The International Season has started, but the domestic season is starting to come to and end and climaxing over the next two weekends with the NRL and Super League Grand finals. The exception to the rule is the French Elite 1 competition which has begun its 2012/13 season.
The NRL is coming to a head. The Preliminary Finals were played over the weekend. The Minor Premiers, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs beat the South Sydney Rabbitohs and stopped them short of their fairy-tale season. The Melbourne Storm once again have shown their mettle convincingly over powering Manly. The Grand Final will see Coaches, Craig Bellamy and Des Hasler come up against each other once again. Seems like the finals are all about them the last few years.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 32 – 08 South Sydney Rabbithos
Melbourne Storm 40 – 12 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Though the Wests Tigers in the NRL have had a poor season and speculation over Tim Sheens position, their Toyota Cup team has had more success. The Tigers beat the Roosters, who also have had a bad year in the NRL 28-22, showing that these teams have some promising players coming through. In the second game The Canberra Raiders, who have had a pretty remarkable season smashed the St George-Illawarra Dragons 44 – 16. So next weeks festivities will see The Raiders take on the Tigers.
Wests Tigers 28 – 22 Sydney Roosters
Canberra Raiders 44 – 16 St. George-Illawarra Dragons
Some sentimentality for yours truly, in the NSW Cup my team, the Newtown Jets, have won through to the Grand Final and will play the Balmain Tigers. Again looks like one of the feeder teams for the Wests Tigers team has done well and certainly shows that things are not all that bad as people like to make out. The Tigers upset Newcastle who were the heavy favourites while Jets did a proverbial carpet bombing of the Bulldogs who were minor premiers.
Balmain Tigers 26 – 24 Newcastle Knights
Newtown Jets 34 – 06 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
The Intrust Super Cup, or the Queensland Cup as I still like to refer to it, has been won for the second year in a row by the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls. Once again Wynnum being my team of choice since, well I lived in the area for 7 years and my family still does, it was a game of north and south in Brisbane. The battle of the bays derby is always a big match and pulls good crowds and the Grand Final played at Suncorp Stadium pulled a crowd of 10,000. After many lean years it looks like the Golden Years are back in the bay.
Wynnum-Manly Seagulls 20 – 10 Redciffe Dolphins
The other main senior competition in the NSWRL is the Bundaberg Red Cup. This is the third division as such in the NSW competition. The Wentworthville Magpies have taken out the 2012 Grand Final and beaten The Entrance Tigers.
Wentworthville Magpies 16 – 14 The Entrance Tigers
In the FOGS Cup, the Redcliffe Dolphins had a bad time of it again. They played the Easts Tigers and once again were beaten soundly 22-12
Easts Tigers 22 – 12 Redcliffe Dolphins
In the Super League, week of their play off series was played. After the first week where Wigan and St Helens got the week off, Catalans and Leeds met in the first Semi. Leeds seems to always peak in the finals and overcame a spirited Catalans team 27 – 20. Hull FC took on Warrington in the other semi and showed character in their loss to the Wire. The Super League has an interesting take on the play-offs. The team that finished top ranked in the playoffs, Wigan, get to choose their opponents, and they have decided on the Leeds Rhinos. This means that Warrington will take on St Helens in the other preliminary final.
Catalan Dragons 20 – 27 Leeds Rhinos
Warrington Wolves 24 – 12 Hull F.C.
The Championship Grand Final next week will see the Featherstone Rovers take on Sheffield Eagles after the Eagles beat the Leigh Centurions. Rovers qualifies last week after they defeated Leigh as well. Sheffield Beat Halifax FC in their qualifier and Leigh had a second shot against them to make the Grand Final but fell to the Eagles. This sets up a rematch from last year with the Rovers.
Sheffield Eagles 32-22 Leigh Centurions
In the Championship 1 Grand Final, Cumbria shows its strength once again with the Barrow taking on Doncaster. Doncaster beat Workington Town 20-0 to qualify. The path for both teams saw the Raiders take out Doncaster, who had a second chance against Workington who beat Whitehaven 26-2 in the Cumbria Derby last week.
Doncaster ‘The Dons’ 20 – 00 Workington Town
The first round of the French Elite 1 Championships has started. This means that we have professional Rugby League played all year around, so if you miss your NRL and SL, The make sure you follow the French Rugby League. The game seems to be really growing and is getting some decent crowds. If round 1 is any indication then this season could be a very open one with some of the traditional power houses being beaten.
Limoux 18 – 31 Villeneuve-Sur-Lot
Lezignan 32 – 08 Avignon
Montpellier 08 – 24 Lescure
Pia 36 – 16 Carcassone
Toulouse 16 – 08 Saint Esteve-XIII Catalan
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