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Saturday, September 30, 2006

NRL Grand Final 2006 

Right, time to wrap this baby up.

Been an OK year for the NRL. I haven't seen a hell of a lot of games as I don't have SKy and so usually resort to watching Warriors games on Prime and also the playoffs the same way combined with the odd match at my parents.

The playoffs have been disappointing as a whole with not too many quality matches. In the first weekend the Sea Eagles v Knights game was talked up as being a good one but I distcinctly recall the radio commentators saying half way through the second half that it was a shit game. It doesn't say much for the other games that weekend.

The following weekend so two complete hammerings as botht he Knights and Sea Eagles got shown up for the mediocre, over achieving teams that they are and then we could get down to the real business.

The real business of course involved those show ponies in their white boots socks and shorts once again being found out for being too soft and the Bulldogs clocking off upstairs which is the only thing holding them back from annihilating all before them. But as we see all season its the team that brings their heads as well as their legs with them that comes away with the win most weekends.

I had been picking the Storm to match up against the Bulldogs in the final with a Storm win for about a month now. I still think the Storm will win albeit against a red hot Broncos outfit. The Storm have shown time and time again this year that they are conditioned to win. You don't win 22 out of 26 games in this competition and not be fucken shit hot. Find another team with a record like that in the past two decades.

I also think the Broncos forward pack must be tiring. Five out of their starting six are aged 29 to 32. Maybe emotion and courage will get them through but if the Storm play a flat out style and frustrate the Broncos on attack then they should be able to come away with a reasonably close win. I am a bit worried by the fact that the Broncos are filled with Queensland SOO players and if ever there is a group of guys that never gives up it's them.

I'll go for a scoreline of round about 20-14 to the Storm but if the game blows open early then it could have 50+ points in it. Something which hasn't happened since 2001 when the Knights beat the Eels 30-24.

On crowds for the year. It was a fair way down on last year with 15,601 per match compared to 16,468 from 2005. Although last year was a huge record breaking season and this year is the second highest averages in the comps history. Looking at the patterns I would expect it to be down again a little next year before jumping back up there again. The Gold Coast team is 'coming back into' the competition which will mean an extra game most weekends. Probably depending on how many they attract and whether the Warriors can win most games and get their numbers up could be the deciding factors. The Warriors had the worst average in the comp despite finishing with a 12 win, 12 loss record.

Playoff crowds have been about what they always are but I hear they are going to play all the playoff matches at the higher ranked teams home ground next year so that may boost them slightly. Although several teams play in 20,000 capacity venues so that may just mean the venue it full rather than a bigger crowd.


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