Sunday 6 October 2013

#NRLGF Clive Churchill Medal Market: Which Rooster or Sea Eagle actually has a chance to win?


2013 NRL Premiership Grand Final

By W D Nicolson - October 6, 2013

The actual Clive Churchill Medal market and our market of actual contenders per traditional picks

 Out NOW!
The Clive Churchill Medal for the Best Player in the Grand Final has traditionally been a far better judged award than it's regular season brother - the Dally M - but it still tends to follow the same science to a degree... big name player who has a half decent game, is going to beat out a lesser known player who has an outstanding one.

But generally you can't argue too strongly with a one game award like this, unlike the way this year's (and previous years) Dally M votes unfolded at the back end of the season however... okay, let's stick with the Clive Churchill talk for now.

The CCM was introduced in 1986 and Peter Sterling won the inaugural award in Parramatta's 4-2 win over Canterbury

Take a look at the winners and you'll note there's been winners from halfback, five-eighth, lock, prop, second row, hooker and fullback... but no love at all for centres and wingers.

Is this the year Jamie Lyon or Michael Jennings buck the centre snub? Or will Roger Tuivasa-Sheck or Jorge Taufua make another huge case for a winger to get the nod but ultimately they won't win after the incredibly snubbings of Michael Robertson in 2008 and Jason Nightingale in 2010?

Cronk won in 2012 - who wins in 2013?
Well Lyon and Jennings have some chance... if the game has some serious points, otherwise it's looming as either a half/five-eighth, a backrower or maybe a prop to get the award this year.

This year we ran The @NRLTweet Player of the Year Awards for the 4th straight season - won by Johnathan Thurston, and for the 2nd year The @NRLTweet Player of the Finals will be awarded (Voting 4-2-1 x 3 voters in Weeks 1-3) - with the Grand Final Voting panel as follows - all handing out 5-3-2-1 Votes, with the Man of the Match capable of winning the Player of the Finals gong - given they can get up to 25 votes from the Grand Final alone.

The Finals Leaderboard is currently silent as to not influence the GF Voters on GF day, but all the votes and final leaderboard can be found via #NRLTweetPlayerofFinals tag after the game.
@NRLTweet Player of the Finals Award Voters:
| Ben Hoese @gunnermcdagget Matthew Duncan @mrpeninsula Greg Delaney @gregdelaney84 Matt Spillane @devonhead Warrick Nicolson @NRLTweet |
Track live Grand Final votes via #NRLTweetPlayerofFinals - Announcing the Man of the Match and Player of the Finals after full-time and voting 5-3-2-1.

Whoever wins our Player of the Finals (and is announced as the Man of the Match) does not necessarily mean they'll win the Clive Churchill Medal though... but it'll be a good guide as to who maybe should have won it.

Here is our breakdown of the Grand Final players - in order - of who we think will be awarded the Clive Churchill Medal because A. They are great players, B. They could play great in this game and C. The Australian selectors love them - which is more important than A and B.

  1. Daly CHERRY-EVANS, Manly$6
    He'll dictate the kicking game, make 20+ tackles, set up a try or two and run the ball a lot. He's a bit Allan Langer-esque but with a long kicking game... so I think it is time to get his CCM.
  2. Sonny Bill WILLIAMS, Roosters | $6
    We all know how good he is... if he makes a difference in a significant Roosters win - he gets it ahead of the next guy on this list.
  3. James MALONEY, Roosters | $7
    I think he's been fantastic this Finals Series - but he probably needs a try and a try assist or two to edge out SBW if the Chooks win this by 7+. Perfect day with the boot - at goal and in general play will help his cause.
  4. Jamie LYON, Sea Eagles | $11
    Everybody loves Jamie these days... may not play rep footy anymore but the Australian Selectors won't hesitate to give him the CCM if Manly score all their points down the right and he's on song with his kicking boot. Playing great don't get me wrong but certainly a 'favourite'.
  5. Kieran FORAN, Sea Eagles | $9
    When he's on - Manly are on. His kick-chase is without pier in the game and his tenacity makes good things happen. When Manly need a lift he'll provide it... sets up two tries and he's a chance. But needs a monumental game to beat out the guys ahead of him on reputation.
  6. Mitchell PEARCE, Roosters | $11
    Just can't see it... then again I'm not selecting the NSW team either. Had a strong running game v Newcastle so he's playing well but is he the calibre of player to walk away with a CCM in a team he shares with SBW and Maloney and JWH etc? Just don't see it sorry.
  7. Jared WAEREA-HARGREAVES, Roosters | $13
    If the game is played almost exclusively in the middle like the Roosters will want to - especially in the opening 30 minutes - JWH can make a compelling case. He tops 20 tackles and say 12 runs for 120m in his opening stint and the stats junkies on the judging panel will have to take notice... If it's 12-10 or very low scoring and his numbers are huge by fulltime - he can win it.
  8. Brett STEWART, Sea Eagles | $17
    Has made Manly a premiership threat in the back end of the year when able to run... scores a couple of trademark Snake tries and he can put his name up in lights... certainly has earned the tag as an indispensable piece of the Manly puzzle this year (and Peta Hiku has been a fantastic replacement).
  9. Anthony WATMOUGH, Sea Eagles | $17
    Soldier has bung knees but will try and play 80 minutes again... if he was fully fit he might walk away with this award given his value at key moments but I'm struggling to believe he'll be able to have a huge impact with his knee problems. Still... can play.
  10. Glenn STEWART, Sea Eagles | $11
    Won it in 2011 and played great, not quite up to speed this year but has shown glimpses and that's all you need in a Grand Final with a good reputation in big games. Doubt he'll win it over DCE or Lyon if the Manly right edge goes nuts - so that price is not good value.
  11. Michael JENNINGS, Roosters | $34
    Needs a BIG Roosters win to get into the conversation and probably the first or second try (and multiple tries to boot). His best chance of winning beyond that is to totally shut down Lyon's attacking game and carve up the Manly centre when the Roosters have the pill... tall ask but one good judge I know actually thinks he's a BIG chance.
  12. Jake FRIEND, Roosters | $11
    Sorry Jake... hookers don't win this unless they are unbelievable on Grand Final day and set up some tries as well... just can't see it. Terrible odds as well that short.
  13. Matt BALLIN, Sea Eagles | $21
    Ditto for Matt... may make a Grand Final record for tackles (beating Nathan Hindmarsh's 60-odd in 2009) but he needs more than his machine like defence to enter the equation.
  14. Boyd CORDNER, Roosters | $26
    While he may struggle with the pace of the game after so long out - and physically he may not be up to it after a bad ankle sprain - you can never count out a player with plenty of ability and the fairytale comeback story... Don't think it can happen, but can't rule him out for the CCM.
  15. Any of the wingers... if life was fair after you scored a hat-trick you should be considered but likely won't. Taufua | $41, Tuivasa-Sheck $41, Tupou | $51, Williams $51.
  16. But really stop the fight - no other player is getting this award.
    Sorry Brenton Lawrence | $34, Sam Moa $34 and Brent Kite | $34, sorry Steve Matai | $34 and Anthony Minichiello | $21, sorry bench players (ranging from Buhrer | $41 to Rose/Gower at | $151 , sorry Aidan Guerra | $26, Justin Horo | $26 and Frank-Paul Nu'uausala | $41 and sorry Shaun Kenny-Dowall | $51 - you've got the least hope of I reckon anyone... even if you play superbly, they won't give it to a centre without the profile of a Lyon or Jennings.

My pick is DCE, narrowly ahead of Kieran Foran - who I think might be the most influential player on the field but I've got Manly winning 17-16 via a late regulation or extra time field goal from DCE - so he'll win the CCM if he kicks the winning point.

 Out NOW!
If you want value as a punter - JWH and Watmough represent the best chances in the forwards at odds, while Lyon even at $11 might be the sneaky pick given everyone loves Jamie these days. Brett Stewart isn't bad value at $17, and while Tupou might have a field day over Williams in the air so his $51 is crazy but it'll go to the guy kicking the ball people...

If you want our Preview and other predictions for Grand Final Day - go here - or simply keep scrolling.

Make sure you take an hour out of your day to listen to our Grand Final Podcast with a host of interviews with Manly players and James Maloney from the Roosters.

But most of all - enjoy what is shaping up as potentially the best Grand Final since 2006.

Who is your Clive Churchill Medallist?  

Let us know by commenting below or replying on Twitter.

Subscribe to the NOT The Footy Show Podcast on iTunes

So our Tips for the Grand Final are below and after crowning Johnathan Thurston as the @NRLTweet Player of the Year for 2013 - we brought back the @NRLTweet Player of the Finals Award - won by Cooper Cronk last year.

You can track Grand Final Votes for #NRLTweetPlayerofFinals and Voting Allocation is below (5 Voters for the Grand Final - all using 4-2-1 Votes) - with the chance of the Clive Churchill Medallist (as chosen by our voters) still a chance of taking out the entire playoff series gong - if he can grab all 20 votes.

Latest of Late Mail and Grand Finals Tips below!

For our analysis of Tuesday team selections for the Grand Final - click here.

Thursday Odds Courtesy of Sportingbet | NRL GAME STATS

Sunday 7:20pm at ANZ Stadium
#1 ROOSTERS $1.67 v $2.25 #4 SEA EAGLES
FOOTYTAB: MAN +3.5 | NRL Match Stats | Grand Final Tuesday Team Analysis
@NRLTweet Player of the Finals Award Voters:
| Ben Hoese @gunnermcdagget Matthew Duncan @mrpeninsula Greg Delaney @gregdelaney84 Matt Spillane @devonhead Warrick Nicolson @NRLTweet |
Track live Grand Final votes via #NRLTweetPlayerofFinals - Announcing the Man of the Match and Player of the Finals after full-time.
Many times this season you would have sat down and looked at two teams that appear evenly matched and decide on your pick considering the following factors:
 Out NOW!

Which team has the best Spine?
If like me, you believe that being able to create points it the greatest asset a team's spine has going for it in big games - you'll need to sport some serious weapons in the #1, #6, #7 and #9 jerseys and ladies and gents... Manly have the edge here. 
Not by a lot mind you, but come fulltime (or golden point fulltime) on Sunday night - the Brett Stewart/Kieran Foran/Daly Cherry-Evans/Matt Ballin combo gets my backing against the Anthony Minichiello/James Maloney/Mitchell Pearce/Jake Friend mix.
I'll always take a ball playing playmaker over one that relies on the kick... and Foran might be the best of the lot. That being said I think Maloney is playing out of his skin at the moment, but Foran and DCE get my vote over Maloney and Pearce, Ballin and Friend cancel each other out (both do their jobs superbly), while I'll take Brett Stewart's big play ability over Minichiello's any day of the week... but I might lean towards Mini on the reliable hamstrings front.
Which team has the best Strikeweapons?
Michael Jennings was the standout three-quarter in the Preliminary Finals. He'll turn a half chance into points and his combo with Maloney is the trump card the Chooks have vs Jamie Lyon's side of the field. Then there's the quality on Easts' wings - with Daniel Tupou and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck far better in the air than the David Williams/Jorge Taufua pair and exposing this must be at least attempted by the Chooks. Shaun Kenny-Dowall will either be brilliant or a passenger and in the pack the Chooks have more potency in terms of breaking tackles than Manly's forwards.
But Manly have the best strikeweapons all up - Taufua is a beast if he ever gets the ball from Steve Matai (who is Manly's SKD equivalent - great or a liability), while we all know Lyon and Williams can make beautiful music together. Then there's Brett Stewart who can turn half chances into points better than almost anyone...
Then there's SBW... he's a freak, but I still JUST lean towards Manly because their playmakers are better at creating half chances for their strikeweapons. But it is close.
Which team has the best Pack?
It's the Roosters and it might be a more pronounced advantage if Boyd Cordner and Luke O'Donnell replace Dylan Napa and Isaac Liu come gameday. Manly's group is mighty good but it isn't as dominant - and the ability of Anthony Watmough to play 80 minutes with a bung knee makes it tough for him to match what SBW can bring to the table. Glenn Stewart will play the creative role but SBW v Justin Horo is matchup I love if I'm the Roosters because as good as Horo has been - he's looked tired in the last few weeks and SBW is going to test him deluxe on Sunday. And depth wise the interchangeable Mitchell Aubusson, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Aidan Guerra and probably Boyd Cordner - the Roosters just look better equipped for a war of attrition between the backrows.
Manly's starting props are good enough with Brenton Lawrence and Brent Kite and their backup is solid with converted backrower Jamie Buhrer and George Rose playing very well lately. But the Roosters counter with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves in career best form, Sam Moa simply doing his job and then either O'Donnell and Liu/Napa will come on for their stint and do what their coach asks of them - keep the momentum going that the starters have produced.
That's the big edge for the Roosters - bar a few games late in the season - their bench props have been sensational and though Rose and Buhrer did a great job in recent weeks - you have to lean Roosters to win the middle of the field battle. That said...
Which team has the best Tactics?
Here is where Manly can beat the Chooks... and Easts can expose Manly.
Biggest problem for Manly in these clashes against the Roosters has been taking their chances - they've scored 4, 12 and 0 points in their 3 games this season but have had PLENTY of chances and field position in all 3 games. But the simple fact is - they lost all 3 games and didn't take their chances. So the Manly plan will be hold the Chooks as much as they can in the middle, give Lyon and Matai early ball and TAKE THEIR CHANCES.
The Roosters will roll with the same approach to their game all year - use their roll through the middle off the back of Jake Friend's judgement and give Maloney and Pearce the green light to make a quick decision on which play to run off a fast play the ball. Throw in plenty of ball to SBW and defend like you care more than the other team and the game plan has delivered a Minor Premiership and a Grand Final appearance...
If I had the coaching hat on for both teams these would be key parts of the game plan I'd add/change:
My Game Plan For Easts - make Matt Ballin tackle, tackle, tackle... he's a machine but he's also the key to Foran and DCE getting clean crisp ball time after time, make him work work work and Manly will find it hard to be as clinical in possession if their physical freak starts to break down from fatigue at the end of each half. Get SBW the ball as much as he wants it and then some... kick, kick and kick to expose Williams/Taufua in the air.
My Game Plan for Manly - as Newcastle planned last week, TARGET Maloney/Jennings and Pearce/Kenny-Dowall on the edge and get ready for the missed tackle induced opportunity. Foran in particular has a huge role to expose the Pearce/SKD combo outside SBW. Oh... and take your chances.
Just pick a winner already... 
Okay... go with Manly. This could go to Extra Time but I think Manly might have to remember how to kick a field goal to win this. I'll be barracking for the Chooks (hey - it's Manly!) but Manly to win as they take their chances to overcome the 1st try to Tupou (and then watch the Chooks not kick for him again - a tactic teams seem to adopt for some inconceivable reason when a big play works) and lead 10-4 at halftime. The Chooks score to tie things up with 10 minutes left but in Extra Time or regulation - a DCE field goal decides the game.
Sea Eagles by 1 point | MANLY 17-16
1st Tryscorer: Daniel Tupou, Roosters
Clive Churchill Medallist: Daly Cherry-Evans (will get it for the match-winning field goal, though I think Kieran Foran will be the best player on the field).
Easts - To come... sounds like Cordner and O'Donnell are every chance. Liu and Napa would likely miss out.
Manly - To come... Hiku on the bench for Gower seems to make some sense if Gower is going to barely play any minutes anyway. Galuvao is not playing.
PRE-GAME UPDATE: To come Sunday 6pm but Cordner and O'Donnell seem likely, while Gower may get the call for the Sea Eagles ahead of Hiku.
Grand Final Predictions for Lower Grades: 

NYC Panthers v Warriors: I really like the Panthers in the Holden Cup - they defend (unlike most other NYC teams) and the Warriors are flaky... go the Panthers 13+.
NSW Cup Cronulla v Windsor: In NSW Cup the Sharks have been a class above everyone else and while Windsor have plenty of NRL talent on show - Cronulla should win as they have plenty of their own and it has been playing together for longer this season. Sharks 1-12.
What are your tips for the Grand Final?  

Let us know by commenting below or replying on Twitter.
Week 1 Results:
QF1: SOU 12 MEL 22 - Storm by 10 | WRONG, Souths 20-10
QF2: CRO 25 NQL 18 - Sharks by 7 | CORRECT, Sharks 20-18
QF3: SYD 20 MAN 16 - Roosters by 4 | CORRECT + MARGIN, Roosters 4-0
QF4: CBY 12 NEW 19 - Knights by 7 | CORRECT, Knights 22-6.
Week 2 Results:
EF1: MAN 24 CRO 6 - Sea Eagles by 18 | CORRECT, Manly 24-18
EF2: MEL 18 NEW 10 - Storm by 8 | WRONG, Knights 18-16
Week 3 Predictions:
Preliminary Final 1: SOU 20 MAN 16 - Rabbitohs by 4 WRONG, Sea Eagles 30-20
Preliminary Final 2: SYD 24 NEW 10 - Roosters by 14 | CORRECT, Roosters 40-14
Grand Final Predictions:
Grand Final NRL: Manly 17 Easts 16 - Sea Eagles by 1
Grand Final NYCPenrith 34 Warriors 14 - Panthers by 20
Grand Final NSW Cup: Cronulla 28 Windsor 22 - Sharks by 6
Did you read our 2013 Season Preview?
Click a Logo for how we saw your team's chances in the pre-season: