The Forward Pass: Who Won the NRLZ?

The fake news that’s actually fake.

Newcastle won the inaugural NRLZ title, defeating the New Zealand Warriors in the grand final at the MCG on Saturday night.

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Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga scored Kentucky Fried Tries (scored from the attacking team’s half and worth 20 points) as Newcastle won 40-12.

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Newcastle went through the tournament undefeated, beating Melbourne, Sydney Roosters and Gold Coast in Group A, Manly in the qualifying final and Melbourne in the preliminary final.

Excited Knights fans are already planning bus and train trips to Sydney for the NRL grand final.

Todd Greenberg was thrilled with the NRLZ’s success. “That was an amazing weekend. Channel Nine had huge ratings, KFC made boatloads of money, gave away tons of chicken and the crowds were fantastic: 25,000 at the Gabba, 30,000 at the SCG and 90,000 for finals day at the MCG. There were 50 KFTs across the three days and 12 Golden Point games. Suck it AFLX, we destroyed you! Try to sue me now Gillon!”

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Even Canberra coach Ricky Stuart – a vocal NRLZ critic – was impressed. “The Mounties boys loved it. We beat the Dragons and gave Penrith and North Queensland a real scare. It was exciting stuff.”

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It wasn’t all good news. Anthony Mundine’s surprise return for the St. George-Illawarra Dragons lasted only 10 minutes into the Dragons’ opening game against Penrith, knocked out by James Tamou in a brutal tackle. It summed up a poor tournament for the Dragons, losing all three group games.

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Greenberg is already planning the 2019 version. “We’re going even bigger, adding the West Coast Pirates and Brisbane Bombers and playing group stage days in Perth, Canberra, Adelaide and New Zealand, extending the tournament to two weeks instead of three days. We’ll be bigger than the Big Bash soon and our fans will never get sick of it.”

The Forward Pass is a fictional and deliberately ridiculous look at the NRL. References to real people is for satirical purposes only. Check it out on Twitter @thefwdpass

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