A finals series wouldn’t be complete without twists and turns, drama and controversy.
That’s what we’ve seen in the opening week of the 2016 NRL Finals.
Here’s a look at the first three matches and major talking points.
WORSE PERFORMANCE IN 108 YEARS?
— Michael Jones (@Mikey8868) September 9, 2016
Impartial observers of Friday night’s Broncos vs Titans game watched with amazement as our top referee Gerard Sutton and his assistant Gavin Badger destroyed the opening final at Suncorp Stadium.
Phil Gould tweeting “I don’t think I’ve ever felt more deflated after calling a game of football. I didn’t care which team won tonight. But I care for the game.”
Darryl Brohman similarly confused. “I am absolutely deflated after calling that game. The officiating and the technology has absolutely ruined what I thought would be a beauty”
Tony Archer defending his refs for missing several big calls during the game was courageous.
How the pocket referee missed James Roberts’ lashing out of Ryan Simpkins was astonishing.
Todd Greenberg needs to add this to his growing list of faults with our game.
DISTRAUGHT ELLIOT WHITEHEAD
Elliot Whitehead has played the most minutes of footy for the Raiders in 2016 with 2,019.
But it came down to one moment that broke the Raiders faithful hearts and ended their amazing winning streak.
I feel for the Super League convert who’s been one of the Raiders best forwards. He was so desperate to slow down the play the ball that he went in a little late.
The Raiders club will no doubt be rallying behind him in the lead-up to the must win game at GIO Stadium next Saturday night.
CHAD TOWNSEND DOUBTFUL FOR REST OF THE FINALS?
Shane Flanagan’s axing of Chad Townsend during the second half of last night’s victory against Canberra hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Townsend has been struggling at the back end of the season as Cronulla limped into third after looking like minor premiers.
Is this it for Townsend in the finals series?
With the Sharks taking on the winner of North Queensland and Brisbane in a fortnight’s time I’ll go out on a limb and say yes. For a team so desperate to make the finals the risk of taking a player into a big game not in form is too high.
It could be Kurt Capewell who gets thrown into the hot seat.
Having won with the Ipswich Jets in last years Intrust Super Cup Grand Final he could be part of two premierships in the same amount of years.
THURSTON UNHAPPY AT SHORT TURNAROUND
Andrew Johns opened up in the post game show on Channel 9 last night saying that Johnathan Thurston was filthy with the NRL for scheduling their blockbuster elimination final with Brisbane Broncos for next Friday night.
This was given the long trip back to Townsville on Sunday which would limit their preparation.
Penrith or Canterbury suffer the same predicament of a six day turnaround to face Canberra next weekend, minus the travel time.
Maybe the solution will be to play in the first week of the finals a double header on both Friday and Saturday nights instead of it being dragged across three days.