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The Rock-itt : September 2010
Broncos Just 4 weeks ago, Brisbane were touted as the dark horses of this year's competition as the Darren Lockyer led side sat just outside the top 4 and were playing as good footy as their rivals. How a month can change a side. After the news that Justin Hodges will seemingly not be back in 2010, and an injury to their captain, the Broncos slid down the ladder and with 2 weeks left until the finals, face a battle with the green machine for that final playoff position. Bulldogs With the Bulldogs campaign this season all but over, the focus at Belmore has turned to 2011, in particular the future of current halfback, Brett Kimmorley. While we know that the veteran number 7 won't play for the dogs who have signed City representative halves, Trent Hodkinson and Kris Keating, as well as having Ben Barba and Ben Roberts in the squad, the question remains what will Kimmorley do. He has a coaching offer from the Bulldogs, but a chance to continue playing at destinations including Cronulla, Canberra, and Parramatta. Raiders Is there a more in form team in the competition than the one from the ACT? The Raiders have won 5 from their last 6 including the scalp of premiership favourites, St. George Illawarra, and have the flair of their youthful line-up to thank. Many thought when captain Alan Tongue went down with injury, the Raiders side would follow, but the likes of Terry Campese, Josh Dugan, Jarrod Croker, and the sides highly underrated forward pack have stepped up resulting in the green machine sitting just outside the eight of for and against. Sharks Fear not Sharks fans, the end is near. After yet another horrid season for the team from the shire, the Sharks can only play spoiler in their remaining 2 games, as they will attempt to keep the Gold Coast Titans and Penrith Panthers out of the top 2. In signing news, the Sharks gained the services of Panthers up and comer, Wade Graham who Penrith coach Matt Elliott rates as a representative player of the future. Graham will come in to replace the retiring Trent Barrett. Luke Covell will join Barrett in playing their last matches in the NRL during the remaining 2rounds. Titans After a rocky middle period of the season the Gold Coast Titans look primed to enter the playoffs Rugby League's most consistent outfit. In a season where no team has really stamped their authority on the season the Titans must back themselves as good a chance as any to take out the title. Dual international Mat Rogers gave them even more drive to succeed announcing that this year will be his last. Rogers was offered a new deal from the Titans and a chance to head back to Rugby with the Queensland Reds but decided his body couldn't take another season of constant training and a gruelling match each week and called an end to his storied career. Sea Eagles There was a point in the season where it seemed the Sea Eagles may shockingly miss the semi finals, and although that threat still looms Manly have seemingly done enough to be there come the important part of the season and now are striving for a top 4 finish. Manly's strong for and against will come in useful at the end of the season where the Sea Eagles will take on all challenges from the opposition, but will have to do it without Shane Rodney who has succumbed to a leg injury and will take no further part this season. Rodney joins Brett Stewart, David Williams, Josh Perry, and Ben Farrar on the sidelines, although Perry and Farrar may be back before the finals campaign. Storm Melbourne can take some credit for not packing it in this season, there playing for no points and many worried that after Origin the players may even boycott the season, but they have remained competitive and are looking forward to redeem themselves in 2011. The big news coming out of Melbourne is that Greg Inglis will follow his girlfriend north of the border and move to the Brisbane Broncos on a 2-year, 1.1 million dollar deal. The Storm needed to let Inglis go, as keeping him would result in the club being over the cap next year as well. Warriors Ivan Cleary was under immense pressure at the beginning of the season and bookies had him a short odds to be the first coach shown the door this season, but he has bought his team together and in return they have gotten a place in the top 8. While it is not assured they will play in the finals, they will take their round 25 clash against the Broncos as a dress rehearsal to the playoffs. Fan favorite Manu Vatuvei re-signed with the Auckland-based side for a further 2-years. The 'Beast' is widely touted as the best winger in the competition and will continue to haunt any team that goes across the ditch.