With two games left to play in the regular season the rubber hits the road in the race to the NRL finals and it’s anyone’s guess how things are going to pan out, although the genius’s like Gordie Tallis who can’t tell a nobody from Superman are spouting so much piss and wind about how it’s all going to end that they’ve created a howling vortex.
In this vacuum devoid of common sense and objective analysis our Archie’s decided to share the wisdom of his four decades of rugby-league football the greatest game of all experience – 33 years of them on the couch, the other 7 wearing the number one in the royal blue and white colors of the mighty Brisbane U13 Super League champions the Valleys Diehards, home club and nursery of the King – with you sportsfans, so that might make an easy quid following his expert advice and thus build a modest bank for a concerted assault on the satchel-swingers during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
The ladder as of today looks like it does above. Either the Storm or the Sharks are gunna win the Minor Premiership, and no-one but a couple of freezing cold Kiwis in Carlton or Gorgeous George gives a flying Freddie Fittler about which one it is, cos neither the near-superannuated Spartans from the south or the sham-fisted showy shylocks from the shire have a hope in Hades of lifting the Provan-Summons come the end of September.
The Raiders have had rude luck and lucky run into the top four, but those halves-deprived over-achievers ambitions are crippled by their crab of an excuse for a coach Sticky Stuart, the half-baked former halfback-great, State of Origin coaching disaster and all-round d*ckhead who presently believes that his poo doesn’t stink, but is about to sniff the sulphur big time as his skim-milk Raiders get dumped two losses into the finals.
Based on history teams outside the four can’t win the final, and those who fail to learn from history are the type of bloody fools who keep appointing Laurie Daley as the Origin coach, so ignore anyone who tells you that a team finishing fifth to eighth is a sh*t show in hell of Sunday arvo in September glory.
Now that you get the big picture sportsfans you understand the equation required to work out your bet on the winner of the big one don’t ya?
It all comes down to whoever runs fourth. They are the chosen ones, the scalers of the SFS cliffs, the marchers to ultimate Mad Monday glory.
But who will it be Archie?
Well, let me let ya in on the world’s best kept secret mug punters.
JT’s Cowboys are going back to back.
The greatest player ever to stride the Steeden-humping stage is about to lead the North Queensland boys to a place where nobody has dared to go. Some call it Xanadu; Archie calls it heaven; JT the footballing God calls it home.
Here’s how they’re going to get there.
This week the Cowboys knock off the Dogs. They move to 30 points, the Dogs stay stuck on the same mark.
The resurgent Broncos steamroll the Storm. They move to 30 points too. The Storm stay on 38, and could be first or second depending on how Gallen and Gorgeous’s mob go against Souths tonight, but for reasons previously explained it doesn’t matter much either way.
The Panthers touch up the Hayne Plane Titans, which for reasons soon to be explained is potentially bad news for all the Gold Coast fans who’ve been prematurely snapping up semi-final tickets, but not necessarily fatal, or not at this stage anyway.
The Panthers move to 28 points.
The Titans remain in 8th place on 25 points with a round to play.
Either the Warriors beat the Tigers, or the Tigers beat the Warriors, and in a clear indication of why bum teams down the bottom of the ladder can’t win the competition the victor moves to 24 points, one of the semi-finals pace with one game to go.
This time next week the ladder excluding the top three (Storm/Sharks, Raiders) looks like this:
30 Points – Cowboys, Bulldogs, Broncos
28 Points – Panthers
25 Points – Titans
24 Points – Warriors or Tigers
And so it’s the final round, week 26, and we turn the corner and enter the home straight. It’s money time, and it all comes down to this.
The Broncos flog the Roosters. They move to 32 points.
The Bulldogs say sayonara to Sam Burgess’s struggling Souths – Greg Inglis gets only 2 touches, runs 4 metres and makes 3 tackles, one of them on his own winger, whose name he doesn’t know – and the family club also move to 32 points.
Penrith rout a Daly Cherry-Evans ridiculous salary-wrecked Sea Eagles and finish the season in seventh on 30 points but it doesn’t make any difference to the finals make-up.
Then comes the game that neither South-East Queenslanders nor the NRL brass wanted to to happen, and JT’s merry band of men touch up the Titans, and potentially end the cash through the turnstiles cow Hayne plane’s short season.
The Cowboys move to 32 points, a three-way tie with the Broncos and the Bulldogs for fourth place. The Titans remain anchored on 25, with their finals hopes and dreams resting squarely on one game, either the Warriors v the Eels, or Backdoor Benny’s one-time Balmain boys v Canberra, depending on whether the Kiwis or the Campbelltown crowd have won their clash the previous week and moved to 24 points.
It doesn’t matter either way though, the Glitter Strip gang are gone, because the erratic Aucklander’s carve up an Eels outfit who gave up weeks ago, and the Black and Gold battlers from Leichardt Oval are gifted a win when in the time-honoured tradition of the NSW Origin team selectors Sticky – realising that his Raiders are safe in 3rd place on the ladder as they enter the finals – rests half his team and reshuffles the rest, and Jarrod Croker ends up playing prop and Josh Pa’apalii on the wing, and they get beaten by 60 and laugh about it over a 147 jugs at the Canberra Workers Club in their post-game recovery session afterwards.
The Coast are out, Wests or the Warriors are in, neither side for any more than another week. The Panthers might go a further 7 days deeper, given that they will likely play a fading Dogs outfit who fail to realise that you have to consistently hold the Steeden for 5 tackles and kick it on the 6th when you’re not scoring tries if you want to win games.
Why the Bulldogs end up 6th is because they don’t know how to score tries, even though they are the 4th most frugal team in defence, and as a result their points differential is terrible. The Broncos don’t score many more tries unless Anthony Milford is on song, but they let fewer in so bunny-hop the Dogs to finish 5th and get an easy kill against NZ or the Tigers in the first round, and keep their ever-faithful fans finals hopes alive for a further week or even 2, depending upon how the Sharks/Storm dice fall.
But it’s the Cowboys who finish in fourth place, for despite their post-State of Origin series mid-season travails they remain the 3rd most effective attacking team in the comp, and the second most deadly in defence. And they have the one thing on their side that no other team in the NRL has.
Full name Jonathon Dean Thurston, named after his uncle Dean Saunders, alongside whom our Archie used to toil daily behind the counter of the old Dole Office in Fortitude Valley way back in the 1990’s, the tea room of which the child who grew up to become the greatest once used to visit with his Mum when she came to see her brother for lunch.
The Brisbane River runs bloody deep doesn’t it sportsfans, and if I added that old Archie was also in attendance at the first ever Origin game, and used to babysit the young NFL rookie ‘The Monstar’ – then known simply as Little Jesse Williams, Arthur and Sonya’s boy – and that the Arch man played in a card school with John Eales, and danced at weddings with Mrs Kev the Rat Rudd, and high-fived ditched witch Rangas, and supped with Kiwi Prime Ministers, and cavorted with so-called underworld figures who bought his Mum flowers and drove his Dad all over town, and was friends with judges and lawyers and award-winning journalists and union thugs and models and singers and MP’s you’d declare that the talented but tormented Brisbane wordsmith was off his head wouldn’t ya?
But of course you would be wrong.
Our Archie may be mad but the lunatic doesn’t ever lie, even if he does show off a tad from time to time just because he can, and likes to preen his feathers because these days he’s a prematurely pensioned-off peacock.
Now you might think that our resident rugby league expert is simply posing by posting all of this palaver above, no matter how true it may be, but you’d be absolutely incorrect on that count too. These simple truths have been shared merely to let you in on the secret that your correspondent is no un-connected dill, but instead an idiot-savant who knows his stuff and has a well-informed opinion that on occasions is well-worth listening to.
So if you’ve got a bloody brain still left in your head after two mind-numbing weeks of sleep-deprived Olympic disappointment sportsfans you’ll rush down to the bank, mortgage the house to the hilt so that you can double the castle in size by backing the Cowboys to fly into the final four, and then fling the whole upsized bonanza on JT and the Gang to win the grand final, and in the process transform yourself into a property magnate worth eleven times what you were when August ended.
You’ve been told.
Now take the tip and get moving.