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NRL: Five things we learnt from finals – Week One

Brisbane Broncos and Penrith Panthers have been the stand-out teams in the NRL so far this season and carried their fine form into week one of finals.

Both teams cruised through to the preliminary finals and can now watch on while the rest fight it out for the right to face them.

The Broncos cruised past Melbourne Storm 26-0, while the Panthers made light work of New Zealand Warriors, beating them 32-6.

The best two games of week one were saved until last however. Sydney Roosters first edged past Cronulla Sharks 13-12, before Newcastle Knights beat Canberra Raiders 30-28 in another thriller.

If the rest of finals carries on in such a fashion we are in for a thrilling conclusion to the series.

Semi-finals locked in

The first semi-final will take place on Friday night and will see Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters battle it out at AAMI Park.

The Storm were outplayed by the Broncos and need to bounce back to keep their season alive.

They can be backed at 1.33 to win the game, while the Roosters are priced at 3.35 to cause an upset.

In the other semi-final, the Newcastle Knights will make the trip to New Zealand to take on the Warriors on Saturday.

Broncos versus Panthers would be fitting

It is still early days in finals, but it is hard to see anything other than a grand final showdown between Brisbane Broncos and Penrith Panthers.

Both sides were battling it out for the minor premiership all season, with the Panthers snatching it at the death, and it would be fitting if they met each other in the big dance.

The ease in which they won their respective games over the weekend, once again showed they are the best two teams in the competition.

Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors finished third and fourth respectively, but were no match for the top two.

Penrith are priced at 2.15 to win the grand final, while the Broncos are 2.60.

Roosters show true guts

Trent Robinson believes the Roosters put in one of the ‘gutsiest’ wins in the club’s history when beating the Sharks against all the odds.

The Roosters lost Joey Manu and Joey Aukuso-Suaalii to injury, while influential skipper James Tedesco also had a spell in the sin bin.

It meant Robinson had men playing out of position all over the park, but some how they dug deep to get the job done.

Now they will have to asses the walking wounded and put out a side capable of winning in Melbourne against the Storm. One thing they will not be lacking is guts.

Hastings missing for Knights

Newcastle also showed great spirit when edging out the Raiders in one of the best finals games in history.

The clash went to extra-time before Kalyn Ponga slotted a penalty to set up a date with the Warriors.

However, they will have to do without Jackson Hastings after he suffered a recurrence of a troublesome ankle injury.

Sharks poor finals record continues

Cronulla Sharks poor record in recent finals encounters continued with the loss against the Roosters.

They had lost five finals games on the bounce heading into Saturday’s clash, and can now make that six.

And to make matters worse, they threw the clash against the Roosters away. Leading 12-6 and with the Roosters on the ropes, they failed to land the killer blow.

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