Priceless - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIMxTZr5mnY
Armed with the Premiership Ladder & the dates for the finals I set about trying to work out where the Manly Marlins will end up for the finals.
First I had to do some back of the envelope predictions for the last four rounds for Manly, Sydney Uni, Eastern Suburbs, Randwick & Northern Suburbs, no easy task!
So here goes:
Manly to win the next two against Northern Suburbs (with bonus point 5) & Southern Districts (with out bonus points 4), lose to Sydney Uni within 7 points securing a bonus point & beating Randwick at home in the final round with our a bonus point – 14 points added to the 80 they have already gives them 2nd position on the ladder going into the finals series & earning a week off.
Sydney Uni to win three of the four games with bonus points but only securing 1 point against Randwick – 15 points added the the 64 they have gives them 79, one less than Manly, so they grab 3rd spot.
I predicted 15 points for Eastern Suburbs & 14 for Randwick.
So the ladder shapes up as follows:
- Sydney Uni
- Eastern Suburbs
- Northern Suburbs
First elimination semi will be between 3rd & 6th matching Sydney Uni & Northern Suburbs, you would have to bet on Uni winning this surely! Winner – Sydney Uni
Second elimination semi will be 4th v 6th matching Eastern Suburbs & Randwick, tough one to call but I say Randwick will get this one if Gituea is still paying for them. Winner – Randwick
Now we are really into the business end with the Preliminary Finals, with 1st playing the lowest ranked elimination semi winner matching Eastwood & Randwick,cant go past Eastwood for this one. Winner – Eastwood
Last game is 2nd v the highest ranked semi winner matching Manly & Uni, wow, what a tough match but I am going out on a limb to say manly will grab this one by the scruff of the neck as they have been here so many times before only to let the occasion get to them, with Tim lane back in charge at the village green I think we can pull this one off. Winner – Manly.
That leaves Manly with the final & playing the team that we played the last time we were in a Grand Final back in 1997 – Eastwood, history shows that Manly won that game & Tim Lane was the coach back then so I hope that helps us! Winner – Manly of course
So there you have it, the 2011 Sydney 1st Grade finals run explained & hopefully it all goes to plan for the Mighty Manly Marlins.
Following on from the post about the Wallaby Team Selections.
Looking at the Wallabies draw for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011 makes me think we have a chance at winning the thing for the first time since 1999, we were close in 2003 but were beaten by what ended up being the best team in the word at the time – England.
In 2007 we were a no show and the old enemy (England) knocked us out in the Quarter Finals as they did back in 1995.
So, onto 2011 and what looks like a draw made in heaven.
- Sept 1 – Italy, Christchurch
- Sept 17 – Ireland, Auckland
- Sept 23 – USA, Wellington
- Oct 1 – Russia, Christchurch
Thats all looks quite good, three training runs with a test match against the formidable Irish team in Auckland. the Irish could be the team that causes the Wallabies the most trouble, they have run us close in two RWC matches in the past, Dublin in 1991 & Melbourne in 2003, both were very tight games with the Wallabies just making it through.
Australia really need to win Pool C if they are to avoid having a showdown in the Quarters with South Africa who you would expect to win Pool D, Wales are a good team but I would think the Japies will have that pool sewn up.
Assuming Australia top the pool they head of to the Quarters finals to play the runner up of Pool D, Wales.
Assuming they beat Wales they would head into Semi Final 1 with either Argentina or France.
Assuming they win SF1 they head off to the Final to play – one would assume on current form – New Zealand!
Here are my bold predictions and how I see the pools & knock out games going.
Pool Winners & Runner Ups
- Pool A - Winner New Zealand & Runner-up France
- Pool B - Winner Argentine & Runner-up England
- Pool C - Winner Australia & Runner-up Ireland
- Pool D - Winner South Africa & Runner-up Wales
- QF1: Winner Pool B v Runner-up Pool A
- Argentina v France
- Winner – Argentina
- QF2: Winner Pool C v Runner-up Pool D
- Australia v Wales
- Winner – Australia
- QF3: Winner Pool A v Runner-up Pool B
- NZ v England
- Winner – NZ
- QF4: Winner Pool D v Runner-up Pool C
- South Africa v Wales
- Winner – South Africa
- SF1: Winner QF1 v Winner QF2
- Argentina v Australia
- Winner – Australia
- SF2: Winner QF3 v Winner QF4
- New Zealand v South Africa
- Winner – New Zealand
Both the Wallabies and All Blacks have been here before & I can assure you this stadium will be almost empty if the All Blacks end up in this game due to their regular RWC choke against the Springboks!
- Loser SF1 v Loser Sf2
- Argentina v South Africa
- Winner - South Africa
The Rugby World Cup Final
- Winner SF1 v Winner SF2
- Australia v New Zealand
- Winner – Anyones guess
Can we beat the All Blacks in a Rugby World Cup Final on New Zealand soil to take home our Third (Yes all you Kiwi’s, THIRD) Rugby World Cup?
It’s anyones guess, but look at our record against the All Blacks in the past two RWC match ups - 1991 Semi Final = Win & 2003 Semi Final = Win.
Australia will be heavily reliant on the All Blacks making this the game they choke, as they always do in the RWC to get them across the line, that and some hard core mongrel from the forwards to set up some from Quade Cooper magic.
Only time will tell – Go the Wallabies
What a big question to ask any devout Wallaby Fan eh!
Can they do it? On current form I would seriously doubt it, but remember we have six good players out of action and a coach who insists in continually picking one player in particular that is a show pony.
At the moment we have four lynch pin forwards missing with season ending injuries – Ben Alexander (Tight head prop), Wycliff Palu (N0. 8), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Hooker) & James Horwill (Lock), it is through these four players that the mongrel in the pack comes from, without these player we are missing some serious grunt in the pack. Also, Dan Vickerman is back for the 2011 Wallaby season, so he is a automatic pick for his aggression and line out smarts.
Add in Digby Ioane for the backs and you have five quality Wallabies missing + Peter Hynes is on the comeback from injury, but I dont think he is any better than either Drew Mitchell or James O’Connor, I’d maybe stick Hynes in for O’Connor and play the later in the second half when the opposition forwards are getting tired.
I think Matt Giteau needs to cool his heals on the sidelines for a week or two and allow Berrick Barnes to resume his partnership with Quade Cooper, these two seemed to work really well together in the fist test against the Poms yet a week later with Giteau back at Inside Centre we bomb out.
Lets not forget who missed the sitter in front of the goals at full time allowing the Poms to go home with a victory over us on home soil – Matt Giteau.
Who missed the sitter in 2009 against Scotland in the final seconds of the game to give the Scots their first victory over the Wallabies since 1982 and cost us a crack at the Grand Slam? – Matt Giteau.
Who needs to be sitting on the bench in two weeks time in South Africa? - Matt Giteau.
Bring back Berrick, swap O’Connor with Hynes and we will have a nicely balanced back-line for the rest of the year, add Ioane back into the mix as a replacement for Hynes with Hynes dropping out of the match day 22 to keep Giteau & O’Connor on the bench, sadly there is no room for Luke Burgess unless he improves his pass and has a stellar Super 15 in 2011.
2010 & 2011 RWC Match Day 22
Remainder of 2010 (Changes in bold)
1. Moore, 2. Robinson, 3. Mafu, 4. Higgenbotham, 5. Sharpe, 6. Mumm, 7. Pocock, 8. Elsom (C), 9. Genia, 10. Cooper, 12. Barnes, 13. Ashley-Cooper, 11. Hynes, 14 – Mitchell, 15. Beale.
2011 (Changes in bold)
1. Polota-Nau, 2. Robinson, 3. Alexander, 4. Vickeman, 5. Sharpe, 6. Elsom (C), 7. Pocock, 8. Palu, 9. Genia, 10. Cooper, 12. Barnes, 13. Ashley-Cooper, 11. Ioane, 14 – Mitchell, 15. Beale.
Former Manly Marlin & NSW Waratah #15 seems to be enjoying himself playing for London Irish, kicking goals from everywhere and solid in back play against Newcastle Falcons.