From The Couch: Grand Final

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on October 6, 2014


Glory, Glory to South Sydney: Congratulations to South Sydney, the 2014 NRL premiers. They were the best team of 2014 and they deserved to put an end to their 43-year run without a premiership. The Grand Final defeat was personally heartbreaking as a Canterbury fan but there is no doubting the excitement that has covered Rugby League thanks to such a fairytale. There have been few more memorable moments in my time in footy than seeing the Bunnnies faithful cry and celebrate a tremendous win as Glory, Glory belted out. There were no excuses for Canterbury. Shayne Hayne again had another awful match but there is no question the Bunnies deserved to win and that credit goes to Canterbury for hanging in as long as they did. Long may Souths revel in their glory. It has been a long time coming and a long time deserved.

Grand Final Player Ratings:
South Sydney
1. Greg Inglis (7.5) – Made a super break and was rarely out of position.
2. Alex Johnston (7) – Capped off a sensational debut season with the opening try of the GF
3. Kirisome Auva’a (6.5) – Held quiet all night but did manage to cross the line
4. Dylan Walker (5.5) – Not his best game but by the same token he didn’t need it
5. Lote Tuqiri (4) – Denied the opening try because of foul play. Was hardly spotted after.
6. Luke Keary (7) – Poked and prodded all night and has helped turn Souths into title team
7. Adam Reynolds (8) – Started slowly but held nerve with a sublime kicking game
8. George Burgess (8.5) – Produced the defining play with his try off a barnstorming solo run
21. Api Koroisau (7) – Let nobody down filling in for Issac Luke
10. Dave Tyrell (4.5) – Afforded little opportunity and left the GF on a stretcher
11. Ben Te’o (7.5) – Left nothing on the paddock in a ripping and a tearing performance
12. John Sutton (6) – Has not adapted to the second row but is a popular leader at the Bunnies
13. Sam Burgess (9) – Fractured cheekbone on opening tackle but was clearly the best player on the paddock in an awe-inspiring performance
14. Jason Clark (5.5) – He put in when given an opportunity off the bench
15. Kyle Turner (3.5) – Rarely sighted after a long spell on the pine
16. Chris McQueen (5.5) – Produced a key touch in the try that sealed the title for Souths
17. Tom Burgess (7.5) – Produced some absolutely huge runs that kept Souths on the front foot

Total: 110

1. Sam Perrett (7) – Put under immense pressure all night but was totally faultless
2. Corey Thompson (6.5) – Targeted by the Bunnies but was energetic running the ball back
3. Josh Morris (5) – For a rep regular he sure hasn’t done a lot all year or during the Grand Final
4. Tim Lafai (5) – Hardly touched the ball but defended stoutly enough
5. Mitch Brown (4) – Played to expectations
6. Josh Reynolds (7.5) – Canterbury’s most dangerous attacking weapon, he tried to carry the Bulldogs
7. Trent Hodkinson (1) – He should not have played. Was hardly sighted. Selfish call.
8. Aiden Tolman (6.5) – Worked hard through the middle but struggled to break down Souths’ pack
9. Moses Mbye (6.5) – Playing out of position he did a stellar job defensively in the middle
10. James Graham (8.5) – Only Sam Burgess was better than Graham, who left nothing on the paddock
11. Josh Jackson (6) – Another Bulldogs forward who did  little wrong but couldn’t win the arm wrestle
12. Tony Williams (4) – The biggest bust in Bulldogs history once again showed what a waste of space and money he is
13. Greg Eastwood (4.5) – The Beast was surprisingly quiet with the Dogs on the back foot
14. Tim Browne (4) – Was sound enough for a guy whose head is full of metal
15. Dale Finucane (4.5) – Made no impact off the pine
16. David Klemmer (7) – Was huge off the bench and has a bright future
17. Frank Pritchard (7) – The Bulldogs’ only period of dominance was when Pritchard turned the tide

Dally M Farce: The Dally M Medal was once again turned into a farce thanks to a fame-giddy NRL and a judge who surely must have backed Jarryd Hayne in the last round. The event turned into an apparent South Sydney presentation night when Russell Crowe was asked to read the votes and did little but undermine the event with his untimely and unfunny banter. It was an abhorrent abuse of liberties and turned a joke of an event into a car crash. It ended just the same when Jarryd Hayne somehow got two votes in the final round loss to Canberra when the Eels trailed 32-6 and never looked likely, a match that clearly should have seen the Raiders win all six votes. No wonder the NRL has banned betting on the event! A little transparency and a little dignity would be nice from the NRL occasionally.

Fun Fact #1: The audience for the NRL Grand Final had a peak of 4.5 million (5 metro), which smashed the AFL Grand Final, that peaked at 3.6 million.

Fun Fact #2: Rugby League has the three highest rating television shows of 2014.

Fun Fact #3: Lote Tuqiri scored his first ever try against Western Suburbs, a team who has not played as a standalone side in 15 seasons.

Rumour Mill: It emerged on social media last week that referee Shayne Hayne is a paid-up member of the South Sydney Rabbitohs. This has not been verified. The Bunnies are likely to extend the deal of halfback Adam Reynolds. Rugby union player Kurtley Beale is reportedly in negotiations to defect to the NRL but is likely just leveraging his price with the ARU. Josh Hoffman is likely to end up at Canterbury next year though the Warriors and Raiders are in the mix. Willie Mason will almost surely be at Manly next season. Don’t be surprised to see a big name leave the NRL executive team over the summer. Blake Austin will now stay at the Tigers as he is in Jason Taylor’s plans.

Betting Market of the Week: Next year for the pre-game entertainment, the NRL will:

$1001: Pay Tina Turner whatever she wants and have her sing ‘Simply The Best’
$1001: Play it smart and stick with an Oz Rock band singing classic hits
$3.25: Hire Len to play ‘Steal My Sunshine’
$2.00: Play a cassette tape over the loud speakers with Chad Smith doing a 47-minute drum solo

What I Like About … Sam Burgess: I cannot stand that Burgess has defected to rugby union but it is hard not to be super impressed by his courage and tenacity in the Grand Final and the astonishing impact he has had on the game since moving to Australia. He has become without question one of the top handful of players in the game, combining a huge work ethic with some severe impact. League didn’t miss Sonny Bill or Benji or Lote or Wendall. We don’t miss Folau or Hunt. But the NRL will sure as hell miss everything that is Sam Burgess.

Funniest Eels Moment of the Week: Jarryd Hayne getting two Dally M Medal votes for an Eels side that trailed 32-6 to the Raiders in the final, pushing him into a tie for the Dally M gong. Oh wait, it happened. Only in the NRL.

Power Rankings:
1. South Sydney 18-9 (1)

The Coaching Crosshairs: While every head coaching job for the 2015 season has been sorted following the appointment of Jason Taylor to the Wests Tigers, expect Nathan Brown’s next club of employment to create some internal friction. Brown is highly regarded after a successful stint in England and is sure to get a job again in the next few years. Coaches under the gun heading into next season are few and far between  but if he lobs at Cronulla, Newcastle or New Zealand it could be very interesting.

Ricky Stuart Stat of the Week: Just two players who played in Sunday’s Grand Final had previously played under Ricky Stuart. Sam Perrett and Mitch Brown both played on the losing side.

Game of the Year, 2014:

  1. Canterbury-Sydney Roosters, 9-8 (Round 5)
  2. Sydney Roosters-North Queensland 31-30 (Finals Week 2)
  3. Manly-Sydney Roosters 8-0 (Round 4)
  4. Canterbury-New Zealand 16-12 (Round 10)
  5. Sydney Roosters-Brisbane 30-26 (Round 3)

Correspondence Corner: Jason, I love Corey Parker but he was only considered for prop this year. It looks like Hoffman is gone.

Martin, the pattern continues. But gee am I pumped for 2024!!

Peter, sadly … not to be.

Gaz, the Mata’utia boys are Bankstown juniors who were taken to Newcastle when Peter Mulholland switched clubs. And besides, there is no law but the bottom dollar in Rugby League. It is the law of the jungle. The Bulldogs should be applauded for being on the front foot while Newcastle waited and did nothing. I am obviously biased on this but even if it was the Eels I would say all is fair. We don’t live in an ideal world. This is the NRL. So be it. The only recourse is to wish the defectors the worst … which I often do.

Rick, the NRL has no concept of how to put an event on.

Beard Watch: James Graham can do nearly everything well but growing a beard is not one of them. The hulking Bulldogs skipper-in-waiting has a patchy red job that is just no good at all.

Watch It: With the NRL failing again so spectacularly again with its pre-game entertainment, we take a step  back to the most famous fail. Let’s take a look at Billy Idol doing the pre-game entertainment at the 2003 Grand Final. Watch it here.


Comments (9)

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  1. Davey G says:

    Agree with the Dally M voting, but unless the same 3 people pick every game every round, there are bound to be inconsistencies. Jarryd did have a good year individually, but as soon as the rest of the team learn to do more than just pass it to him and yell “RUN!!” like they do to the best player in the Under 6’s, the team will go better. Happy to see him get the gong (as an Eels fan), but that last game 2 points was not unlike every Broncos TV game having Lockyer as Channel 9 MOM even if he went off injured in the first minute. Reeks of mischief.
    How many sleeps until the Charity Shield?

  2. george says:

    Sam Perrett made no impact at all how can you give him a 7 .If anything it showed you need a good no 1 to win g f. Is nt it a job of a no 6 to ball play. Josh Reynolds did zero he was a 5 at best. That’s why Morris did nt see the ball.
    I thought John SUTTON was very good and Dale Finucane really rattled the rabbits .

  3. Mike Butterfield says:

    I’m a Souths member & although at the start of the year I said if Slammin Sammy can get us a Grand Final win, I won’t begrudge him leaving, I have a heavy heart, I have not seen a forward get through the workload he has in both attack & defence, as a prop, as a second rower & as a lock, he will be missed by Rugby League, not just Souths.

  4. Mascot Maven says:

    Shayne Hayne produced only onemajor howler by my count: not sending Finucane to the bin for his flagrant professional foul

  5. Nye Griffiths says:

    Thanks Nick for another quality year of NRL journalism – enjoyed it a lot.

  6. Dan says:

    Knight Vision – under 16s juniors actually, don’t cry too loudly just because you brought in a mercenary coach and it didn’t work out.

    Nick, good summary and thanks for your work this year. Like you I am heartbroken about another lost premiership opportunity but we got there from 7th and just ran out of petrol. If anyone was to beat us I am glad it was Souths, good for them, they deserved it.

  7. Chris says:

    Thanks for the great updates all year nick.

  8. Knight Vision says:

    Bulldogs juniors ? you jest. How old was Sione ? 6 yrs old hardly counts as a Bulldogs junior buddy.

  9. Bretto says:

    Finally someone has said it about Hayne getting 2 points in a side that got pumped by canberra it was a fucking joke they need to take the voting off the daily telegraph journalist