Well, everything went pretty much to plan last weekend, even though we did have some early excitement for the Knights in their first semi-final for quite a few years and leading 14-0 at 24 minutes in.
Unfortunately, they didn't score another point from then on, until the 79th minute, by which time it no longer mattered.
The difference? The Rabbitohs were playing to win; the Knights were playing not to lose. It's an important distinction.
The Knights simply lacked ammunition. Their structured formulaic approach of four hit-ups, one attacking play and then kick, just fell apart in the face of a Souths side that were playing exciting, imaginative football.
Newcastle's attacking options lie almost completely with the half and fullback, and if they don't fire there's not much else going on.
Souths are happening right across the park. They're footballers, not robots; they're creative, not afraid to take risks and, all importantly, seem to be on a roll.
They've score 106 points in their last two games, 60 of those against the defending premiers. If Souths can maintain the momentum and the confidence needed too continue playing this way then they look truly formidable.
History says a side from the bottom half of the finals draw can't win, but who knows? Maybe this year we'll see a Rabbitoh come out of a hat! They certainly have the form.
I'm looking forward to watching them play the Eels. It'll be another clash of two quite different styles of play - the more structured approach of the Eels against this all-or-nothing way of doing things that Souths have been going with.
I'll be barracking for Souths. The way they're playing is good for the game.
There was a guy in Redfern in the sixties named Bill Connelly who made boots for the top players. Hand stitched leather football boots with the studs nailed in.
I commissioned and bought a pair. With me being a toe-kicker he gave me a hard square toe for my right boot. They cost me a fortune - about half my pay for the season I seem to recall - but were more than worth it and I had them for many years.
They eventually gave way to the aluminium screw-ins. I never played in the moulded soles that were coming in around the time I retired.
Maitland hooker Peter Edmunds in the same period, said he'd never wear moulded soles because, "you couldn't do any damage with them ..." Different times.
Anyway, the point of this digression is that all of these boots were black! We played in black boots. That was what colour football boots were. Imagine asking Bill Connelly for a red pair?
Watching the games on the weekend and seeing the full colour spectrum on the players' feet made me think about how much the boots have changed. A lot of it's to do with the move to round-the- corner kicking with the instep, and also the introduction of the lighter balls, but then there's Graeme Langlands.
If you do a search for "worst ever rugby league grand final performances" you'll find that number one on the list is pretty much always Graeme Langlands in 1975. Langlands had been carrying injuries and later said that a botched pre-game pain injection had made his right leg numb.
A look at the footage would seem to confirm this. Langlands, known for his long-range kicking, and with St George counting on that as part of their game-plan, was unable to so much as kick the ball into touch.
St George lost to the Roosters 38-0. It was a debacle. It was all made so much worse by the fact that Langlands, due to a sponsorship deal, was wearing white boots. In an era where nobody wore anything other than black it made him look like a show-off, and so made that dreadful performance even more visible.
White (or any other colour) boots were sort of considered cursed after that. I don't quite know when it changed, but change it has.
ROOSTERS ... JUST
The Roosters play the Raiders this week, a 2019 grand final replay. I think it's being shown, particularly now in finals stage, that the better performing sides are those that are best adapting to the new roll-on rules. The rules are aimed at making the game more entertaining and these sides are obliging by scoring more points.
From this point of view I'd have to tip the Roosters, who have a more flexible game plan than the Raiders. I could be wrong though. The thing about this season's finals series is that, perhaps unlike in previous years, at this stage these six sides are all strongly in contention.
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