The Cumberland Throw

The Corner Post – September 29, 2023: Grand Final Edition

The preliminary finals are now behind us, and it’s time for the Big Dance. Up for grabs is the prize that all clubs, and all players, coveted at the start of the season – being crowned the 2023 NRL Premiers.

Prelim Woes Still Provide Classic Grand Final 

The preliminary finals have been arguably the most lacklustre of recent seasons. Both games blew out with the clear favourites in each match winning by an average points margin of 32.

Despite the uninspiring grand final qualifiers, we have been left with a tantalising decider to be played out by the best two teams from the regular season.

A young and red-hot Broncos group aiming for their first title in 17 years will take on a Panthers side determined to achieve the first premiership three peat since the champion Parramatta side of the early 1980s.


Both Brisbane and Penrith boast state and national representative players. Whether it be flashy outside backs, uncompromising forwards or match winning spines, the title will be decided by genuine stars of the game.

Given that these sides lead all kinds of attacking stats including most line breaks and tries scored, fans should prepare for an electric and fast-paced grand final.

NRLW Surprise Decider

If the NRL has delivered a grand final that most expected, the NRLW decider won’t be featuring either of the two glamour teams of the women’s premiership.

The Broncos and the Roosters are absolutely crammed with high profile stars, and at the start of the season were tipped by many to face off on grand final day.


As the reigning premiers, Newcastle were always going to have a say in the title race. Spearheaded by Dally M winner Tameka Upton, the Knights this year have proven that last season’s title was no fluke.

Lining up against them will be the genuine surprise packets, the Gold Coast Titans. Their shock 12 points to nil victory over the Roosters was evidence that they are prepared to do the hard yards to grind out a win.

The contrasting styles of both teams will make this an intriguing battle.

Dally M Awards

There were a few surprises amongst the expected wins in Wednesday night’s Dally M awards. Favourites such as Andrew Webster and Adam Reynolds collected Coach and Captain of the year respectively, whilst Shaun Johnson finished a contentious second for the prestigious Dally M Medal.


Kalyn Ponga’s surge of form during his sides 11 game winning streak, saw him make a late push for the player of the year accolade, one point ahead of fan-favourite Shaun Johnson.

In round 26, Shaun Johnson controversially polled no points in the Warriors 18-6 victory over the Dragons, whilst Kalyn Ponga raked in a maximum of 6 points for his contributions in Newcastle’s 32-6 demolition of the Cronulla Sharks.

Fittler Calls It Quits

Rumours of a shock resignation by Brad Fittler began to circulate following the Dally M Awards. By Thursday morning, it had been confirmed that Fittler was indeed standing down as Blues coach.

Freddy revealed he had “no choice but to walk away” from the role he had held for six series.

Fittler had taken the reins following a period in which NSW had lost 11 out of their last 12 series. The legendary player enjoyed immediate success in his first two series but has since faced increasing pressure as a resurgent Maroons team again asserted their dominance.

During his tenure, Fittler debuted 11 Origin newcomers and worked tirelessly to promote rugby league in all corners of New South Wales.

I wish Brad all the best in all he chooses to do.

Johnson To Miss Kiwis Selection

Dally M Halfback of the year and Dally M runner-up, Shaun Johnson, has ruled himself out of selection for the New Zealand Kiwis in the upcoming 2023 Pacific championships.

Whilst jokingly agreeing to “chat soon” with Coach Michael Maguire on the Matty Johns show only two weeks ago, Johnson revealed that after the season he’s had, he will take the time for a much needed break.


“I am going to take a bit of time off,” the Warriors star admitted. However, Johnson disclosed that Kiwis selection is not out of the picture in the near future.

Although many assumed 2023 would be the last for the veteran halfback, Johnson surprised by producing a career best season in steering the Warriors to their first preliminary final since 2011. With the Kiwi star now looking forward to what 2024 will bring, one wonders what heights his game could reach next year.

Good luck to every player on Sunday!



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2 thoughts on “The Corner Post – September 29, 2023: Grand Final Edition

  1. sixties

    Apologies for anyone having problems with the site. There are a few hiccups that have continued since we were down last week.
    By the way, I think the Broncos are a genuine chance of winning.

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