Shane’s 35th Column

The two players with most influence, Rabbitohs’ Damien Cook and rival Panthers’ hooker Apisou Korisau

If someone had predicted that the South Sydney Rabbitohs would be playing the Penny Panthers in the 2021 NRL Grand Final (in Brisbane, mind you), I would have told them to lay off the spirits. But low and behold, just like the gee up joke I fell for when they announced the Origin would be playing in Townsville, for the first time in history the National Rugby League Grand Final will not be played in Sydney but at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Now for those who don’t know, it used to be called Lang Park back in the day and this is where the birthplace of State of Origin is located. So, it is rather fitting that, in our lifetime, we get a GF, so we may as well enjoy this while they are on a so-called lock down. 


So how will this game be played out? Let’s take a look at the key matchups. First on the list, have a go at Nathan Cleary’s forehead, it’s the bloody size of the Indian Ocean. Inside that massive noggin will be all the tricks to get his beloved Panthers over, as his season has already suggested with Origin success. Let’s not count out WWE Wrestler wannabe and cartoon character lookalike Jerome Luui. The crafty little playmaker not only has Looney Tune features, but he has more games than Wile Coyote. The other danger man is none other than Harry Potter Troll, Villaume Kikau, who will be waiting under the grand final bridge for anything in a Rabbitoh’s jersey. His running game out wide will be one of the key components if the Men in Black have a chance at victory. 


Now let’s move to the team everyone wants to win, the South Sydney Rabbitohs. If Kikau is the villain in this movie, then Bugs Bunny in disguise 5/8 Cody Walker will be the lead character in Space Jam 3 if he has his way. I can’t remember a time when a player was so angry all the time whilst playing the best footy of his career. The only other player to come close was Joseph Anderson Seppy, but he only complained about how good a fisherman I was every time I brought up the subject of wetting a line. Mini size halfback and former garden gnome, Adam Reynolds, will have to be at his very cunning best because if the Rabbits win it, it will be off the back of his short arse. Lock Cameron Murray will have to play and dance as good as Cameron Muriata if his forwards get over the Panthers, so look for him when the frontline gets tired. 


If you’re a true Rugby League person than you know that there’s one man who will have the biggest influence on this game, and he isn’t even wearing footy boots on the night. That man is Master Coach Wayne Bennett. When Master Yoda was once asked if he knew of the greatest influencer in the universe, he spoke of Wayne Bennett above the Force. When Thanos knew he would need something to defeat the Avengers, it was Wayne Bennett who sided with Ironman and his buddies to end the war. When the Fast and the Furious franchise wanted perfect a character to give the movie a boost, Wayne Bennett was consulted. When Luke Skywalker found out he was Darth Vader’s son, it wasn’t all bad news because Wayne Bennett was really Darth Vader’s dad. He is, without a doubt, the greatest sporting coach in Australian Sports history. So, if I were a betting man, I would bet on Wayne Bennett. The last phone call I made was to my guru and Nostradamus himself, Trevor Edwards, and he pretty much summed up what every other footy pundit is thinking when he said “Mate, Bennett, he just knows what to do. He’ll send Beni Marshal out a winner.” I guess full time on Sunday will see if he or I was right or wrong. Go the Rabbits.


NRL Grand Final Tips from around the Cassowary Coast

“Too many bloody Queenslanders in the Rabbitohs’ side, so Panthers for me.” – Shrek Walton, El Arish Mayor.

“The Wayne Bennet factor will get them over the line; Cody Walker, Clive Churchill Medal winner.” – Paul Ketchell, Tully Tigers’ Coach.

“I am a little torn because I want Benji going out a winner. The only problem is I cannot see anyone beating the Panthers. Penrith by 1.” – Mitch Seri, Herbert River Crushers’ Coach.

“Rabbits bra, cause Daley Rata Makene told me, and everything he says is the truth.” – Benn Campagnolo, Townsville Blackhawks.

“I don’t follow either team, but I think the South Sydney Rabbitohs will Churchill and be too strong.” – Keiryn Lenoy, FNQ Tennis, and Cricket Rep.


“Wayne Bennett factor and the Rabbits seem to be in better physical shape for this time of the season. Cody Walker will win the Clive Medal.” – Brenton Edwards, FNQ Cricket Rep.


“My team, the Panthers, but it will be close. James Fisher Harris will win the Clive Churchill Medal.” Fred Koraba, Innisfail Leps.

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