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The Rock-itt : August 2011
Welcome back, Punters to our NRL Rugby League review. We are now into August and just weeks away from the start of the finals. Because of the importance of the next 4 weeks to our NRL clubs, we are in for some spectacular footy. For the majority of our clubs it is “do or die” as the jockeying begins to see who will be there come September then ultimately October for the grand final. Storm: Here is a mighty side virtually assured of a place in the finals and justifiably so. They have done everything right, keeping their nose in front for most of the race and now it’s paid off. Number 1 on the ladder board, these Melbournians are poised to come back and stop Saints from gaining back to back premierships. I might be sticking my neck out a bit here but the Storm will be one half of the grand final, the only thing I can’t foresee from here is, who will run out onto the paddock in October to play them. Sea Eagles: Number two on the NRL Ladder Board, the Sea Eagles would have to be considered grand final contenders. Their defence has improved greatly from last season and their attack is improving each game. Still not at their best though, is a good thing at this time of the year. But they will have to stay focused on their game plan and avoid any lapses in concentration as we have s een from the Eagles at different times throughout the season. They have big guns to deal with in all directions in the likes of Saints, Cowboys, Broncos and of course the Storm which they will have to overcome if they want to be there when the ’fat lady’ sings in October. Dragons: The Dragons have been slightly tarnished lately, going down to the Raiders who are sitting a long way down the ladder. Although Dragons played their hearts out, Raiders played better and might be a real pain in the neck to other teams now they have the winning formula back. But whether or not Dragons have gone stale or peaked too early is hard to say. Origin knocked them around a bit and they are beginning to show it. On their day they are world beaters and maybe the loss to Raiders was just a glitch on the screen. They play Souths next, let’s see how they handle the Bunnies. Cowboys: : It seems that even without champion Jonathon Thurston in the side, Cowboys can win games and are looking pretty good in fourth position on the ladder. Matt Bowen is showing incredible form and the guys in the ten gallon hats seem to have been inspired by his form. There is a feeling of ”we can do it” by this team given the chance and with the way they are putting it together one seems to get the same infectious feeling. Their defence rate is down a bit but if they hold tight to the tiller and guide themselves into a better defensive position from here on in, then yes, it is quite possible for them to be there come October. Broncos: The Broncos are just coasting on the rails now, half a dozen points from top spot on the ladder. Four rounds away from the finals and behind closed doors somewhere in Brisbane, the brains behind every finals campaign since the club officially entered the NRL competition would be sitting down together to plan their strategies, and in doing so prepare for what they do so well, win a grand final. Lockyer and the boys are out there doing a good job, jockeying themselves into a good position for what’s to come as they have been instructed to do. So now the best campaigners in the game have their job to do to make it all come together at the right time. Watch out! Here come the Broncos. Knights: The Knights are sitting precariously in eighth position with locomotives screaming down the tracks toward them at their rear. If they have any chance at all of holding their place with-in the eight they are going to have to improve their on-field plan to stay there. They have bottom of the ladder Titans up next in round 22, although I expect they will be playing their hearts out to avoid the wooden spoon. What to do!.....Oh please Mr Bennett hurry up and save us. Bulldogs: Yes, the doggies continue to give it a go sitting in tenth position on the ladder. As we go to print they are about to take on the Roosters which should be a close one so I’m not going to make a prediction there. They have been putting everything into their effort to get on top of a slow start to the season and are starting to see their hard work come to fruition. With the change of coaches losing club stalwart Kevin Moore, due to some internal friction within the club, it doesn’t seem to have upset the Dogs’ game plan too much as their ascendance shows. They have a tough call against the inform Cowboys in round 22 but if they want to stay with the pace they must try to overcome this obstacle. Tigers: The Tigers are up and running after knocking off number two on the NRL Ladder the Sea Eagles in round 21. Benji Marshall is back to his best and his brilliance is inspiring the rest of the Tigers to lift their game. As we go to print Tigers sit in seventh position on the NRL ladder. But the big test will come on Friday 5th August when they clash with Saints. This will be the big moment to see if their win against Sea Eagles was just a flash in the pan or that there has been a definite resurgence in the team . This will be a mighty gam e of football, so stay awake for this one. Warriors: Another side positioning them selves nicely for the finals are the boys from across the ditch, the Warriors. Showing excellent form at the right tim e of the season, W arriors are one of the most feared bogeymen to every team in the NRL. Steadily getting better with every game their cool approach and strong game plan make this very good rugby league team one hell of a good prospect for October. They seem to know where they are headed and are being guided by a cool head in coach Ivan Cleary who has been with the team for quite a while now and knows as a team and individually how each player ticks. This back end of the season is going to be one hell of a ride so get ready for it. Panthers: Recently Gus Ghould was brought into the Panthers’ camp to straighten things out after a miserable start to the first half of the season. Coach, Mathew Elliott was given his marching orders and George Georgallis was installed as caretaker coach. The Panthers are looking a little better than previously but it doesn’t stop there. Now their long tim e captain courageous Petero Civoniceva has decided to head back to the Broncos next season after