All- Qld finale on the cards
NSW fans still reeling from the record 52- 6 State of Origin loss to Queensland on Wednesday night should look away now, because it could be about to get even worse.
As the NRL heads into the final nine rounds of the season, there is the very real prospect of the first- ever all- Queensland grand final.
Having negotiated an eightweek Origin period that’s been traditionally brutal for Queensland teams, ladder leaders Brisbane and secondplaced North Queensland are clear at the top of the table.
Now statistics show they are primed to book a spot in the October 4 decider at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
Teams who are running first and second at this time of the season have a strong record of reaching the decider.
According to Fox Sports Stats, in the past 10 years sides who have been placed one- two after Origin III have gone on to play each other in the grand final on three occasions.
And at least one of those teams has pushed all the way to the decider seven times.
So if Wednesday night’s viewing wasn’t painful enough, imagine having to sit down on the first Sunday in October and choose between the Broncos or Cowboys.
The Sydney Roosters are third and remain NSW’s best hope to spoil the banana benders’ party.
They’re $ 4 TAB premiership favourites ahead of the Queensland duo ( both $ 5).
Premiers South Sydney ($ 8) are fourth, but will need to rediscover their form of last season soon if they’re to challenge again, St George Illawarra ($ 26) are in free fall, while Canterbury ($ 6) and Penrith ($ 26) appear to be the only other Sydney teams capable of firing.
The thought of watching Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Corey Parker, Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday – all proud Maroons – potentially celebrate in Sydney could entice a few NSW fans to pack the bags and escape for an early holiday.
JCU Saints players Apa Sents and Danny Handupi are a long way from the highlands of Papua New Guinea, but they have become key cogs in their new club’s sporting culture.
Sents and Handupi are two of six PNG engineering students who have played senior Townsville and Districts Rugby League with the Saints this year, bringing their tough brand of footy along with a humble off- field attitude that has impressed teammates and club adminis-