Tuesday 6 September 2022

And then there were 8... 2022 NRL Finals Week 1 Teams and Schedule

Published September 6, 2022
Eight are gone, and eight remain in the race for the 2022 NRL Premiership.
Penrith have proven themselves to be the best team throughout the regular season, finishing with 20 wins and just 4 losses in 24 starts, that's 4 points clear of Cronulla in 2nd and North Queensland in 3rd - who both had records of 18-6 and 17-7 respectively. 
Parramatta claimed 4th spot with a Round 25 win over Melbourne to finish 16-8, meaning the Storm (15-9) dropped to 5th. Then we have Easts in 6th behind the Storm on differential after also being 15-9 and Souths (14-10) in 7th, with Canberra (14-10) in 8th on differential as well.
This left Brisbane (13-11) on the outside looking in despite being 2 games over .500 - it's the first time a team with (a legitimate) winning record has missed the Top 8 since 1999 when Canberra finished 9th with a record of 13-10-1 in a 17 team competition of 24 games each.
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Here is how the final 2022 NRL Ladder looked after 25 Rounds.

Finals Week 1 Schedule

So we are opening the 2022 NRL Finals Series at Penrith on Friday night, then Saturday night features games in Melbourne and Cronulla, before the new SFS gets another rendition of Eastern Suburbs v South Sydney on Sunday afternoon. 
As far as the schedule goes, the NRL has done the job its television overlords wanted so there's no point trying to poke holes in it... although Canberra have been drawn the shortest time between Round 25 and Finals Week 1 (along with Cronulla - 6 days) there really isn't another time frame the NRL could have scheduled the Storm-Raiders match as they had to pick Penrith v Parramatta for Friday night and that meant they couldn't (well shouldn't) schedule two Sydney games back to back on Saturday. The downside is Melbourne Storm fans will have to make a quick dash to the MCG from AAMI Park (which is doable) after their game if they also go for Collingwood or simply love AFL Finals.
Also, Canberra finished 8th so you play where you get told to Ricky.

NOT The Footy Show's Week 1 Tips

The teams have now been named and here are NOT The Footy Show's Tips for each Semi Final from Episode 254 listen to the NRL Finals Week 1 Preview Podcast here.

Friday 7:50pm at Penrith

Coxsmith says: Penrith by 10
Waz says: Penrith by 6
Saturday 5:40pm at Melbourne
Coxsmith says: Melbourne by 6* (assuming Hughes plays)
Waz says: Canberra by 2
Saturday 7:50pm at Cronulla
Coxsmith says: Cronulla by 10
Waz says: Cronulla by 4
Sunday 4:05pm at Sydney
Coxsmith says: Easts by 6
Waz says: Easts by 2
Good luck to your team if you are still in the running for the Premiership and if they aren't... at least the cricket starts soon.
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