Sunday 11 September 2011

NRL Finals 2011 - Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights 4th Qualifying Final Preview - What's The Game Plan?

4:00pm (Local) Sunday 11 September @ AAMI Park, Melbourne.
NOT The Footy Show Episode 83
- Qualifying Finals Review Released September 12, 2011 -

Right Click Save Target As This Link if you don't have iTunes.
NRL Finals Week 1 Review.
The Semi Finals are under-way, so join Matthew Duncan and Warrick Nicolson as they dissect the wins by the Storm, Sea Eagles, Broncos and Tigers in the Qualifying Finals. The Cowboys and Knights are finished for 2011, but the Warriors and Dragons get a second chance - do they deserve one? 
There are audio highlights of all the games plus the best quotes from the press conferences.
Our Elimination Semi Finals Preview Podcast will be out Thursday as we look to NRL Finals Week 2.
What is the Game Plan for Sunday Afternoon Football?
Game Plan Points (outside of the obvious - make minimal mistakes, complete sets etc)
  • Stick to the game plan. Invite the Knights into a game of attrition. Forcing mistakes in that scenario is our strong point.
  • Kick for touch at every opportunity (or kick touch in goal). Kurt Gidley, Akuila Uate and James McManus are very good on the kick-return - take that out of the Newcastle game.
  • Work over their front rowers and Isaac De Gois. Pound the middle of the field then late in the tackle count - go Cameron Smith to Cooper Cronk and back inside for Billy Slater - it'll expose the likes of Antonio Kaufusi, Richie Fa'aoso and Evarn Tuimavave - who aren't great laterally.
  • Be patient. Wait til the errors come and the field position eventuates then attack Newcastle aerially - especially to Matt Duffie's wing (he's a gun in the air).
  • Whoever plays five-eighth just needs to be a link in the chain. Let Smith, Cronk and Slater do the heavy lifting - just feed your outside men and pop up at first receiver to run a forward play every so often.
Game Plan Points (outside of the obvious - make minimal mistakes, complete sets etc)
  • Play football. Newcastle can throw the ball around with the best of them but they must back themselves. If they play into the 'set for set' mentality of the Storm - they'll get swallowed up.
  • Limit own-half mistakes. Obviously to play footy you need to take risks but mistakes in your own 40 will be your doom against a team like the Storm. Find the balance.
  • Feed Adam MacDougall and Akuila Uate at every opportunity. They are Newcastle's best avenue to points and with Jarrod Mullen and Chris Houston inside them - this is their strength.
  • Kurt Gidley can't do it all on his own but follow him as if he can. Gidley thrives on involvement - Jarrod Mullen and Ryan Stig have to sweat off his runs at every opportunity and then try to swing the ball wide to stretch the Storm.
  • Rotate the forwards so that the Storm can't target tired props. The out-ball, in-ball trick that the Storm love (Smith to Cronk to Slater) is tough to stop at the best of times but anyone who is tired will have no hope of stopping it.
Coming In... 
1st STORM TEAM RECORD 19-5 for 42 Points, +213.
8th KNIGHTS TEAM RECORD 12-12 for 28 Points, +35.
Head to Head Last 10...
STORM 8 KNIGHTS 2 - Melbourne are well on top in this rivalry - winning 42-12 at AAMI in Round 8 and winning 4 of the last 5 back to 2009.
Last Finals Match: Newcastle beat Melbourne 30-16 in their 2000 Qualifying Final and eliminated the Storm - the defending premiers.
Tuesday Team News...
MEL: Slater, Duffie, Nielsen, Champion, Quinn, M Blair, Cronk, Bromwich, Smith (c), Norrie, Proctor, Manu, Lowrie. Bench: Hinchcliffe, Kostjasyn, Woolnough, Lowe, Thompson, Waqa.
[Team Changes - The Storm are likely to be without Gareth Widdop with an ankle injury for at least the first week of the Finals, but Jaiman Lowe (Knee) and Maurice Blair (Hammy) have been named despite getting hurt last week. Blair replaces Widdop at five-eighth. Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Bryan Norrie and Jesse Bromwich return from a rest, while Sika Manu and Sisa Waqa also return from suspension. Troy Thompson ans Waqa are on the bench, while Manu, Smith, Slater and Norrie start. Matt Duffie went off late on Monday but should be ok. ]
NEW: Gidley (c), McManus, Sa'u, MacDougall, Uate, Stig, Mullen, Tuimavave, De Gois, Kaufusi, Houston, Costigan, Edwards. Bench: Southern, Tetevano, Fa'aoso, Taufua.
[Team Changes - The Knights have named Junior Sa'u to return from an ankle injury but Siuatonga Likiliki will be on standby if he fails a fitness test. Steven Southern is the new man on the bench with Matt Hilder not named on doctor's orders. Cameron Ciraldo has been omitted. ]
Wednesday Game Preview...
To find out the Panel's tips and why they are tipping them - listen to the Podcast or watch the Tipping Video. Out Thursday.
Tipping + Fantasy Late Mail... 
SMH and Other Late Mail 08/09 - The Storm may not have Maurice Blair (hammy) and if he is out, Rory Kostjasyn would move into the halves from the bench. The Knights should have Junior Sa'u after he passed a fitness test on Thursday.
The NRL Tweet's Tip... 
STORM To Win By 10 Points.
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Toyota Cup:
Starts at 1:30pm.
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07/09 Odds are courtesy of Sportingbet Australia - Line Varies.
21 - 127:45pm Fri @ ANZ | LINE: WTG +2.0 GAME STATS
Tigers will have a home semi in Week 2 against the Warriors, Dragons avoided elimination when the Warriors were beaten and will play the Broncos in Week 2.
40 - 106:30pm Sat @ Suncorp | LINE: WAR +2.5 GAME STATS
Broncos will have a home semi in Week 2 against the Dragons, The Warriors will play the Tigers after avoiding elimination.
42 - 088:30pm Sat @ SFS  | LINE: NQL +7.5 GAME STATS
Manly will 'host' a Preliminary Final at the SFS or ANZ in Week 3. Cowboys are eliminated as one of the two lowest seeded losers in Week 1.
18 - 084:00pm Sun @ AAMI | LINE: NEW +10.5 GAME STATS
Melbourne advance to Week 3 with a home preliminary final, the Knights are eliminated.

The best NRL Preview on the net kicks into gear for the Finals with all the info you need to make an 'informed tipping decision' or feel better about your team's chances in September.
Make sure you bookmark and compare your picks to the Podcast Panel's Tips all month long and make sure you grab the Podcast every Thursday. Check back on Friday for the Latest Mail as it breaks.
Be sure to enter NOT The Footy Show's Finals Phase for Fantasy League
Pick your team from the positional tables and watch them score Tries for you throughout the Finals Series. There are triple points on offer for Grand Final Points and the winner walks away with a specially created NOT The Footy Show 'Old School Team Logo' T-Shirt.
Cut-off is 7:30pm before the 1st Qualifying Final on September 9.
NOT The Footy Show Episode 82

Qualifying Finals Podcast Preview
Released September 8, 2011. 
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NOT The Footy Show 2011
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