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The Rock-itt : October 2009
Brisbane Broncos In Round 21 the Broncos were demolished by the Canberra Raiders 56-0 and a lot of people, including myself wrote them off as not just premiership contenders, but as top 8 occupants. But here we are just a few short weeks from the Grand Final and the Broncos stand tall on the back of an incredible end of season run including wins over the Titans and Dragons in the semi-finals. Kudos must go to Dave Taylor who will depart Brisbane for Souths next year. The 6'2 115kg forward has been dynamic out wide and will be their focus of attack as the attempt to clinch their 7th premiership. Bulldogs A disappointing performance in round 26 against the Tigers cost the Dogs the minor premiership, but it may have saved them a tough battle against Parramatta in round 1 of the playoffs. Canterbury-Bankstown were put under the radar against the Knights with halfback Brett Kimmorley out due to a cheekbone/eye socket injury but managed to dispose of the Novocastrians to set up a preliminary final against archrivals the Parramatta Eels. The Bulldogs will attempt to do the seemingly impossible going from wooden spooners to Premiers and send retiring Hazam El Masri out a winner. Canberra Raiders The Raiders season is over and will be searching for players in the off-season that will help their team become a more consistent outfit. The loss of Phil Graham will give the chance to another Raiders young gun who will join other talented juniors Josh Dugan, Daniel Vidot, and Jarrod Croker. Again the 'Green Machine' will look to Terry Campese to lead them finals as he did in 2008 with assistance from Prime Ministers XIII representatives Joel Monaghan, David Shillington, and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs. Cronulla Sharks Cronulla -- Midway through 2009 is when the Cronulla Sharks began to cast one eye to 2010. Lingering at the bottom of the ladder the Sharks went on the attack and signed John Morris, Paul Aiton, Dean Collis, Broderick Wright and Manly Sea Eagles junior Adam Cutherbertson. Some spirited performances in the final 2 rounds where they were very unlucky not to walk away with a win, saw the Sharks avoid the dreaded wooden spoon gave Cronulla fans something to cheer about. The Titans The Titans finished 3rd on the competition table and hosted their first final in the teams history against rivals the Broncos in round 1 of the finals before taking on the red hot Eels in the second. Although they showed good form throughout the season but failed to show that form later in the season and were bundled out of the playoffs. The Titans will add even more firepower next season with the announcement of Melbourne rookie Joseph Tomane signing a deal with the Titans. Manly Sea Eagles The Sea Eagles were very hot and cold throughout 2009 and although Manly finished 5th failed to progress any further than the first round of the finals after their disappointing performance against the Melbourne Storm. It was tumultuous season for Manly as they cam up against obstacles on and off the field in 2009 said goodbye to Adam Cuthbertson, Heath LeStrange, Glenn Hall, and Jarred Warea-Hargraves, but will welcome new additions Matt Cross and Joe Galuvao. Melbourne Storm For now the 4th year running Melbourne have surged into the final 4 and are favourites to take yet another title down south. With Greg Inglis back in the side along with the other rugby league superstars in Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, and Cooper Cronk It seems as though it'll take a team at the top of their game to weather the Storm. Melbourne were clinical in their 40-12 win over Manly and as results went their way found themselves in the final 4. NZ Warriors NZ's last game of the season was everybody's last chance to see the Kiwi's greatest player of all-time with Stacey Jones announcing his retirement from Rugby League. The result didn't go their way as they ran into a red hot Storm side, but the celebration was still loud for 'The Little General' who played 265 games for the Warriors and represented his country on 48 occasions. The pressure will be on the Warriors next season after a disastrous 09 campaign and will look to new recruit Brett Seymour and Brent Tate who returns from injury for some much-needed spark in the line-up.