NRL play-offs throws up some tight tussles
‘‘The results were always in doubt, the action sometimes brutally competitive, wonderful skills were shown by all the players.’’
Argentina. But so good are the All Blacks, that a 57-0 record winning margin rated only a pass mark from coach Steve Hansen who said his side ‘‘played probably as good as we’ve played for a long time’’, while assistant Ian Foster criticised mistakes after the result was beyond doubt. It is a done deal we will win the championship again.
But more than that, South Africa is rated third in the world, so you could be forgiven for wondering what the point actually is. There is a huge gap between us and them. With England rated number two in the world, the news we will play them - though not until next year – is welcome. Perhaps it is Hansen’s attitude that keeps the players sharp, who knows, but there are some NRL coaches who would love to harness what the All Blacks have.
The final four NRL sides have been found, with Melbourne to face Brisbane on Friday night, and the Roosters to take on North Queensland on Saturday. While the Roosters and Storm had the weekend off, the Cowboys were dogged to get past the Eels, while Brisbane beat the Panthers. Both those games, and remember I loved the All Blacks wiping the Boks, had more to offer, simply because they were competitive. The results were always in doubt, the action sometimes brutally competitive, wonderful skills were shown by all the players, and the games were thoroughly engaging.
Unfortunately there will be no finals footy for the Vodafone Warriors InTrust Super Premiership side, beaten in their semifinal by the Wyong Roos 16-12.
They may have been eliminated, but I am proud of how deep into the finals we went, and how competitive we were in the semi, with good tries to Toafofoa Sipley and Jazz Tevaga, both converted by Mason Lino, with all three of those players having tasted NRL footy this year.
Sir Peter Leitch loved the competitive nature of the NRL play-off matches over the weekend.