100318_ant'sanalysisWhat a cracking start to the finals in 2010.  The Sea Eagles got the boot they deserved, while the Warriors’ season probably ended a little prematurely, but that’s how we role in the McIntyre System.

Lucky for us, we can also relish in the exploits of Mad Monday celebrations.  I’m impressed that Thurston, while on crutches, managed to get arrested for drunken and disorderly conduct and charged with public nuisance.  I wonder if he’ll put it down to painkillers.  Didn’t he look dusty when he emerged from the lock up –  definitely made me feel better about myself.

So the rumourville in gossip town is awash with murmurings about the betting scandal.  Apparently it’s bigger than previously thought, involving bigger names than we dare to think about, and it will all hit the fan after the Grad Final.  Smart.  Let’s see if we can tarnish another premiership after the event.  It will be a sad day when I can no longer bet on how many times Hindmarsh’s coin slot will appear in the first forty minutes.

I must say, the Dragons did not look like they were about to choke against the Sea Eagles, and if they make it to the Grand Final, I think the premiership might be heading to Kogarah.  No one else is particularly convincing.

Raiders v Tigers – 7:45pm Friday September 17, Canberra Stadium

Okay, it’s time to get behind the Green Machine with as much gusto as you can muster.  They’re a footy team that’s having fun and playing well.  And with nine wins out of the last ten games, you’d have to think their form is ominous.  I foolishly thought that their dream would come to an end last week, but the mighty Raiders proved me wrong.  Dugan, Vidot, Tilse, and Shillington.  Great to watch (I put Tilse in there just because he’s incredibly tall).  Sure, the Raiders have lost the last four games against the Tigers, including two outings in 2010, but with A THOUSAND injury clouds hanging over the Tigers line up, and the ridiculously energy-sapping game against the Roosters last week, I don’t think the Tigers will have it in them.  With or without Benji Marshall.  Even Benny Elias wouldn’t be able to save the Tigers down at the Nation’s Capital.  The Tigers’ season ended after golden point extra time last week.  They won’t recover.  Can Canberra go all the way?  Fingers and toes crossed.

Raiders by 8.

Roosters v Panthers – 7:45pm Saturday September 18, Sydney Football Stadium

This is a really tough one.  The Roosters put on an incredible performance last week to down the Tigers in extra time, but the elation they experienced will only partially make up for the extra fatigue.  The Roosters are on a bit of a roll with three wins in a row and a virtually clean injury sheet, while the Panthers went down to the Raiders at CUA last week by two points, and have a number of injuries worries.  Both Waterhouse and Pritchard are out, but big Petro is back (and word has it that Coote may be a late starter).  All the smart money is on the Roosters, but I have never suggested that my cash was intelligent.  The Roosters probably should have lost last week, and they are certainly far from invincible.  To come back and win after being down 15-2 with 21 minutes to go is no mean feat, but I just think the Panthers will edge out the Bondi Boys.  Even though both of these teams can play some brilliant attacking footy, as finals tend to go, this will be a rough and tumble affair.  In an arm wrestle I reckon the Mountain Men will stand tall and take it out.  But only just.  The Panthers got up convincingly in round 5 this season, but much has changed since then!

Panthers by 2.

Progress Score Finals Week 1 – 114/196 58.9% (Last Week 1/4)

Multi-Magic … My long shot bets for the punter within…

  • Raiders v Tigers – Raiders 13+
  • Roosters v Panthers – Tri Bet within 6.5

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey