The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Report - Finals week 3, 2013
After somehow surviving the cage fight and the shark attack, our fortress heroes re fuelled for one more battle, with the unthinkable resting heavily on the bodies and minds of many both north and south. What would transpire?
Brett Stewart: Is there no finer sight in all our football dreams than seeing Brett run out in the no. 1 jersey? Awful starts don't matter to us when you have champions to turn a game, and in no time Brett put his mercurial stamp on this one with his first half try, followed up by his magically timed ball just 5 mins into the 2nd half to feed Matty Ballin down the bunny hole. Oh what a legend.
Jorge Taufua: Barnstorming, blockbusting cracker of a game. 15 runs for 160 smashing metres. And he even cracked a smile. Thank you Jorge.
Steve Matai: Not bad having the 2nd best centre in the comp when the one on the other side is the best, and when the customary Stevie going down for the count moment doesn't even take place you know it's a magical night.
Jamie Lyon: And now let's just pause for a moment and go to dictionary online. GENIUS: A natural ability or capacity; strong inclination: a special genius for leadership. Gift, talent, aptitude, faculty, endowment, predilection; penchant, knack, bent, flair, wizardry. The captains try in the 58th minute pure all of the above.
David Williams: Sometimes a single moment can define an entire game, and here it was tonight in the 62nd minute. Receiving an unexpected miracle ball from DCE, Wolfie stunned the bunnies with a millimetre perfect raid of the burrow to steal the golden egg and swallow it whole. How sweet it tasted.
Kieran Foran: Another sensational performance from the man of steel. Every touch of the ball 10/10 quality. Every tackle 10/10 commitment. And the quiet, brilliantly assured confidence of a 10 year veteran.
Daly Cherry-Evans: The other half of the best halves combo in the game once again sensational. Is it possible to have so much calm, measured experience in one so young? Apparently it is. God love the kid and his infectious smile that will lead a generation of backyard dreams into future Sea Eagles heroes.
Glenn Stewart: If ever adversity was stared in the face and defeated it was THAT 20th minute left footed (no less) grubber to Brett. It's been a long season comeback but the brothers Stewart have no equal. The tackle on report? A little sloppy but it was simply a routine tackle on a player sliding low. Nothing more than a penalty for mine, but absolute worst case a grade one at the very most.
Justin Horo: Is it possible to STILL be the unsung hero after 26 rounds and 3 finals? Somehow it seems it is, but nobody is complaining.
Anthony Watmough: The infamous sign reads Choc Rocks. And indeed he does. Yet another 14 runs, 98 metres, but most significantly of all tonight, 38 bruising tackles to nullify the opposition. Russ has the cash but he can't buy the experience.
Brenton Lawrence: 13 runs, 147 metres, 38 tackles. Sam Burgess is very good, but Brenton showed he was quite simply the best prop on the field, not just physically, but with his attitude of complete positivity.
Matt Ballin: Words fail the machine that is Matty Ballin. Actually that's what I wrote last week, and could continue to write every single week, every single season. So aptly crowned with the MOM honours. Rest well Matty, one more 50 tackle GF golden reward awaits.
Brent Kite: The Landcruiser has one destination on the sat nav before the redirection to the mountains. Grand Final winner. Nothing is going to block that path.
Richie Fa-aoso: After surviving the 13th minute knock out blow against the Roosters, so desperately unlucky to once again be floored and whisked to hospital just 5 mins into tonights game. Every finger and toe are crossed Richie gets up for the count again to take his place next week.
Jamie Buhrer: Ran out to the playground and took on the schoolyard bullies twice his size, and never took a backward step. Let's hope that knee is ok.
Tom Symonds: I know, I know, I've made my point over and over, but just maybe that 72nd inspired charge down adds to my argument that Big Red is our greatest hidden Beaver asset. This kid can, and will, play a massive part in premiership no. 9.
George Rose: No player more loved. Desperately unlucky not to score what would have been a game changing first half try, but simply went back into the trenches and kept throwing the pie shop at the Burgess butchery.
A pack who refuse to take a backwards step.
A no. 9 who tackles steam trains.
A halves combo with no equal in youthful brilliance.
A back line who are simply the envy of all and the best in the business crowned by the mercurial wizardry that is Brett Stewart.
Some teams have the ingredients of defensive muscle, others rely on their spice in attack, but we are blessed with that rarest of deliciously perfect combinations in one golden recipe, led by the Masterchef Toov's.
(And a quick word about the refs, did anyone even notice them? Nope, and ain't that the good way it should be).
That start. Wow. Could it have been any worse? The crippling 14-0 deficit would have defeated any other team in the comp, but this my friends is NOT any other team.
The look on the face of every Souths player, their fans, and big Russ leaning on the balcony said one thing only. STUNNED.
Souths are a great team, and they've had an amazing season, but you can't buy guts and experience, and it must be a truly awful, bitter, ugly taste in their mouths to know they froze at the altar.
The week one final was the game that in theory stood as our premiership decider. Winning that and earning the golden prize of the week off meant everything, and that's of course why we sacrificed body and soul for 80 bleeding minutes that night.
To have come up empty, after no less than the most truly bizarre 70 minute scoreless deadlock, was a brutally tough loss to take. Word has it the Roosters players said they had never been so sore after a game, but they of course headed for the spa, while we headed back to the SFS to face the week two Shark attack. There was no hiding how low our fuel tanks were trying to back up a week later, and we all know how fast the warning light was not just flashing, but screaming CODE RED just 30 minutes into that game.
However history will of course show we survived every mauling mental moment to claw our way to victory, and move on to have a vitally third crack at the giant Rabbits, a team who's pre game dressing room faces showed the sheer terror of expectation. The fear of what stood opposite them in a team who've been there, done that.
Yes they beat us twice in the season, but redemption is a very powerful word, and it bled maroon and white through our hearts and minds as we dared to dream it was possible.
It doesn't matter who we play next Sunday night, a resurgent Newcastle team who deserve to be reminded how much 1997 hurt, or a Roosters outfit who know how greatly 3 season losses including just a fortnight ago hurt. Every one of our players has the self belief, the team belief, the club belief, and the loyal fans belief that they simply cannot be broken or beaten. This is the sort of passion that brings tears of pride to all of our eyes.
This is the BELIEF that wins premierships.