The NRL Finals Week 2 has been run and won, and we have just four teams left to battle it out for the title.
Since four is such a round number, we have our five thoughts of the action from NRL Finals Week 2.
EXTRA TIME > GOLDEN POINT
One of the many good things out of the Cowboys-Broncos hoedown was the first instalment of 10 minutes of extra time to replace golden point.
In the NRL’s constant attempts to be the NFL, draws at 80 minutes were removed in favour of golden point. Problem is that a dodgy penalty, or a lack of one being awarded thanks to a referee who doesn’t want to be on the back page, or just a dreadful shoot out of field goals is what the game ends up being. The excitement aside it isn’t great football. And then they settle for a draw anyway if the shots at field goal are so awful.
Extra time means both sides have to actually play football. Which includes attempting to score tries. Fancy that. Not just have four tackles where they set up for a field goal, or wait for a dodgy penalty. If after 10 minutes of extra time they can’t be split, then proceed to the golden point.
With extra time sorted, it’s time to get rid of the Sepo BS that is Golden Point in the regular season.
SHARKS RUBBING THEIR HANDS – BUT NO EXCUSES
The Sharks should have been very happy given the pace and length of the all Queensland showdown. They were waiting to play the winner of Friday’s game, rested up in Sydney. Their opponents were slugging in out for 90 minutes in the spring heat of Townsville.
Problem is for the Sharks is the lack of excuses if they don’t win. Game in Sydney, Cowboys have to travel, Cowboys had an exhausting game in NRL Finals Week 2.
If it runs to schedule for Cowboys in Sydney based NRL Finals, an awful decision and finals exit awaits.
CAN MILFORD AND HUNT BE TRUSTED FOR QUEENSLAND ORIGIN
Academic for this year due to their ban for late night shenanigans, and for next year unless there are some retirements or injuries, but after a second half of the season that could be described as up and down at best, or even poor, it is hard to see anyone trusting them to win games for Queensland.
Milford has that brilliance that can excuse the occasional disappearing act during a game, but Ben Hunt seems to have gone backwards this year, and it is the lack of performance under pressure which is the most worrying.
PENRITH WILL PROBABLY WIN THE COMP NEXT YEAR
A lot to like about Penrith, despite their early exit from the competition in NRL Final Week 2.
A lot of young players, a great style of play, and another year of experience under their belt.
Throw in the pending arrival of James Tamou, and a very strong U/20 squad looking for chances and it’s all good for the Mountain Men for 2017.
FIFTH AND LAST – HUGE VOCAL CROWDS A REMINDER THAT NRL SHOULD THINK SMALL
The NRL is not AFL or NFL for that matter, so the huge crowds at massive stadiums are highly unlikely to happen. Unless the Broncos make a final.
So the electric, almost full crowds at Canberra games shows what is good about the NRL. Imagine if their games are shifted to the SFS, or Olympic Stadium where 50% full would be a great result.
Then there’s the argument about fairness for top 4 sides.
Case in point for the Sharks v Cowboys next weekend. Instead of being played at a Shark Park which would no doubt be full of loud, passionate fans, it will be played several kilometres away to much less noise. Whilst there’s always commercial aspects to look after, why not leave that up to the home side who can look for the extra cash elsewhere or keep the atmosphere at home. It will be interesting to see if the game draws more than the Shark Park capacity of 22,000.