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Finals Fever!

Finals Fever!

Finals Fever!

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VOSSY’S LAST WORD: Finals week one.

And then there were eight!

Sadly the Warriors are not among the NRL finals race, which may not prove to be a race at all if Melbourne live up to their form.

The Storm have been the standout side all season and finished runaway minor premiers. They deserve to win the title. However only six times in the last 19 years has first across the line gone on to win the grand final.

Here are my thoughts on the qualifying finals that are all coming your way live on SKY Sport.

Game One: Roosters v Broncos

When: Friday, September 8, 2017.

Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney.

Watch it: LIVE. SKY Sport 2 from 10pm

There will be a big Kiwi influence in this one with the Roosters poised to start as favourites.

The Broncos will need to overcome the loss of Darius Boyd to a hamstring injury. Kodi Nikorima has been named at fullback, with Benji Marshall coming into the team to partner Anthony Milford in the halves.

Up front, you could call it a World Cup audition as Adam Blair faces the Roosters enforcer Jared Waera-Hargreaves.

In results been the two sides this year, the Broncos won in round six in Brisbane 32-6, while the Roosters won the return clash in Sydney in Round 13, 18-16.

Vossy’s tip: Roosters by six.

Game two: Storm v Eels.

When: Saturday, September 9, 2017.

Where: AAMI Park, Melbourne.

Watch it: LIVE. SKY Sport 2 from 6.45pm.

They sealed the minor premiership three weeks ago. Now the job starts again for Melbourne in what often gets referred to as a “whole new competition.”

On SKY Sport you will see the great Cameron Smith play his 356th game, passing Darren Lockyer’s all time premiership match appearances record.

Great news for the Storm is the return to full fitness of Tohu Harris. He takes his place in a pack that includes Jesse Bromwich up front, and can boast plenty of impact off the bench through the likes of Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Kenny Bromwich.

Out wide, you can expect a shootout between the leading tryscorer in the NRL, Suliasi Vunivalu and Parramatta’s Semi Radradra who has crossed seven times in the past two weeks!

Parramatta did win in Melbourne in Round 18 this year 22-6, but that was against a Melbourne team minus its State of Origin stars.

Vossy’s tip: Storm by 12.

Game three: Sea Eagles v Panthers.

When: Saturday, September 9, 2017.

Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney.

Watch it: LIVE. SKY Sport 2 from 9.30pm.

It was only last Sunday that Manly outclassed the Panthers 28-12, and while I think the score line will be closer, the Sea Eagles should prevail again.

Dean Whare has again been named at fullback for the Panthers to cover for the troubled Matt Moylan. The former Warriors ballboy Nathan Cleary has a huge job to lead his team against the impressive Daly Cherry-Evans.

The winner of this sudden death clash will go on to play the loser of the Roosters against the Broncos.

Vossy’s tip: Sea Eagles by four.

Game four: Sharks v Cowboys.

When: Sunday, September 10, 2017.

Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney.

Watch it: LIVE. SKY Sport 2 from 5.30pm.

I just have a feeling this will be the closest game of the weekend, although the two teams have finished wide apart on the scoreboard the last two times they have clashed in finals football.

In 2015, the Cowboys slammed the Sharks in the semis 39-0.

Last year the Sharks won the preliminary final at Allianz Stadium 32-20.

What about the duel between the locks? Paul Gallen locks horns with New Zealand international Jason Taumalolo. Wow!

Cronulla is on a four game winning streak against Sunday’s opponent. I think they will make it five… but only just.

Vossy’s tip: Sharks by one.

From the vault:

It was happier times for the Warriors in week one of the finals 15 years ago.

The Warriors recorded their first ever finals win on the opening weekend of the playoffs in 2002. In front of a crowd of 23,800 at Mount Smart Stadium, the Daniel Anderson coached side beat Canberra 36-20.

Enjoy your weekend of finals footy folks here on SKY Sport.

Twitter: @AndrewVossy


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