thought on the positive, sipher manly, I thought their best players were Ruben Garrick and Dylan Walker. Thought Ruben Garrick was probably one of the only sensible players on the park. Like there are a couple times where they forced the ball out to him early in a set on the wing and you know, he had the sort of footy Iq to run back into the middle on like Jason Sab Dude on a couple occasions and ended up over the touch line. So I thought Garrick had a real good crack. Dylan Walker also. I think it's had a really good finals campaign and I'm not sure what I think I mentioned it last week but I'm not sure what his contract status is. But if he is indeed a free agent, I think he is surely going to have suitors for next year because I think that fourteen rolls suits him beautifully. Sorry if the microphones picking up some wind, but we are outside. Obviously, what didn't help turbo dropping the ball over the line and then they also had that disallowed try for obstruction. Those two tries, if they happen, obviously they didn't end like. They didn't get hard done by on the disallowed try or anything, but if they did happen, they were early in the game. Who knows, this could be a different game. But yes, house, we're impressive. No one in their starting team had less than nineteen meters, which I don't think I've ever seen. Just a real team performance. I don't actually like. We were thinking about actually in both these games. Really we would like sort of thought about man in the matches in both of them and they actually hard to give out. Like I don't think anyone really stood out for the winning teams. They were just a really good team performances. Someone I thought deserves to mention can Marie. Had A hundred and ninety five meters and you're zero miss tackles. I think he had like thirty six made and one ineffective. So yeah, mass of Day for Cam Marie. He's actually one of those he's just an unassuming player, like you don't really notice the hard work he puts in. And then he checked the stat line and when you say that it's maybe some in some cases, you will be like, Oh, while they actually that would then, but it's like in stats, like meats, you can't argue with it. They're they're hard yards. So yeah, brilliant from him. I think something that was really interesting was the obviously the whole Walker Reynolds kicking situation. Turns out Reynolds had a growing strain. I don't know how he played, to be honest, I don't really understand. My logic was that maybe he had an injection and that's why you couldn't kick in the first twenty because I hadn't kicked in yet. But I don't quite get how injection to your groin helps. I guess it could be like pain killing, but yeah, strange. So that will be one to watch on the weekend where the Reynolds can kick, because I do think he's kicking games pretty pivotal, especially in a game like the grand final where there's not much to split the two teams, you know, to the best teams of the cop going out of it. So yeah, that was the first game. Then second game we had Melbourne versus pendrouth. This was one of the upsets the season for me. I was actually looking before the game on Friday morning actually for both games, and there was a betting market for the grand final result already like thirteen plus one to twelve, and man and Melbourne, Thirteen plus and Melbourne to twelve, were both above three bucks. I'll think I was tell my mom like it's actually like I thought it was a fairly short thing that they're getting up. So I was like it's actually genuinely not a bad idea to put money on both of those and you're getting pretty good odds for Melbourne just to win the grand final. So yeah, that was a real shock to me and my whole family. I think it was the panthers best game since before the origin period that I think they've really struggled since about round eleven, round twelve. But yeah, they really hit their stride in this game and I was expecting a really well was a low scoring it was ten to six or whatever it was. But yeah, they were I thought they like they'll thrown a lot more in offense, in attack then what they were in the first...

...two weeks of finals. Melbourne had a lot of uncharacteristic turnovers and they also got a little bit unlucky with the injury with Christian Welch and cheese being ruled out of the contest in the first twenty minutes. But unfortunately that's just the way foot he goes. And, as Bellamy said, what stung the most was the fact that it was probably one of their worst performances of the year. And I normally you're just say that's like a you know, disappointed coach just straight after the game, but I truly think it was. I just don't think they were playing very well at all. But I have to say penrith were the better team. They deserve to go through. Melbourne definitely had their chances and bombed quite a few, like, for example, George Jennings. I don't know if this was actually walked about, but like he dropped like he genuinely had an open passage to the try line. I think it was after about fifteen minutes, pretty soon after that clearage, the clear he kick try and he just dropped a chess mark, like a chest a catch on his chest and yeah, I think that's like like I'm not saying he cost them the game or whatever, but that definitely changes the dynamic of the game because you know they bounce back very quickly from that early try from the panthers and then I think it's a different ball game. But they were just doing stuff like that which Melbourne don't usually do. Pen Erris Defense was awesome. I think their first try was really impressive. I don't get one more. Teams like try stuff like that, not necessarily that. In general it was a perfect kick, but yeah, I don't know why teams aren't a little bit more creative when it comes to the king game in and roll. I definitely think there's quite a few levels to unlock in the NRL kicking games for Melbourne. I think Justin Olman drome he's with their two best players and probably not that far off the two best players for the as will get into in their season reviewing a little bit. But yeah, Hughes was just awesome. Definitely outshone the rest of the spine on the day. It was better than grand better than months to, better than part, better than hindes when he came on, and I'll them just gave a hundred and ten percent as always. And on Pennery side to own doing, Edwards were terrific. Both had over two hundred plus meters. Edwards is continuing this elite to run a form that I've never really seen him play to be honest. And Toto, similar to can Mari as I mentioned. You don't because it's so early in the tackle count you sort of don't take notice, but yeah, you just choose me as like he's an absolute freak. Cape Well, I thought was really good as well. I think he was close to their best player. I think if I had to give the three votes or the man the match to someone, it probably would have been Cape Well, I think when Melbourne started to get on top around halftime, I think he was one of the pain of players that stood up and sort of made a few big momentum changes, like, you know, a few line breaks, stuff like that, and then someone else. To be to Panguy Jr only played sixteen minutes at the start, but I think he really set the tone for the game. Like penrith of look tired lethargic the last couple weeks. And Yeah, you really brought that aggression. He obviously have had a bit of a tussle with Christian world early. Played a big part in that set where they scored their first try and yeah, he's got the boys up and about. And Yeah, as I mentioned, the only played sixteen minutes, but I think he really set the tone for the panthers. So that was a great win by Penrith and a shame for Melbourne. The Daly M awards having on Monday night, supposedly over two nights, would pretty much every award was given out on the second night. Penrith dominated the team the year. I was like, she's kind of surprised by that because I would have thought they would have taken votes off each other, but then they had six in the thirteen. Tommy won the overall metal pretty comfortably, which is what we were expecting. I think the top five was pretty fair enough. I think probably the five best players in the COMP this year. Maybe Cherry Evans not, but manly one that many games by that many points, it makes sense that he was up there in the voting. Roger Two of us to check, came sixth.

He had twenty one votes. He only played eleven games at fullback. I know you can get votes from wing as well, but like, like that was pretty rogue. I know no one really cares about the Daim's below about position to but yeah, that was I was like really shocked by that. And he yeah, like, I don't actually have no idea how he got twenty one votes. I checked before when he won the Daim. I think you got twenty eight votes. So, yeah, he's almost bettered that season according to the experts. I think, like I know for a fact that like people like Gordon Towels and block a roach pick the vote. So I don't really trust their opinions, to be honest. That I think it's one of those situations where you know the warries win a game and they're like don't have a standout players. So are like. I don't know, let's just give it to Roger. Not taking away from him music. He is a freaking nature and sad to see him go, but yeah, I don't know how he got twenty one votes. Hughes, Dewey and Kennedy rounded out the top ten on twenty votes. Actually not the top ten, they were seventh, eighth and Ninth Hughes to pick up twenty votes in that Melbourne team very impressive, of when you've got seven or eight international caliber players, Adam Dewey, obviously, and Kennedy playing and weaker sides and would definitely standouts this year for their teams. I don't want to be negative on the Daly M awards because I liked that they tried something different this year, but I like I have to say it's just not good. And I know we don't have to always compare ourselves as sport to the AFL, but I think when it comes to the Brownlow and the Daim, I think the NL can definitely learn a lot from the brownlow. I think the two nights thing was a nice idea because obviously the brown low they only give out that one award that night and then they have other war. They have other award nights for the other ones, and I reckon the N rl can definitely do something like that. To be honest, in general, I think the whole two one system is a bit outdated. Like, as we are saw the Justin Olam situation. Like well, I know he ended up making the team of the year, but there's a lot of situations where the best players don't make the team of the year. This year was a bit different because the best players were in the best team, so they picked up more votes. But like, yeah, the team of the year, the rookie of the year, all that stuff. It shouldn't be done on two ones. Like it's just a poor because, like, realistically, if you're the fourth best player in every game you play in, you could easily be the best center of the year. Like that's very impressive to be the fourth best player in their a game, but you would actually get zero votes. So, yeah, I think it's a flawed system. I think the NL should take a leaf out of the American sports systems when it comes to, you know, just picking nominees and then an MVP at the end of the season. I think it makes a lot more sense and yeah, I just think the whole thing, whether it be the three, two one, whether it be the way they actually do it, the way they actually do the like. If you're going to do the th three two one, you've got to go a brownlow style. You've got to read out each game, like it's just ridiculous how they just like in terms of actual votes, they read out two matches, like, what the Hell is that? And if you do all th two one thing. I know they had the scandal the other year, but like the biggest part of the brownlows like betting. Like my mates down here in Melbourne, they absolutely love betting on the Brownlow. So I think that's something the nrral definitely needs to address, because it wasn't like a disgraceful ben or anything. I just think it's something that the NRL has always really really been pour out the daim awards and I know it's not the NRL, I think it's the I think it's news limited and then Fox. Yeah, so I don't know, it's a bit weird, but I think they are only need to take it back and sort of overhaul it because I think whether you take a leaf out of the air fels book or the NFL or NBA's book. I think there's a lot of sports that do it a lot better than us. So that means that's into the top eight reviews. No need to do a power rankings or...

...predicted top eight because we are down to two teams. So we will get into our grand final preview in a little bit, but first we need to go over the seasons the top eight, as we did the bottom at the other week. Go back and check that out if you want to see how I bought your team, faed starting doing it based on ladder order, starting Gold Coast Golgos had a bit of a weird season, very up and down. People were very high on them coming into the year and I think maybe too high, like people are saying top for and stuff, which I thought was pretty ambitious given how far behind they were last year. But they made some mistute signings in the offseason and I think all of them played pretty well. I think all in or it's just a solid team. I think their spine can definitely improve and I think the likes of Campbell at one and Brimston at six next year and whether it be foggitty or Sexton at nine, I definitely and they're also bringing in booth from Melbourn. I don't know if he's going to start at Hook. I definitely think that's where the progression will come for this titans team and definitely increases their ceiling. But this year I think they played pretty decently. As I mentioned, up and down, but they gave a few big teams and fright such as the RABBITOS and the storm a couple times, and obviously finals week one as well. So I think it was a decent season. I think whole Brook looks like he's a pretty good coach and they've got one of the best young Ford packs going around. They've got great outside backs. They just need to address the spine, which I think will improve next year. A rating out of town giving them a six. I actually predicted them to come seven. So my ratings are based on expectation. So you could argue it should be below five because five is pa but for me the fact that they almost won a finals game and yeah, I just think they I don't know, I think there was a lot more positive signs than maybe I was expecting. Like I definitely think there's a bright future and Gold Coast. I think Holbrook took some steps this year. They unearthed a gem and Jading Campbell, which I had no idea about in the preseason. So there were definitely some things that the times. They've signed Isaac with you. There's there were certain things at the Times this year that shocked me in a good way. So yeah, I'm going to give them a rating six out of ten. MVP, I'm giving it to Tino for Soil Mala Howie. If you watch my rrel top twenty players of two thousand and twenty one last week or the week before, I actually had Tina in my top twenty. I'm a huge fan of this bloke, so he's also my best young player. Argue, like debatable whether it to give it to feed or someone else, but yeah, I just think what this guy does week and week out, it's almost unrivaled in the competition. Like there might be some who are more impactful in attack, but what he brings for the duration of the game and also in defense, I think it's pretty unmatched. Most improved player. I'll give it to Patrick Herbert. I don't know, probably a bit weird giving an award to a guy that some say cost their season, but all in all, he came from the warriors. I saw some signs last year of the warriors. I liked him. I thought he was just a really solid player. He gave a hundred and ten percent, but I think it a better team at the times I think he really flourished and the big bodies they have in centers of BK and Patrick Herbert, I think really works well for them and they're really good strike weapons. For the Gold Coast and then Newcastle Nights, I'd say it's a disappointing me if for Newcastle this is pretty much exactly what they did last year and I don't think there's much signs of progression. If anything, they're signs of regression in the future. Yeah, it's just a I'll be on Autam O. Brian doesn't seem like a great coach. I think a lot more like. For example, let's compare seventh and Eighth Newcastle and Gold Coast. I think Newcastle have a better list, a better starting thirteen, a better seventeen than the Tians do. Yet they pretty much finish the same spot on the ladder and the titans got closer to winning a game in finals. So I think Holbrook is a good coach. So like it's a bit harsh to compare them to add more...

Brian, but I definitely think there are a lot of better coaches out there than out of O'Brien who could be getting a lot more out of this squad. I think Kaylon ponger had a bit of a down year. Did Him included in my top twenty players last week and apart from origin and the odd game, the finals game, he played well. But yeah, I just don't think many of their players had a great season. I think out like I know it's hard to become Brad and Bessie still only like twenty years old, but I don't think he had the greatest season. I think the sort of almost become overreliant on a guy who's like really only played one year so and he's a center. So I don't know, I think that needs to be sorted out. Obviously the shining lights were probably the SIFETI brothers, you'd have to say. Took even more steps forward after a brilliant two thousand and twenty and he gets by most valuable player. Daniel Jacob also had a really good year. Most improved, even though I only played half the season. At the nights is a sort of freeze new cowboys performances as well. I'm giving to Jake Clifford. I thought he was a really average player at the back end of last year thought he probably didn't have a future in the NRL. And what he showed this year. He's like actually a really exciting talent at halfback. He's not going to be a world beater, don't get me wrong, but I think he can definitely be a really good club player for a long time in this competition and thank I think it was a good signing by the nights, to be honest. And then best young player. They actually don't have many young players, which is sort of weird. But given it to Anari Tla, he's actually a free agent next year, so I don't know if he's going to be returning to the nights, but starting at center then shifting to wing, he's just a reliable player will give you a seven or eight, seven out of ten every weekend. That's something the nights needed on a lot of occasions. I know they were sort of struck by injury this year. There were only very few games where pierce and ponger played together, but for me it's a four out of ten. Just don't think they took the progression that we would have wanted to see from them. I predict them to come six. So once again wasn't that far off. But yeah, I think with the whole and now there's debate whether Mitchell Pierce will leave. I don't think he's going to because I think O'Brien said he's staying. But yeah, there's just a lot more question marks. There's more questions and answers coming out of the season for that. So I'd have to say and O'Brien. If there was a betting market for coaches to be sacked next year, I think O'Brien would definitely be in the top three or two there. He's definitely on Fraud Watch. Now moving into paramatt up had a finals win this year. Didn't make the top four, which was a bit of a shock. I predicted them actually pretty good them to come fifth. So I didn't even to come from top for so I guess it wasn't a shock. But yeah, just said another paramount of that eel season really the same sort of thing. Apart from that poor patch of footy, they were pretty decent against most teams struggled in the big games as usual. Probably were hit by not being able to play at bank west late in the season. I think they have one of the better home ground advantages there. And Yeah, just wasn't a great year. Like they've got like all of their players are just decent, but they don't have what it takes to win a premiership and I don't really see where that premiership win comes from with this squad it. So, yeah, it's a bit of Awkward Situation Really, like I don't think the coach woman. Maybe he does, but I don't think this team's good enough to get when a premiership. So you can't suck the coach and but you don't want to rebuild because also the teams doing decently, like you want to finals game. So yeah, it's a really sticky situation at paramatter. You just need that. You maybe need two world beaters to come in in the skill positions. The Ford Packs Brilliant, the outside backs are good enough. Will Penesini looks like an absolute gem in the centers. But yeah, there's I don't know, it's tough. Maybe Dell Brown takes the next step next year. That's where the improvement comes from. Moses looks like he's...

...improving, even at what? I don't know what he is. He now twenty seven, so that's a good sign. Guthlo probably had a bit of a down year, but he played really well last year, so can't really blame him, and Martie will be fitter next year. But I've just a bit worried that they don't have what it takes to win a premiership, but hopefully you do. Paramount of fans. MVP, I'm going to give it to Isaiah PUPPA lay best in young player. I'm going to give it to Isaiah PUPPA Lee most improved. I'm going to give it to Isaiah PUPPA Lee. Signing of the year. Absolute beast, like you, came into the warries at such a young age and was really exciting, but his career definitely stagnated there. And Yeah, fair played. Brad Arthur got the best out of him and whether he played prop, second row off the bench, she was always in the top three paramount of players pretty much every week. Off Low beast, Tuckle plus beast and Ur'll fantasy beast for that matter, and he was definitely a bright spot in this paramount of side. That probably wasn't forecasted heading into the season. And then my final team outside the top for the Sydney Roosters, bit of a weird one because obviously they were absolutely plagued by injury and retirement. There were quite a few matches where they had over two million dollars sitting out, so that's like a quarter of the salary cap. So they were seriously handicapped by that, I guess you'd have to say. So it's a bit tough. I actually predicted them to win the premiership, which is a bit road but I had them finishing third and I just thought Melbourne weren't going to get it done, which turned out to be correct. And then I bit of a spoil but I actually had them to beat souse in the premiership in the grand finals. So yeah, it's a bit of a weird one because obviously they didn't match that expectation of me, but at the same time a lot of it was sort of out of their hands. However, this is sort of something that is a little bit of a warry now for the roosters because it's happened two years in a row and they're maybe got a you know, look, it's the way they're going about things. It could also just be a freak accident. But yes, so rating I'm going to just give it a five out of ten. It's probably a bit harsh. If you factor in the injuries, it's probably like a seven out of ten. If you don't factor in the injuries, it's probably like a three out of ten. So yeah, it's probably a bit harsh, but I'll give it a five. Mvp James Todesk going out to boring, but like the most consistent player in the competition, maybe next to Nathan cleary. The man would just give you a nine or ten out of ten every week without fail, and he's he's such a beast. Most improved I'm actually giving it's a drew Hutchinson honorable mention. Jared Warrior, a hard graves, I think he was really good this year. But Hutchinson, he's sort of being a bit of a journeyman. He's filled in for injuries here or there, but with the que injury he really got his chance this year and played don't know how many games. It would have been like eighteen, nineteen, and they were quite a few games where he was actually the rooster's best player. And it especially towards the end of the year, the regular season, you really started to step up when they started to bench Sam Walker to for his health and I don't know what they're I don't know what his plans, I don't know what his contract situation is, but you know, if there's a club who has an injury prone half, I guess the Roosters Have Luke Herey. But yeah, he would definitely be a service of will back up or even if a team needs a you know they've got a gun team around him and they just need someone who's going to give us seven out of ten each week. Hutcheson could be a man best young player. I was to sound Walker when heer a the Daly and rookie the assolute elite season from an eighteen year old halfback, which is very rare to see in our competition, and he looks like he's going to be a star of the future. All right, into the top four. Fourth, Brad manly actually predict them to miss the eight in a ninth one of the harder teams to predict, but...

...yeah, I guess I didn't really predict Tommy Trabovitch to be the absolute freak video wars. This year he wins the MVP. Obviously don't really need to wait on that award most improved. I had locking Croaker was just a backup half until this year and then obviously they've had issues in the hooking position. Appy Carus our left a couple years ago, and then obviously the issues off field with the nasty final, someone had to step up. There were talks of it being Dylan Walker preseason. They also had Carl Lawton come in from the warriors, but lucky croaker stepped in, made the spot his and he was just a really good play for them, one of their more reliable men. Best Young Player, Josh Shoe Start. He is my honorable man. Actually it's a bit of stiff one. They're obviously absolute freak, but I'm actually going to even to Morgan Harper. Missed the first four games that they lost and then came and I think round six when they started, or he might have even coming around five when they got their first win or something like that, but he basically came into the team when Tom me came back and maybe you can say that's why he had a good year, but I think all in all, despite a couple of poor for finals performances and then you had a pretty bloody good season. And he's only he's born in one thousand nine hundred and ninety eight. So what's that making he's only twenty three, twenty two or twenty three. So exciting in future for Young Morgan Harper. I'll give them a rating an eight out of ten. I know their finals exit was a little bit of a sour and no getting pumped and also if we adjusted their expectations bid year, they probably don't get that score. But to go from missing to go from missing finals in my preseason predictions to then losing in a losing in a prelimb where I thought they were going to win comfortably, that's a pretty large jump. So I'll give them an eight out of ten. There their reliance on Tommy Turbo's definitely a concern, so makes me you want to put them as seven, but at the end of the day, if you stays healthy, you can't blame them for putting like well, can't blame them for being a one man team. But yeah, weird season for manly. Obviously look like they're going to be wooden spoons after the first month. Look like desy has law. His job might have even been in trouble, and then Tommy came back and everything got brighter. So fair play, too, manly, into third eyed south. Well, I don't know what I'm saying. I had salt. This is the ladder, but south we're in a third MVP, Cody Walker. I don't know. I feel like Kode Walker is a little bit under overrated. Sorry, but he's a very good player. Broth a tries his record, break the linebreakers this record, so he can't really give it to anyone else but him. Honorable Mentions to Tom Burgeson Camra, who both are brilliant campaigns. Most improved, I've given it to Tom Burgess. Impressive that he improves at the age of like twenty seven, but think he took his game to another level. I was sort of always suspect of this birdes boys. I thought George and Tom Sort of just rode off their last aim, but they I think Tom's like like a genuine elite front rower. The he averaged don't forgotten the start off my head, but it's something like a hundred and forty meters. I think he's average meters improved by like fifteen this year. So per game. So fair play to Tommy Burgess. Honorable mentioned to Campbell Graham. I think he took a huge couple strides this year and if it wasn't for the whole fullback at center situation in the New South Wales team, he would be as short short thing in those slots. Best Young Player I've got can Mari. I know it's a bit of a cop out because he isn't that young, but yeah, he's just an absolute start. I've given them a six out of ten. It's a tough one. I predicted them to make the grand final but yeah, I don't know. I just think it's a tough one because their offseason business wasn't great, letting Adam Reynolds go all that gold fuffle.

But yeah, to make the grand final and to have a real crack at it, yes, they like. The regular season wasn't great, was it? To fifty point two times. They can see in fifty points like there was a point there where they would just leaking forty points every week. But to make it this far, fair play to him. So I'll give them a six out of ten. Wasn't like I predicted them to make the final, but I think I might have been a little bit more with my heart that my head. I'm hoping Melbourne didn't make it and see I snuck in Penrith in its seconds. MVP Nathan Cleary, obviously arguably the best player in the comp obviously human turbo streets. They had most improved. Look, this was hard. I think a lot of their players improved. I'll give it to Brian Toto, though. He's just become a freak of nature and it basically like Dandy Tupri and other carve been a fixture in the New South Wales team for quite a while but the way too was playing, Freddie had no choice and he forced his way into that side and like he's just such a lovable guys and he plays the game in such good spirit and he's just an absolute freak and whenever he was injured you really noticed it. Honorable Mentions to billy kick out and deal, and there would's both two players who I thought we were extremely overrated coming into this year and even at times this year, but I think in the home stretch that I've been two major players in pen ruth sort of getting their act together in the last couple months and making it through to the grand final. Best Young player probably a touchy subject given the fact that he's leaving next year, but I'll have to give it to Matt Burton. This guy's like I genuinely think it's going to be a superstar. I know it's old of rogue opinion, but think is born in two thousand, so same age as me. So He's about twenty or twenty one. Just think bulldogs are getting an absolute steal here. I've given them an eight out of ten because I didn't think they would be crap this year, but I did predict a little bit of a fall off from last year. I had them fourth out of fourth on the regular season ladder and I didn't have to make in the grand final. So on both accounts they're they've proved me wrong. I think one of my made prediction like reasons to drop them below was I thought origin was going to really hurt them shit this year, and the actually was true. So I don't take that back. But still they were just so dominant in other periods of the year. Egin made up for that fact. So yeah, pen with DA teen fair play. And then finally Melbourne. Weird season for Melbourne. Regular season arguably the best regular season we've ever seen. Like they were so good. I think most points scored ever. They were just putting fifty on teams like without fail at one point. And they had the injuries, but they just had were so deep in every position that did just did not matter, and there were points where they were genuinely resting three or four players a week and they were still getting easy wins. It was look like it was a going to be a really pretty boring season. Actually, I thought Melbourne was just going to cruise home, but I got proven wrong on the weekend and I'm very happy to get proven wrong in this situation. MVP, I'll give it to the cheese. Heading into the year there was obviously all that chat about the grants cheese hooker situation and I'll be honest, I think she's actually won the battle this year. Like Harry Grant still a freak. He's going to be the Queensland Hooker for a while to come. But I think the balls almost in the cheese's court now in terms of the future, whether he wants to stay. But yeah, we'll have to wait and see on that. But yeah, he made himself undroppable and what's unexpendable? Expendable, not like. He couldn't be dropped, like he couldn't be bench, couldn't be dropped. Absolute staff most improved of given it to Justin, Justin. So I guess I was seeing of Justin Hodgers, but drame Hughes took his game to an even further level this year. I think two thousand nineteen to two thousand and twenty was a big jump, but I think this she was even bigger. Arguably the second best...

...half back in our game at the moment, and he doesn't it in his own unique style, which I really love to see. He's not your traditional halfback who sort of just marshals and troops and players like a bit of a quarterback, but he takes the game on with his running, with his kicking game, really works off the back of his big forwards and he's just a really exciting play can create something out of nothing. Honorable men, should Sudgin Olamanique hines. Obviously hines. We hadn't seen much of him before this year, but he and himself what a six hundred k deal or the sharks through fair few years. So that just showed how good he was. This year and I think alum sort of announced, I think, over the center position. Ever since latrelle moved to fullback, there was sort of debate of WHO's the best center, and I think alum. Maybe Joey Martine has something to say, but I think Olam stood out from the crowd this year, personally best young player, even though it's like he's been the competition for a few years now. Giving it to Ryan Pappenhausen. There were talks of whether he's better than Teddy early on in the year a season was sort of harmed by injury, but he had a really good year. Rating. I'm giving them a five out of ten. I pretty Coom to come first. They came first. I pretty to miss the grand final. They missed the grand final. So for me it's exactly part if you adjusted the expectations to how their season when it's probably below par, because then losing in the PRELAND's pretty shocking. But all in all, pretty solid season from Melbourne and there I'm sure they're absolutely gutted that they're in the not. They're like, you know, they're in the offseason already at this stage of the year. But yeah, like don't know where and they also resigned Kaig Bell Mead for another four years. So I don't really know where this team ever stops being good. It's pretty scary prospect for other N RL team fans heading into the grand final. Preview. It's probably not going to be too long because it is only one game, but I've given it a little bit more at further analysis than a normal preview. It's it's UN called for now when I'm recording this. It could easily be moved to towns will, obviously due to pandemic situation stuff like that. PENDER is currently paying a dollar sixty eight. Souse paying two dollars twenty five. Interesting actually. Like I'll be I'll come out and say I'm tipping Painrith, but that might be a little bit further away than I was thinking. I thought it would be pretty close, but I guess that's not that far away. The lines and three and a half penderus favor. So I'm taking penrith head to head and that the lineup. I've sort of been this doubter of Sus all seas and all finals series, even though pretty them to make the grand final and preseason, but I thought they're going to get pump by manly thought they're going to get pump by penrith round one week, one of the finals, and there he is. So at the end of the day, fair play to them. I'll be going for them. Bit of Split Family in this house in terms of who wants Benj you marshal to win a premiership and not. My Dad doesn't want to see it, but I do because I think he won his premiership for the Tigers so early on that I think like he's really he's been toiling away his career, if like fourteen years, and I know there was some controversial moments, like walking away from the Tigers and going to rugby and stuff like that. But yeah, I think he's given so much to this game and he's been the most exciting player for so many seasons that I think he deserves another premiership metal and I would love to see it. I think he's one of the real nice guys in Rugby League. So yeah, I'll be supporting souths or so will be cool to see Wayne Bennet get one over Ivan cleary after their little saga. But yeah, I've got a tip penrith. Unfortunately they've just been in Melbourne, so that sort of says it all. Really think it's going to be really low scoring. Actually, the only team changes are Pang guy is out fully oder. Obviously the story came out that he could have made been selected and could have been a game time decision, but he let Spencer Lit lant when you play local junior and yeah, like water blow, Panguay is he...

...said there's a lot, you know, worse things in life than missing under grand finals. So obviously he's just a really good character. I think for me, the two big talking points heading into this one this is the both of these are fairly obvious, like they sound like captain obvious statements, but they're definitely areas that are sometimes overlooked and for me the keys to success are errors. I know it sounds stupid, but I went through every finals game this with this season and the team of the least are is wins, and I know that sounds like yeah, that that's one of one plus one is too, but I don't think some teams look at it like that and I think that's why it's going to be really low scoring. I think both these teams are going to get a very similar message. We've seen it in pen erus all three of pender's finals games so far. We saw it in souse round finals week one game as well. We're seen a lot in this final series really where both teams just knuckled down. It's just a tackleth on and costly air is really help the other team March up, because otherwise there's not much between them. I think this that's exactly what's going to happen in this game and I think the winner will have less errors once again. So I think the message from Irvan cleary and Wayne Benett will be very similar, and that's just especially early on. Don't give away errors. Try and win the possession battle, try and win the field position battle. Both teams have great kickers and out and Reynolds and Nathan cleary. Obviously Adam Reynolds health yet to be known in terms of these kicking status. But yeah, I think both teams will just back there Ford packs to win, to win in the middle. So there's no manly or no Melbourne who are going to sling the ball around. I know both these teams can score on their day, but I think it's going to be a real low scoring shootout. I'll be surprised if there's more than four tries and for that reason I think areas are going to be really crucial. So for me that's definitely an area to watch. Whoever has the most areas will lose this game, and the others kick diffusal, as I just mentioned. I think it's going to be really low scoring, really tight, especially in that first half, and I think kick diffusal is definitely a huge part of that because both these guys have brilliant kicking games and we've seen it so far throughout this final series and we actually saw it when these teams played in the first there. Actually it might have been the second encounter the regular season. But when you can't diffuse kicks it's really troublesome for your own team because you're giving the other team six tackles basically in in there in your own twenty meter line. So really hard to defend when you're dropping the ball twenty our letting the other team March down and even if they do defend it, then all of a sudden you're attacking off your own line and the game really changes. I think both of these teams struggled last weekend with kick diffusal. So I definitely think the halfbacks will be working all week on trying to put up the most testing spiral bombs and I assume the back threes will definitely be working on their catching skills, because it's definitely something that both these teams have struggled out at times this year. For example, we've seen doing that was have a few issues with it and we saw pretty much the whole sales backline have a few issues with over the regular season. So yeah, I definitely think that's going to be a huge factor of who can diffuse these terrifying bombs the best. So I know they're both sort of obvious factors, but I think they're going to be huge keys to this game and if we look on Monday morning who has the most errors and who failed to diffuse the kicks the best, I think will will be pretty easy to work out who won the game from those two stats alone. So I'm really looking forward to it's been a another brilliant season of Nurl footy. I'm really sad that there's no red footy to come. Obviously were meant to have a World Cup this year but that's been postponed, understandably, but looking forward to that already and it's, you know, fourteen months away, but yeah, I guess this will be I might do an offseason episode, maybe talk about some signings or whatever, but if we don't I might do a super league season review...

...or something like that. But if we don't, it's been an awesome time reviewing and doing the narl episodes all year. I've really enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone who's ever listened or watch any of the nurl episodes. Hope it's a brilliant game between these teams. I'll leave you with a final score prediction. I think penrith will win sixteen to eight. I know I said lesson for tries. Actually, will say paener score three tries, kick two out of three. Rabbit has kick, score one try and kick a penalty goal. That's my prediction, Clive Church. I probably should leave one. I think of Penrith whin Nathan clear he gets it. To be honest. I think it's going to be low scoring, so I don't think like the stat lines are going to be outrageous, so I think they'll give it to him. His kicking game will probably be excellent. I say Yo could be a smoky there. He's been really, really good these last couple games. So yeah, I'm excited to see who getts the chocolates. Hope it's a good game of Rugby League as always. And Yeah, good luck to penrith and s house and their supporter bases and hopefully I'll catch you sometime soon. Cheers.

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