NRL preview – you read it on Club Troppo. And the Storm wuz robbed!

From the  pre-game commentary  

Slater was well held by the Dragons. He is probably due for a blinder. King could be ready to explode as well, his best work was done in defence the other night when he practically closed down Gasnier.

The biggest danger for the Storm will be the psychological blow if Brisbane get a flying start. It will be 2001 revisited, after the Storm played so well all year, to find things going wrong in the big game. Also they are short on experience in big games compared with Brisbane.

It will be interesting to see how the Storm try to restrict Lockyer, Hill is too slow to do the job. Likewise to see how they counter Hodges who is probably the best kick return runner in the game at present.

Slater did have a blinder but he also participated in the brain explosions induced by playing from behind. One time he ran far away from any support and another time he forced a silly pass that went over the sideline (off the hand of Hodges) but Brisbane got the feed.

Lockyer was never held and several times he managed to handle twice in a movement, like the time he swooped on a ball that was thrown blindly and ended up with a try.

Probably the key to the ballgame was the defence of the Brisbane backline, Brisbane were always going to shade the Storm forwards who just had to hold them (which they did) so the backs  could get the job done. But King and Inglis never delivered on their  lethal  potential.

The robbery?  

1. The penalty against Slater when a lunging Brisbane attacker lost the ball on the line and it fell into Slater’s hands. He ran into the field of play and unloaded, then they were away….

2. No try when King got over the line but it was ruled that it was a Storm player and not the Brisbane player who touched the ball first. Not sure about that, I am just following the commentary team.

3. No penalty for a shepherd for Berrigan (?) just before he fell down  under Slater’s tackle and Brisbane took 2 points for a high shot.

4. Brisbane feed after Hodges touched the  pass from Slater that went over the sideline.

Storm woes  

The Storm were  desperately hurt by the first two pointer and their failure to convert their tries. The  first a hard one that Smith would have mostly  potted and the second an easy one that Geyer stuffed up because Smith  had a bad leg. Factor in any one of those  and there would have been no field  goal, so Brisbane would have had to play  out the game with four points in hand or less.    The Storm could have played with more deliberation and less desperation.

Brisbane got better value from their bombs in attack  – one try came from a kick that Turner failed to catch  and the Brisbane last line handled a lot of high kicks with aplomb. Storm seemed to kick from too far out, possibly missing the yardage that Smith usually makes out of dummy half. They needed to have Smith and Hill on the field together for the whole game.

In addition to fielding high balls, the Brisbane back three  were  outstanding in goal-line defence.

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17 years ago

Don’t forget Webcke’s second half. I though he was very quiet in the first but some of his runs near the end were magnificent.

Slater was unlucky with the highshot on Berrigan. He should have let the Broncos score as the vid ref would have disallowed the try. ;-)

The killer decision was Brisbane being given the feed when Hodges knocked the ball into touch. Could the vid ref have had a look at that decision? In such a big game some extra discretion should be extended to the vid ref.