Tuesday, 4 October 2016

NRL Grand Final Diary 2016

I watched the NRL Grand Final and wrote stuff down at the same time. Here is some of it.

It was an epic contest between Melbourne Man-In-A-Cloud
and The Shire Aquariums.


The grand final preview came on a morning news bulletin and the wife asked, "is James Maloney that good?".

I gave a detailed response highlighting how his various clubs have always been better when he's there, and how the Sharks always had good forwards, but needed Ennis to come in to direct them, then Maloney to come in to capitalise on the field position by unleashing their young talented backs.

The Steelers jersey circa 2009, after
an SFS game, Roosters v Eels.
She said, "a simple yes would've been enough."

After that, my entire focus was making sure that whatever happened, we got home in time to watch the mighty Illawarra Steelers Cutters play in the curtain raiser. That was how I came to tell my kids it was time to leave the park because I needed to get back just before kickoff to put my Steelers jersey on.

The Cutters won 54-12 against the hapless Queensland champions, the Burleigh Bears. It was a result that automatically erased 10 of the last 11 Origin results by re-establishing New South Wales as the dominant footy state.

Way to dress yourself, "Dean".
(pic from Twitter)
The silverware also vindicated the Dragons decision to recruit only reserve grade players for the last few seasons.

After the Cutters victory, my main focus was getting the two oldest boys to bed before kickoff. They had demonstrated in the afternoon game that they could not be trusted to sit still and watch the footy. They normally got to bed about 730 to 8pm. Lights were out at 6:35pm.

5 and Last. 
Pre-game I learnt that Richie Sambora wasn't the lead singer for a reason, and that I still don't know a single Keith Urban song.

They also spelt Dene Halatau's name wrong on his retirement banner. Probably because he missed the memo to wear a suit.


Kickoff! Then 20 seconds later, Ennis coathangers someone, because Ennis. On report but he's retiring anyway.
In the light of the moon,
Mick Ennis lay on a leaf.

I turn Baby O to face the television, and he starts screaming.

My twelve-week-old son hates the footy. Still plenty of time to turn him around.

Koriobete swinging arm. On report but he's going to rugby anyway. Sharks lead 2-0! It's the 8th minute. The Sharks will definitely win this.

The Sharks are starting to gain control over the next period, and it culminates in a try.

Fifita makes a half break and Townsend drops the offload he should have caught. This is the first error of the match. We're a long way in for the first mistake.

The next Sharks set they only get 25m out before having to kick, but the one after that Maloney busts up the middle and finds Lewis, who somehow resists stretching out to score with a double movement when his "momentum" leaves him about a grass blade short of the line. Townsend ends the set with a cross kick, which is knocked on.

From the scrum the Sharks run a set play where Gallen from lock makes a run and turns it into Barba, who was hiding in the second row. He sprints through a bunch of lead-footed forwards plus Cheyse Blair to score.

Conversion makes it 8-0.

I loved this try. I don't care about competitive scrums, and if more teams exploited the attacking opportunities they provided like the Sharks, neither would you. Besides this trick play, they also spent a good part of the game having Fifita line up at left centre from scrums and take advantage of the space and size mismatches in the opposition line by busting tackles for fun.

Fifita probably should've won Man of the Match, but I understand that it's not a great look to publicise the best mate of a one-punch killer as your best on ground.

5 and Last.
Indian food got delivered and my note-taking got erratic for the remainder of the half. Fortunately nobody scored, although it was still fast and furious.

I think the highlight was a rubbish Ennis kick being dropped by Cam Smith, and Ennis congratulating the Storms skipper with about 74,138 hard pats on the back. Eventually another Storm player pushed him over and one of those non-fights NRL teams have since they banned punching broke out.

Classic Ennis.

On the half time siren, the Sharks lead 8-0 and it flatters the Storm.


O takes a dump. It was courteous for him to wait until the break.


The Storm get an early penalty and actually manage to look dangerous in attack before Cronk literally loses ground on an attempted cross kick. The joint Dally M Player of the Year has been completely neutralised by the Sharks.

Another Storm penalty and this time Storm score through Kenny Bromwich with a pretty uneventful try. 8-6, 52nd minute.

The Sharks bench forward Jason Bukuya gets knocked out when he drives on a low tackle with his head instead of his shoulders. Sharks already have Feki and Prior temporarily on the sidelines with injury.

It feels like the momentum is turning, except it doesn't really.

The Sharks outside backs give every set a big start with some hard running and they continue to look more dangerous. Then a terrible kick goes dead in goal, the Storm march downfield, numbers right and after the winger comes in on Chambers and misses, he changes direction and jinks through to score.

12-8, 66 minutes gone. The Storm will definitely win this.

Except the Sharks get a penalty, then another penalty for a swinging arm on the last tackle, then Fifita scores. Short ball from dummy half, but there was no gap, he just charges through three tacklers and twists right to slam the ball on the line.
MC Hammerhead and Reefy
fired up after Fifita scores. Little
known fact: Reefy is played by
 treasurer Scott Morrison whenever
 parliament isn't sitting.

14-12, 71st minute. The Sharks will definitely win this.

5 and Last.
The last nine minutes is bonkers.

Lewis has his face fall into a defenders shoulder to get busted open. The delay sees the set lose momentum and Koriobete returns big for the Storm. He is already the Wallabies best outside back.

The Storm grubber at the end of he set is caught by Jack Bird, and he's away! But Maloney kicks out on the full at the end of the set.

The Storm have a kick turn at right angles to force a line dropout. Then the dropkick bounces over halfway, and the Storm drop the ball on tackle two.

Then Maloney can either kick, or pass inside, does neither and is tackled on the last.

And then, the defining moment. Chambers has an amazing pickup on a kick but can't see Cronk wide open for the inside pass. Still the Storm go left and go right looking for a hole, before a terrible kick goes dead. A Sharks player pumps his fist. It strikes me as possibly too soon.

The Sharks play smart. The Storm have 85m to go to score.

They almost do. It's a madcap final play where the highlight is Koriobete combining with Vunivalu - possibly the first time the two Fijian wingers have been within half a field-width of each other all season. Not long after it breaks down and Sharks win!

I never thought I'd see the day.

No comments:

Post a Comment