Poms in Oz: English presence guaranteed at NRL Grand Final

At least one Englishman is likely to complete in this year’s NRL Grand Final, after three clubs containing England squad members made it to week three of the finals.

James Graham’s Canterbury Bulldogs and Gareth Widdop’s Melbourne Storm both reached the preliminary finals after week one. But after Sam and Luke BurgessSouth Sydney defeated Canberra Raiders 38-16, the Rabbitohs will face up to Graham’s Bulldogs for a place in the Grand Final.

Sam Burgess helped his side to a win with a try of his own, but he was overshadowed by Adam Reynolds

Reynold’s try and seven goals went a long way to securing the game for the Rabbitohs. His 18 points in the match made him only the second player to score over 200 points in a single season for South Sydney.

Everingham’s try alongside Reynolds’ and Burgess’ put Souths in a comfortable position at the half time break, and they extended their lead in the second half despite giving the Raiders some hope.

Dylan Farrell scored shortly after half time, pouncing on the end of Reynolds’ grubber kick into the in-goal.

But the game was sealed in Souths’ favour when Greg Inglis was awarded a penalty try after Blake Ferguson tackled the Australian international without the ball.

 

Gareth Widdop will this week prepare for a re-match of the 2007 and 2008 Grand Final, as Melbourne take on Manly Sea Eagles.

The two sides played each other only once this season, and that went the way of the Storm after a 26-22 at Brookvale Oval.

The last time these two teams met in the finals was in 2009, a year after Manly beat the Storm in one of the biggest Grand Final margins in Australian rugby league history.

In 2009, the Storm beat the Sea Eagles to send the Sydney-based side out of the competition. Since then Manly have won three of the five encounters between the two sides in the regular season. 

Widdop has played against Manly on three occasions, twice in 2011 and once this season. After an 18-6 victory in round one of the 2011 season, Melbourne looked to make it a double at Brookvale Oval. However that particular game was marred with the sending off of both Adam Blair and Glenn Stewart

After the pair had been sin binned for fighting, they went toe-to-toe again as both players walked off the field.

Earlier this season, Melbourne defeated the Sea Eagles before going onto lose four consecutive matches which ultimately cost them the JJ Giltinan Shield as Minor Premiers.

 

Chris Heighington looks likely to move from Wests Tigers to Cronulla Sharks next season. 

Despite having a contract in place with the Tigers for 2013, Heighington could have the deal to the Sharks signed and sealed by November.

He would follow Bryce Gibbs, Andrew Fifita and John Morris to Toyota Stadium. 

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