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Sunday, 11 September 2011

NRL Finals 2011 - Qualifying Finals Week 1 Results Highlights Stats Injuries Press Conferences Man of the Match

2011 NRL QUALIFYING FINALS 
WEEK 1 RESULTS
Here on www.wdnicolson.com we've got all the NRL Finals Results, Match Reports, Game Highlights, Game Stats, Injury News, Press Conferences and NRL Tweet Player of the Finals Award Votes in the one place.
Check out the Qualifying Finals Review below...
Click here for Finals Week 1 Winners and Losers + The Team of the Week.
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.
FINALS WEEK 1 RESULTS
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.
Week 2 Schedule:
Friday: Tigers v Warriors @ SFS.
Saturday: Broncos v Dragons @ Suncorp.
Storm and Sea Eagles into Week 3. Cowboys and Knights eliminated.

FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
7:45pm (Local) 9 September @ ANZ Stadium, Sydney.
 21 
Tries: Benji Marshall 4min, Beau Ryan 47min, Chris Heighington 66min.
Goals: Benji Marshall 4/5 Attempts. Benji Marshall 1 Field Goal.
 12 
Tries: Mitch Rein 17min, Jason Nightingale 23min.
Goals: Jamie Soward 2/4 Attempts.
CROWD: 45,631
NRLTweet Game Summary: The Tigers have beaten the Dragons 21-12 with an awesome 2nd half. St.George-Illawarra's 1st half dominance wasn't enough, as Tigers find a new gear after half-time.
More Game Analysis from Matt and Warrick on the Episode 83 Podcast.
Injuries: Chris Lawrence (Hammy - late withdrawal), Blake Ayshford (Concussion)
Final Teams...
WTG: Moltzen, Ryan, Ayshford, Utai, Tuqiri, Marshall, Lui, Gibbs, Farah (c), Galloway, Fulton, Ellis, Heighington. Bench: Brown, Flanagan, Groat, Woods.
STI: Boyd, Morris, Gasnier, Cooper, Nightingale, Soward, Hornby (c), Hunt, Rein, Weyman, Scott, Creagh, Young. Bench: Prior, Green, Fien, Merrin.
2011 @NRLTweet Player of the Finals Votes
4 - Liam Fulton, WTG
TBA
2 - Tim Moltzen, WTG
TBA
1 - Robbie Farah, WTG
TBA
TIGERS

DRAGONS
|-| |-| |-|
How close were our Game Plans?
Game Plan Points (outside of the obvious - make minimal mistakes, complete sets etc)
  • Kick early. Turn the Dragons around with kicks early in the tackle count in the opening stages of the game. Target Brett Morris on their left (Tigers' right side) - as Jason Nightingale and Darius Boyd are great kick-returners. Find the sideline if going opposite side of the field.
  • Robert Lui and Robbie Farah need to take responsibility for long kicks. This isn't because Benji Marshall can't kick long but he needs to be creative with the ball in hand as much as possible. If Farah's groin is up to it he needs to take late count options from dummy half and Lui the early count options. Don't overburden Benji - his game is attack, so let him attack.
  • Work the Dragons' middle third forwards over with darts from Farah and hand-offs from Marshall. Beau Scott and Ben Creagh love to defend jamming in - take them out of the game by targeting the middle third as much as possible and wear out their big props - Michael Weyman, Trent Merrin, Dan Hunt and Jon Green. The Dragons have a great front row rotation but make each prop work extra hard when they are on the field.
  • Pressure Jamie Soward's kicking game - he rarely gets a good strike on a ball under pressure. Let him have time and he'll pin you deep most times.
  • If Matt Utai replaces Chris Lawrence at left centre then make it his mission to run at Jamie Soward all game. If Mitch Brown is chosen instead - give the ball to Lote Tuqiri on inside balls and make him spot Soward as much as possible.
  • Don't over-use Tim Moltzen on an inside ball. Make Matt Cooper and Mark Gasnier make a decision in defence by giving Utai/Brown and Ayshford the ball early on and then if the Dragons' centres jam in to cut off that ball movement - hit Moltzen on the inside.
  • Kick high to Brett Morris when inside the attacking 20m zone. Make him catch it.
Game Plan Points (outside of the obvious - make minimal mistakes, complete sets etc)
  • Give Darius Boyd lots of early ball - he's the link to the strike weapons out wide (Gasnier, Cooper, Morris and Nightingale) so give Boyd as many chances as possible to get them involved.
  • Make sure Jamie Soward has room and time to kick long. Ben Hornby needs to make sure the set plays out so Soward has this advantage. If he does get pressured - Nathan Fien needs to take more kicks from dummy half when he comes on.
  • Get numbers in on Gareth Ellis. He's their best defender so the more sting you can take out of him when he's got the ball the better.
  • Run through the middle. The front row rotation is a strength and the Tigers are yet to definitively prove they can stop a team with powerful defence up the middle.
  • Make Robbie Farah work extremely hard in defence. Make Farah defend, defend and defend some more. Although he has handled a bigger defensive workload in 2011 - he's the man most likely to hurt the Dragons around the ruck.
  • Hit Tim Moltzen hard on his early kick returns. He's not a great kick-returner at the best of times, but if he is thinking twice about running it back after getting smashed early - he'll wait for his wingers to get back to take the ball and that allows the kick-chase to gain valuable metres.
  • If Matt Utai plays - bomb the life out of him and target him defensively - he's sketchy on both counts. Beau Ryan is also somewhat iffy under the high ball.  Keep at them.
  • Try to manage Benji Marshall's impact. Sit him on his butt if you can but just make sure he's got minimal room where possible. Wide men - sweat on Marshall's long cut out passes (particularly left to right) - there's an intercept on offer if the timing is right.
  • Play with the intensity the Dragons have been known for under Wayne Bennett. This could be do or die - play that way.
  • Execute our three set moves as much as possible. They are Soward cut out to Gasnier or Nightingale inside the 20m zone, shift left out the back to Boyd or play short Hornby to Creagh. Don't complicate things - when executed they are hard to stop.
Toyota Cup:
 48 - 26 
Cowboys into Week 3, Tigers eliminated.

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SATURDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
6:30pm (Local) 10 September @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
40
Tries: Alex Glenn 15min, Jack Reed 28min, Darren Lockyer 35min, Corey Parker 51min, Andrew McCullough 70min, Justin Hodges 73min, Gerard Beale 76min.
Goals: Corey Parker 6/8 Attempts.
10
Tries: Feleti Mateo 59min, Manu Vatuvei 67min.
Goals: James Maloney 1/2 Attempts.
CROWD: 48,943
GAME STATS
NRLTweet Game Summary: Broncos absolutely smash an inept Warriors 40-10 at Suncorp. Brisbane turn the screws but Warriors learn nothing from last year's semi. 
More Game Analysis from Matt and Warrick on the Episode 83 Podcast.
Injuries: Joel Moon (Ankle)
Final Teams...
BRI: Beale, Copley, Reed, Hodges, Yow Yeh, Lockyer (c), Wallace, McGuire, McCullough, Hannant, Glenn, Te'o, Parker. Bench: Gillett, Hunt, Anderson, Hala.
WAR: Locke, Tupou, Moon, Brown, Vatuvei, Maloney, Johnson, Sam Rapira, Heremaia, Lillyman, Mateo, Mannering (c), Luck. Bench: Hohaia, Packer, Packer, Ta'ai.
2011 @NRLTweet Player of the Finals Votes
4 - Corey Parker, BRI
TBA
2 - Jack Reed, BRI
TBA
1 - Josh McGuire, BRI
TBA
BRONCOS

WARRIORS
How close were our Game Plans?
Game Plan Points (outside of the obvious - make minimal mistakes, complete sets etc)
  • Darren Lockyer and Peter Wallace need to turn around the Warriors with long kicks. Every chance they get to turn the Warriors' pack around - they must take it.
  • Kick away from Manu Vatuvei to limit his involvement. The big unit is a beast on kick returns but doesn't go looking for the ball that much - if a long kick goes to the opposite side of the field you can take him out of the game.
  • Don't run one out. The Warriors love to hit and if the forwards get a chance to take our runners one at a time - they will.
  • Limit the Warriors' 2nd phase play as much as possible. If you need to assign someone to shadow Feleti Mateo then do so. Stick with James Maloney - he's an excellent support player.
  • Watch the speed of Aaron Heremaia and Lance Hohaia out of dummy half - middle third has to be on high alert here.
  • Use edge backrowers Ben Te'o, Alex Glenn and Matt Gillett as much as possible on the likes of Joel Moon and Lewis Brown. They are not classic centres so make them defend and jam in/commit to open space for the centres on future plays.
  • Be patient. Ivan Cleary's game plan is patience but the Warriors' players do like to throw the ball around - if the Broncos can hold the Warriors for long periods - they'll make mistakes trying to break things open.
Game Plan Points (outside of the obvious - make minimal mistakes, complete sets etc)
  • Keep Feleti Mateo on the field for 80 minutes. His full game combination with Kevin Locke is the Warriors best chance at victory.
  • Find Darren Lockyer and Peter Wallace in the defensive line. Don't try and always go through the Broncos' middle. Find their playmakers and make them work.
  • Pressure Gerard Beale when he chimes into the backline. He's a good player but not as poised or comfortable 'joining the rush' as Josh Hoffman was. Pressure Beale into making the wrong decision.
  • Get Manu Vatuvei involved. He is the biggest game changing winger in the game - don't let the game drift away from him.
  • Cover Corey Parker's off-load. His runs (while many) won't hurt but his off-loads that create 2nd phase play will.
  • Smash any one-out Brisbane forwards. Make them pay.
  • Work over Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough defensively. McCullough has a tendency to miss half a set in attack when out of juice from a heavy defensive set.
  • Give the ball to Locke and Mateo - did we mention that?
Toyota Cup:
54 - 06 
Warriors into Week 3, Knights eliminated.
]-[ ]-[ ]-[
SATURDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
8:30pm (Local) 10 September @ Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney.
42 
Tries: Will Hopoate 48min, Brett Stewart 57min, Anthony Watmough 63min, Brett Stewart 70min, Jamie Buhrer 74min, Will Hopoate 76min, Matt Ballin 79min.
Goals: Jamie Lyon 6/6, Michael Robertson 1/1 Attempt.
08 
Tries: Willie Tonga 27min.
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 2/2 Attempts.
CROWD: 13,972.
NRLTweet Game Summary: Manly get a scare early but then obliterate the Cowboys in the 2nd half, scoring 42 unanswered points to win 42-8 at the SFS.
More Game Analysis from Matt and Warrick on the Episode 83 Podcast.
Injuries: Cory Paterson (Neck)
Final Teams...
MAN: B Stewart, Robertson, Lyon (c), Matai, Hopoate, Foran, Cherry-Evans, Galuvao, Ballin, Kite, Watmough, T Williams, Rodney. Bench: Mauro, Robinson, Buhrer, Rose.
NQL: Bowen, Graham, Tate, Tonga, Fai-Fai Loa, Thompson, Thurston (c), Scott (c), Segeyaro, Tamou, Cooper, Hall, Johnson. Bench: Payne, Bolton, A Sims, C Paterson.

2011 @NRLTweet Player of the Finals Votes
4 - Tony Williams, MAN
TBA
2 - Kieran Foran, MAN
TBA
1 - Daly Cherry-Evans, MAN
TBA
SEA EAGLES

COWBOYS
How close were our Game Plans?
Game Plan Points (outside of the obvious - make minimal mistakes, complete sets etc)
  • Slow the play the ball down. Has been the strength of the team all year but minus two of the best exponents in Jason King and Glenn Stewart - we need to find time for our defensive line and keep the game at our pace.
  • Spot Johnathan Thurston in defence. Obvious one but he's not a great defender at the best of times and this has to be exploited.
  • Focus on Brent Tate and Willie Tonga. When they get the ball Tonga and Tate rarely pass - so hit them hard and hit them early. Make North Queensland beat us with the cut out pass to the wingers.
  • Make Matthew Scott defend a lot in the opening 25 minutes. He's their forward leader - but rarely has a high tackle count. Make him work.
  • North Queensland's left edge defence is susceptible so give our right edge lots of early ball. At the same time Kieran Foran needs to play both sides of the field to cover for the loss of Glenn Stewart's playmaking on the right.
  • Rotate Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson and Will Hopoate at fullback to manage Brett Stewart's knee. Especially in defence.
  • Play our brand of footy - be expansive and stick to what has worked all year - pure footy. Don't clam up. 
Game Plan Points (outside of the obvious - make minimal mistakes, complete sets etc)
  • Roll up the middle behind Matthew Scott. With no Jason King or Glenn Stewart - our forward pack must take the fight to Manly up the middle and win the ruck.
  • Choose the right choice of runner on the edges. Sometimes this year the Cowboys have had almost too many options on the edges for their playmakers to choose to give the ball too. Making the right decision will be crucial to test Manly's defence.
  • Speed up the play the ball. Manly like to slow it down so wriggle like a worm in the play the ball and get some early penalties to make them change their style.
  • Make Kieran Foran pay for taking the ball to the line. He can still hurt us that way but the more he gets hit - the better.
  • Pressure Daly Cherry-Evans' kicking game. The rookie has been sensational this year but he has yet to play a game under this kind of pressure. Add to that by making every kick he makes be done so under pressure. But watch his show and go.
  • Jamie Lyon is Manly's best option on the right but if you don't pinch in defence he resorts to a kick along the ground far too often. Make him beat you, don't open anything up for him and he'll kick.
  • Use the cut-out pass to the wingers. Willie Tonga and Brent Tate hog the ball a little too much so make them into decoys.
  • Get the ball into Johnathan Thurston and Matthew Bowen's hands as much as possible. Ray Thompson and Aaron Payne need to be complimentary in the Finals - rather than playmakers.
  • Leave nothing in the tank. Finished 7th so this is do or die.
Toyota Cup:
 28 -12 
Sharks will play Roosters in Week 2, Bulldogs take on the Storm in Week 2.

]-[ ]-[ ]-[
SUNDAY AFTERNOON FOOTBALL
4:05pm (Local) 11 September @ AAMI Park, Melbourne.
18 
Tries: Matthew Duffie 14min, Beau Champion 28min, Sika Manu 36min.
Goals: Cameron Smith 3/4 Attempts.
08 
Tries: Kurt Gidley 64min, Akuila Uate 67min.
Goals: Kurt Gidley 0/2 Attempts.
CROWD: 14,800.
NRLTweet Game Summary: Melbourne take control of their Semi Final with Newcastle early but let Knights back into it late. Storm finish 18-8 winners at AAMI Park.
More Game Analysis from Matt and Warrick on the Episode 83 Podcast.
Injuries: Rory Kostjasyn (Hammy - late withdrawal)
GAME STATS
Final Teams...
MEL: Slater, Duffie, Nielsen, Champion, Quinn, Widdop, Cronk, Bromwich, Smith (c), Norrie, Proctor, Manu, Lowrie. Bench: Hinchcliffe, Woolnough, Lowe, Vea.
NEW: Gidley (c), McManus, Sa'u, MacDougall, Uate, Stig, Mullen, Tuimavave, De Gois, Kaufusi, Houston, Costigan, Edwards. Bench: Southern, Fa'aoso, Taufua, Taia.

2011 @NRLTweet Player of the Finals Votes
4 - Billy Slater, MEL
TBA
2 - Cameron Smith, MEL
TBA
1 - Bryan Norrie, MEL
TBA
STORM

KNIGHTS
|-| |-| |-|
How close were our Game Plans?
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.
Toyota Cup:
26 - 10 

Storm will play the Bulldogs in Week 2, Roosters will play the Sharks in Week 2.


]-[ ]-[ ]-[
FANTASY LEAGUE SCORE UPDATE
FINALS PHASE LEADERBOARD (QF-EF-PF-GF)
Did you enter NOT The Footy Show's Fantasy League for the Finals?
If you did - you're in the running for one of these t-shirts in the team of your choice.
]-[ ]-[ ]-[

NOT The Footy Show Episode 82
Qualifying Finals Podcast Preview
Released September 8, 2011. 


NOT The Footy Show Episode 81
- Player of the Year Awards Show Released September 6, 2011 -

Right Click Save Target As This Link if you don't have iTunes.
Benji Marshall wins the 2011 NRL Tweet Player of the Year Award. Join Nic, Russ and Waz to find out who he beat for the top prize and will the Dally M's copy our results 24 hours later (they didn't with Billy Slater taking out the prize)?
Plus we hand out the Rookie of the Year, Representative Player of the Year, Team of the Year, Mr Consistency and NRL Game Breaker Awards.
Plus a quick Qualifying Finals Preview.
We will review Round 26 of the 2011 NRL Premiership on Thursday and give you our expanded thoughts on the first week of the Finals in Episode 82 with guests Andy Raymond, Matt Duncan, DC Chapman and Maria Tsialis.
]-[ ]-[ ]-[
2011 TIPPING TIPS:
This year not only do you get The NRL Tweet's Tips each week but the whole NOT The Footy Show team will have their picks listed by Thursday so you can back a smoky or a favourite by seeing who we all picked (or didn't pick). Truthfully there is no perfect formula but here's a vital tip to help you cope with the copious amounts of NRL Tipping Comp's
@NRLTWEET's 2011 TIPPING RECORD 
TOTAL AFTER 26 ROUNDS - 115/192 @ 59.9%
The NRL Tweet finished with 125 correct tips from 192 Games in 2010 at a strike rate of 65%.

QUALIFYING FINALS SELECTIONS
All Tipsters need to tip with the start/line in mind. So if a team is +7.5 then if they pick the other team, that side must win by 8 points or more to get the tip correct (if it is +2.0 then the other side must win by 3 points). Starts for each game are based on Thursday's Line - as listed in the matchups at the top of the preview.
Warrick Nicolson, The NRL Tweet + NTFS Host
Tigers +2.0
Warriors +2.5
Cowboys +7.5
Knights +10.5
2/4 | FINALS 2/4
| SEASON 115/192
Nic McInerney, NTFS Co-Host
Dragons -2.0
Broncos -2.5
Cowboys +7.5
Storm -10.5
1/4 | FINALS 1/4
| SEASON 134/192
Tigers +2.0
Broncos -2.5
Cowboys +7.5
Knights +10.5
3/4 | FINALS 3/4
| SEASON 120/192
DC Chapman, NTFS Co-Host
Tigers +2.0
Broncos -2.5
Cowboys +7.5
Storm -10.5
2/4 | FINALS 2/4
| SEASON 127/192
Maria Tsialis, Big League Magazine
Tigers +2.0
Warriors +2.5
Cowboys +7.5
Storm -10.5
1/4 | FINALS 1/4
| SEASON 112/192
Andy Raymond, Fox Sports Commentator
To Come...
| SEASON 112/192
Eyes, The Kid Who Sees All
Tigers +2.0
Warriors +2.5
Cowboys +7.5
Knights +10.5
2/4 | FINALS 2/4
| SEASON 99/192
]-[ The winner of NOT The Footy Show's Tipping Competition is Steven Benham and he has won an Official Steeden Match ball.
TIPS DONE, GO OUT AND ENJOY THE SEMI FINAL FOOTY!
]-[ ]-[ ]-[

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