I reckon this year’s NRL finals series has been the best we have seen for a long, long time and on Friday night footy fans lucky enough to be at Suncorp Stadium are in for a classic...
Just six months ago it looked like there might not be a rugby league season this year, let alone one that has produced so many memorable moments. For Broncos fans most of those memories have revolved around disappointment, controversy and even anger, but the rejuvenation of the Titans and the extended stay of the State’s unofficial fourth team the ‘Sunshine Coast Storm’ have given Queenslanders something to cheer about.
And now on Friday we have a preliminary final showdown for the ages, with the Storm and last year’s grand finalist Raiders hell-bent on making it through to the biggest game of the year.
There are so many great match-ups all over the ground that it’s hard to know where to start: the Raiders bash-brothers Josh Papalii and Joseph Tapine up against Storm’s big men Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Kenny Bromwich; the brilliant fullbacks Ryan Papenhuyzen from Melbourne and Canberra’s Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad facing off and, perhaps most crucial of all, the halves pairings of the Raiders’ George Williams and Jack Wighton vying for supremacy with Storm’s Jahrome Hughes and Cameron Munster.
Most intriguing for me though will be watching the great Cameron Smith – in what could be his final game – trying to school the Raiders’ youngster Tom Starling. Like most observers I thought Canberra’s year was over when they lost their wily hooker Josh Hodgson for the season – ironically in the game against Melbourne back in July - but Starling has been an absolute revelation.
I reckon watching the young bull locking horns with the old bull will be worth the price of admission.
What do YOU reckon?