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Coaching The Finals Coaches - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Sat, 08 Sep 2007 12:35:00 GMT
Finals fortune telling is a gift many want to have but only few possess. One of the fortunate few is the GRL Phantom who has some advice to share for all eight teams and their coaches.

Parramatta V New Zealand
Mount Smart Stadium, 7;30pm
Friday September 7th
Referee: Tony Archer

For the record I am selecting Parramatta to defeat New Zealand Warriors despite the latter of the two playing a more consistent brand of footy in the build-up to this clash.

The key stars for Parramatta are: Nathan Hindmarsh, Tim Smith and Nathan Cayless.

For the Eels to win the title, this trio need to be at their best for the next month.

Smith when he plays straight and direct looks good yet when he crabs sideways he looks like a park footballer.

Hindmarsh and Cayless are the heart and soul of the Eels and need to go forward to allow their halves to spark the frightening attack Parramatta can produce.

As for the Warriors, look to Grant Rovelli, Steve Price and Ruben Wiki. These three have had enormous seasons as well as careers with both Price and Wiki winning NRL titles.

New Zealand have flown under the radar this year and are a well balanced team. A definite dark horse for the title and it will take a big effort to beat them.

Parramatta if they can replicate half of what they displayed last Sunday could be one team capable of doing that.

They should win in a thriller though extra-time may be required to split the two sides.

WARRIORS: Wade McKinnon, Patrick Ah Van, Todd Byrne, Simon Mannering, Michael Crockett, Michael Witt, Grant Rovelli, Sam Rapira, Nathan Fien, Steve Price (c), Ruben Wiki, Logan Swann, Micheal Luck Interchange: Wairangi Koopu, Evarn Tuimavave, Epalahame Lauaki, Louis Anderson, George Gatis (one to be omitted) Coach: Ivan Cleary

EELS: Jarryd Hayne, Krisnan Inu, Ben Smith, Timana Tahu, Eric Grothe, Brett Finch, Tim Smith, Nathan Cayless (c), Mark Riddell, Fuifui Moimoi, Nathan Hindmarsh, Ian Hindmarsh, Feleti Mateo Interchange: PJ Marsh, Josh Cordoba, Chad Robinson, Daniel Wagon Coach: Michael Hagan

NORTH QUEENSLAND v CANTERBURY
Dairy Farmers Stadium, 6:30pm
Saturday September 8th
Referee: Paul Simpkins

Sonny Bill William’s availability for this game has improved their prospects of stirring up a week 1 upset. Think of the opening week of the 2004 finals only this time the underdogs are the Dogs.

For Canterbury, they’ll look to the class of SBW, Brent Sherwin and Willie Mason. If they can’t fire, then the candle will go out in seconds.

With North QLD, their tricky trio is 2007 Dally M winner Jonathan Thurston, Matt Bowen and hooker Aaron Payne.

Thurston and Bowen are consistent performers while Payne is a first class player at dummy-half and takes the team forward with his running game. More of that please, Mr Murray.

I think the Dogs can reverse last week's loss to the Cowboys through their forward power game. They must win this or they’ll be chumpy enough to be carved up easily in week two.

This will be psychological football at it’s very best.

COWBOYS: Matt Bowen, Ty Williams, Ashley Graham, Paul Bowman, Ben Farrar, Justin Smith, Johnathan Thurston (c), Matt Scott, Aaron Payne, Carl Webb, Sam Faust, Matthew Bartlett, Mark Henry Interchange: David Faiumu, Jason Smith, Jacob Lillyman, Ray Cashmere, Neil Sweeney (one to be omitted) Coach: Graham Murray

BULLDOGS: Luke Patten, Hazem El Masri, Daryl Millard, Willie Tonga, Matt Utai, Ben Roberts, Brent Sherwin, Mark O'Meley, Corey Hughes, Chris Armit, Willie Mason, Andrew Ryan (c), Reni Maitua Interchange: Adam Perry, Nick Kouparitsas, Lee Te Maari, Jarrad Hickey Coach: Steve Folkes

MANLY V SOUTH SYDNEY
Brookvale Oval, 8:30pm
Saturday September 8th
Referee: Shayne Hayne

After last week’s final round capitulation, the only way is up for South Sydney and that’s not necessarily an impossible task albeit a more difficult one.

Manly’s record in the finals suggests they peak too early and they will be keen to end such criticism. But must do so against a team is capable of beating anyone.

For Manly, Steve Menzies, Matt Orford and Michael Monaghan must be on their game for coach Des Hasler. If they can play consistent footy, the Sea Eagles can win the comp.

Menzies is amazing at his age, Orford has the challenge of truly leading the team and winning pressure finals games while Monaghan wants to leave his mark on the NRL before flying off to Warrington.

Their Armani suit rivals have over achieved this season but none the less it’s been a super effort for them to get as far as they have in one season. What would Shaun McRae be thinking?

Most of the pressure is on Souths. It’s sudden death time for them but that could bring the best out of them. Don’t write them off.

However at home I think Manly will be too strong.

SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson, Steve Bell, Steve Matai, Chris Hicks, Jamie Lyon, Matt Orford (c), Jason King, Michael Monaghan, Adam Cuthbertson, Anthony Watmough, Glenn Stewart, Luke Williamson Interchange: Travis Burns, Matt Ballin, Mark Bryant, Steve Menzies, Vic Mauro, Jack Afamasaga (two to be omitted) Coach: Des Hasler

RABBITOHS: Fetuli Talanoa, Shannon Hegarty, Nigel Vagana, Yileen Gordon, Paul Mellor, Joe Williams, Jeremy Smith, Peter Cusack (c), Shane Rigon, Roy Asotasi (c), John Sutton, David Fa'alogo, Ben Rogers Interchange: Issac Luke, Dean Widders, Luke Stuart, Michael Greenfield
Coach: Jason Taylor.


MELBOURNE V BRISBANE
Olympic Park, 4:00pm
Saturday September 9th
Referee: Steve Clark

Some say the Broncos should forfeit the game and save themselves travel costs after last week’s 46-point thrashing at the hands of Parramatta.

Melbourne are the first team since Brisbane to go undefeated at home all season and that record will not be broken by a band-aid team resembling a war-time casualty ward.

For the Storm, Cameron Smith, Michael Crocker and Cooper Cronk are the essential wheels that will see the minor premiers roll straight into week 3 of the finals.

The home side are a well drilled and superb football machine and hardly have a weakness ..except for maybe not playing their best footy at the most important times.

They would love nothing better then to knock off the team that stole a Grand Final win from them last season.

Brisbane will need Justin Hodges, Petero Civoniceva and Tonie Carroll to lift the team just to cause an upset. They won’t be enough to win the game however.

The Storm will blaze into a preliminary final showdown and earn a week’s rest as the other teams battle it out. Still expect a close game for up to 65 minutes.

STORM: Billy Slater, Steve Turner, Matt King, Israel Folau, Anthony Quinn, Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk, Ben Cross, Cameron Smith (c), Brett White, Clint Newton, Ryan Hoffman, Dallas Johnson Interchange: Jeremy Smith, Matt Geyer, Michael Crocker, Jeff Lima, James Aubusson (one to be omitted) Coach: Craig Bellamy

BRONCOS: Justin Hodges, Steve Michaels, Nick Emmett, Joel Moon, Darius Boyd, Greg Eastwood, Shane Perry, Dane Carlaw, Mick Roberts, Petero Civoniceva (c), Corey Parker, Brad Thorn, Tonie Carroll Interchange: Sam Thaiday, Ben Hannant, Nick Kenny, Ian Lacey Coach: Wayne Bennett - Read More, Here