A 2013 NRL Retrospective and Grand Final Preview

By Jack Brady

It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for.

Manly and Roosters fans nerves peak as their sides face off in the big one, fans of the 14 other clubs look forward to the season’s end – to the end the disappointment and heartache before looking towards 2014. While journalists are just happy they get their weekends back for the summer.

In one way or another, everyone is looking forward to today’s game, the 2013 NRL decider. Before we look at the game, the Brady Foray wanted to take a look back on the season that has been – in a retrospective look on our season previews.

How Brady Foray predicted it

How it actually finished

1st: Melbourne Storm

2nd: South Sydney Rabbitohs

3rd: Canterbury Bulldogs

4th: North Queensland Cowboys

5th: Manly-Waringah Sea Eagles

6th: Cronulla Sharks

7th: Newcastle Knights

8th: Canberra Raiders

9th: Sydney Roosters

10th: Brisbane Broncos

11th: Penrith Panthers

12th: Gold Coast Titans

13th: New Zealand Warriors

14th: Wests Tigers

15th: St. George Illawarra Dragons

16th: Parramatta Eels

1st: Sydney Roosters

2nd: South Sydney Rabbitohs

3rd: Melbourne Storm

4th: Manly-Waringah Sea Eagles

5th: Cronulla Sharks

6th: Canterbury Bulldogs

7th: Newcastle Knights

8th: North Queensland Cowboys

9th: Gold Coast Titans

10th: Penrith Panthers

11th: New Zealand Warriors

12th: Brisbane Broncos

13th: Canberra Raiders

14th: St. George Illawarra Dragons

15th: Wests Tigers

16th: Parramatta Eels

Let it be known that the Brady Foray correctly predicted the exact positions of South Sydney, Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels while managing to pick seven of the eight teams in the top eight. Otherwise, like most punters, we predicted pretty terribly.

Our main man and Brady Foray wildcard Erratic Eddy traveled a little better with his predictions however.

Eddy made the call that Lote Tuqiri should give it up, to not write the Panthers off in which they had a better than expected season and that Corey Parker would be a fantasy powerhouse (which is as easy as a prediction as saying Channel Nine love anything to do with Sonny-Bill Williams). Perhaps he is a psychic genius though, having told Blake Ferguson to pull his head in before a ball had even been kicked this season (obviously he didn’t) before stating that Manly’s exceptional signings in Horo, Gower and Lawrence were all brilliant – a proven fact with all three men playing in the NRL Grand Final today.

Yet Eddy can’t always be right. He stated that St. George’s Josh Drinkwater would be the rookie of the year, Albert Kelly would be a wasted signing and Tony Williams would be a one of the best signings of season 2013. All proved otherwise.

Above all this we have a Grand Final to talk about.

Grand Final Preview

The experienced and the entertainers, Watmough versus SBW, Cherry-Evans & Foran up against Pearce and Maloney, the old heads and captains Lyon and Minichiello contrast the livewires Jennings and the Stewart brothers – Manly versus the Roosters.

No matter what aspect you look at this game from, the mouthwatering possibilities are endless. It has been far too long since a Grand Final has lived up to expectations but today could prove the difference.

We are in for a cliffhanger from start to finish and at the end of 80 minutes one club will be lifting the Provan-Summons Trophy as the 2013 premiership winners.

How They Line Up:

Manly-Waringah Sea Eagles: 1- Brett Stewart, 2- Jorge Taufua, 3- Jamie Lyon (C), 4- Steve Matai, 5- David Williams, 6- Kieran Foran, 7- Daly Cherry-Evans, 8- Brenton Lawrence, 9- Matt Ballin, 10- Brent Kite, 11- Anthony Watmough, 12- Justin Horo, 13- Glenn Stewart. Interchange: 14- David Gower, 15- Jamie Buhrer, 16- Tom Symonds, 17- George Rose, 18- James Hasson, 19- Peta Hiku.

Sydney Roosters: 1- Anthony Minichiello (C), 2- Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 3- Michael Jennings, 4- Shaun Kenny-Dowell, 5- Daniel Tupou, 6- James Maloney, 7- Mitchell Pearce, 8- Jared Warea-Hargreaves, 9- Jake Friend, 10- Sam Moa, 11- Aiden Guerra, 12- Sonny-Bill Williams, 13- Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Interchange: 14- Daniel Mortimer, 15- Mitchell Aubusson, 16- Issac Liu, 17- Dylan Napa.

Beauty and the Beast… Despite not being named, definitely expect young up starter and future Roosters captain, Boyd Cordner, and hardened veteran, Luke O’Donnell, to be playing on Sunday night. Cordner, who will be looking to cap off a stellar year that saw him play for New South Wales in State of Origin alongside being the recipient of Dally M Second Rower of the Year, will be an undoubtedly welcomed inclusion into a Roosters side searching for their first premiership since 2002. Moreover, what more could you want then former Australian and NSW forward Luke O’Donnell. When he’s not being suspended by the NRL judiciary, O’Donnell has proven his worth this season having come back from England. Expect Cordner and O’Donnell to leave their mark on this game once it is all said and done.

Brothers Unite… It was no surprise when Manly were down 14-0 last weekend against Souths with their backs against the wall that the Stewart brothers combined to put the first try on the board and instigate a comeback that brings us to today. Forget the Burgesses, the Stewart brothers are the best set of brothers in the modern day game, and daresay the best since the Johns brothers plied their worth for the Knights. Alongside the calming influence of Captain Jamie Lyon, the Stewart brothers will need to be on song if Manly are to secure their third premiership in six years.

One Man Show… The Roosters were a different side when Sonny Bill Williams went off against the Newcastle Knights last weekend. Up 34-4, the Roosters had no answer to a late Knights resurgence and a Joey Leulia brace of tries. Sonny-Bill needs to be on for the eighty minutes if the Roosters are going to outmuscle the big Manly forward-pack. Sonny Bill has made ridiculous inroads in most games he’s played this season. Sonny Bill Williams is that good and with him potentially leaving, this could be the Roosters last legitimate chance of premiership glory for quite a while.

All Cherries… Since Queensland won their eighth straight series one player has been playing like a man possessed. In a game where five surnames are hyphened, only one will stand tall in the maroon and white colours and potentially led Manly to premiership success. Something he did in his debut season. Daly Cherry-Evans is this man. Deservingly in the top two lines of betting for Clive Churchill Medal, Cherry-Evans has lead the side from the forefront the entire season and must continue to do so this game. Third in Dally M polling after 26 rounds, Cherry-Evans is the main man for Manly in their quest for another premiership.

Tip… Arguably, the Roosters have had the easiest road out of any club to a Grand Final in a long time. Regardless of their 4-0 victory over Manly three weeks ago, the Roosters have since had the week off and taken down an exhausted Newcastle Knights side coming out of two tough encounters. Alternatively, since the Roosters game, Manly have battled their way through draining games against Cronulla and a fast-starting South Sydney side. Roosters should win, if they don’t they would have well and truly choked. Manly are by far the more fatigued side coming into this game but don’t let it fool you into thinking that they will be easy pickings for the Roosters. Their experience will simply not allow it.

Manly by 4

Clive Churchill Medal: Daly Cherry-Evans

First Try Scorer: Brett Stewart or Aidan Guerra


The 2012 Brady Foray Sporting Awards

By Jack Brady

As we say goodbye to 2012, the Brady Foray though it would deliver some awards to those deserving in the realm of sport. To say adieu to 2012, please be enlightened and enjoy the inaugural Brady Foray Sporting Awards for 2012. Have a happy new year.

Messi celebrating his Brady Foray win

Best Sportsman of 2012

Lionel Messi. The FC Barcelona footballer, and arguably the greatest player in the world game at this point in time went further and beyond any footballer this year. Messi, having broken a forty-year old record of most goals scored in a calendar year, scoring 91 for his club and country along with the ridiculous albeit amazing skills that the man possesses deservingly wins best sportsman of 2012.

Runner Up: Usain Bolt

Notable Mentions: Michael Clarke, Cameron Smith, Novak Djokovic, Ryan Lochte

Best Sportswoman of 2012

Two women in two completely different sports, both of whom achieved amazing achievements in 2012. This award could not be split between Serena Williams and Missy Franklin. Serena Williams, after being dismantled in the first round of the French Open came back in true Serena style by winning Wimbledon, the US Open, Olympic Gold and Tennis’s player of the year. Not to be outdone, Missy Franklin became the second most successful Olympian of all-time after winning four gold and one bronze medal at the London Olympics before winning a further three gold medals at the World Championships. Congratulations ladies.

Notable Mentions: Sally Pearson, Anna Meares, Ellyse Perry

Best Female Newcomer

We may be bias when it comes to this award but we couldn’t deny Jessica Fox the “Brady Foray! Best Female Newcomer Award” for 2012.  Fox, in her debut Olympics, won Silver in the Canoe Slalom. The eighteen year old has plenty of Olympics up her sleeves and the illustrious Gold Medal could be very well achieved in future years. Go Jess, Go!

Runner Up: Katie Ledecky, Gabrielle Douglas

Best Male Newcomer

Best Male Newcomer: Adam Reynolds

Glory Glory to Adam Reynolds, the rookie halfback, whose presence in a usual struggling team, saw thousands of Rabbitohs fans screaming from the hilltops of Redfern with joy. In his debut season, Reynolds led South Sydney to their first finals appearance since 2007 and only their second finals appearance since 1989.  Reynolds, in the end, was the NRL’s leading point-scorer this season, the Dally M and RLPA Rookie of the Year medallist, if it wasn’t for a torn hamstring in the preliminary final that derailed his team’s chances against the Bulldogs, Reynolds could just as well have been an NRL premiership winner in 2012.

Runner Up: Roger Griffin III

The James Blunt “Goodbye My Lover” Award

Although wanting to play in the Ashes next year, Ricky Ponting knew his time was up, his last test scores signalling an end to an illustrious career. Ponting ends his career as second only to Sir Donald Bradman as Australia’s greatest cricket player.

Runner Up: Nathan Hindmarsh, Petero Civoniceva

Tell Me I Didn’t Just See That Award

Here I was, sitting on my couch gearing up for the final day of play of the English Premier League for another season. It was simple. If (and too many suggestions) when, Manchester City won against QPR, they would be crowned champions of the 2011-2012 season. But not all went to plan. By the time injury time came around, City were down 2-1. I quickly turn the channel to see that Manchester United had finished their season with a win, and for the time being were perched on top of the table. The stakes were higher than ever. Then, as if the gods had turned all their attention to Manchester, Edin Dzeko equals the scores in the 92nd minute. I sit on the edge of my lounge, nervous for the City boys. (Please note that I’m not even a City fan, I just hate Manchester United). Two minutes later I manage to wake up my entire household with my wild celebrations as I claimed witness to Sergio Aguerro snatching the victory and the glory of a title win from the hands of United with his goal in the 94th minute. I have never seen anything quite like it and probably will never again.

Runner Up: Triple H vs. Undertaker ‘End of an Era’ match at Wrestlemania 28

Notable Mentions: Joey Barton’s rampage, Greg Inglis’s ‘knock-on’ try, Ben Barba’s escapades, James Graham biting ears

Dud of the Year

The Brady Foray cannot go past Olympic swimmer, James Magnusson for the Dud of the Year. Hyped as a genuine Gold Medal contender at the London Games, Magnusson duded out with a single Silver and Bronze. While this anything to throw away, the way Magnusson carried himself on the post-swim interviews was atrocious. This contributed to his award of not living up to his potential in 2012.  Congratulations and see you in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Jimmy (when swimming becomes relevant once again).

Notable Mentions: New Zealand Warriors, Liverpool F.C., Australian Olympic Swimming Team, England’s Euro2012 Campaign, Ricky Hatton

Bernard Tomic. Wanker of the Year…and probably many years to come

Wanker of the Year

If you follow this blog you’ll know how we at the Brady Foray feel about Bernard Tomic. His well documented ‘wankerisms’ proves that this spoilt brat is nothing to aspire towards but low and behold once the Australian Open comes back around he’ll be the talk of the country, unfortunately. Congratulations Bernard, you well and truly deserve this award.

Notable Mentions: Israel Folau, Anthony Mundine, Quade Cooper, Joey Barton, James Magnusson

The John Sattler Inspirational Award

This award is inspired by South Sydney Rabbitohs legend John Sattler’s inspirational effort in the 1970 Grand Final in which he played most of the game, in leading the Bunnies to victory over Manly, with a broken jaw. The Brady Foray cannot help but hand this award to Paul Woods. Never heard of him? Woods is a front-rower for the Warrington Wolves in the English Super League. In this season’s grand final Woods managed to play on for the final twenty minutes, conduct interviews, and applaud the victorious Leeds players with a wait for it…..ruptured testicle. I guarantee every male reader just cringed. He now only has one testicle. You deserve this award Paul, said every man ever.

Runner Up: New Zealand Warriors hooker Nathan Friend playing 75 minutes with a broken jaw.

“Welcome to the big time, son” Award

Tim Grant wins this award for his rampaging first charge into the State of Origin cauldron by smashing attempting tackler Petero Civoniceva during the second origin in 2012. Ironically, it was Civoniceva who helped develop Grant to the monster he is today during his time at the Penrith Panthers.

Runner Up: Brad Maddox

Biggest Snub of the Year

The Parramatta Eels went to hell and back with the NRL and the AFL’s GWS Giants to help secure the release and then signing of Israel Folau back home to the NRL. Parramatta went to such extents to using their salary cap from 2014 and counting it as a loss when season 2014 comes around but albeit it never came to fruition as Israel Folau decided he wasn’t ready to return home to the code that made him. Instead Folau signed with the NSW Waratahs. This is beyond a snub, Folau betrayed Parramatta, their fans and the code itself.

Runner Up: Olympic promoter, David Beckham, snubbed by Team GB.

Notable Mentions: James Tamou snubs New Zealand, Wayne Bennett snubs Newcastle Knights veterans

The Michael Jordan Award

$onny Bill William$’s 2012 is defined by his Super Rugby Championship success for the Chiefs, Bledisloe Cup winner for the All Blacks, World Heavyweight Champion of New Zealand Boxing while playing for the Panasonic Wild Cats in Japan and moreover soon to be a pivotal part of the Sydney Roosters in the NRL next season, ultimately he could not be denied the ‘Ranging Out’ award for 2012.  While he would be a terrible, unreliable teammate, there is no denying that he is an outstanding athlete regardless if he is yet to fight a legitimate threat of a boxer.

Runner Up: Ellyse Perry

Notable Mentions: Israel Folau, Brock Lesnar