Give Me Five | Finals Week Three
5. Stars Collide
We hope you had your autograph books at the ready at our VB NSW Cup double header at Leichhardt Oval yesterday – there was no shortage of superstars in the crowd! The Roosters and Bulldogs NRL squads sat in the stands and enjoyed the VB Cup action, with the Canterbury crew enjoying a bevie or two after bowing out of the NRL finals. By our count we spotted no fewer than 15 of the game’s biggest names – Roosters Aidan Guerra, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jake Friend, James Maloney, Jackson Hastings, Dylan Napa, Sam Moa, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Blake Ferguson as well as Bulldogs James Graham, Aiden Tolman, Tim Lafai, Damien Cook, Josh Reynolds and one of the Morris boys (sorry Josh or Brett, I know we had a chat but I still can’t tell you guys apart!). You know where to go if you want to see the big names!
4. Points Battle
We thought we were watching a replay of the first Origin match in 1995 – that infamous interstate match eventually won by Queensland 2-0 – when Mounties and Wentworthville clashed in yesterday’s twilight Ron Massey Cup Preliminary Finals clash at Leichhardt. It was exactly that score – yup, just two-zip – when the teams hit the sheds at the break… and it took another 24 minutes in the second half for the first four-pointer to be registered when Gus Aiga finally crossed to rapturous applause. For the record, the match eventually finished 12-2 in Mounties’ favour… and, most likely, featured more penalties than points! Call it a tight tussle, a bruising battle or simply a mistake-a-thon where neither side looked likely to fight their way out of a wet paper bag… but the clash was one for the ages!
3. Coaches’ Conference
In a similar vein to number five on this week's Give Me Five countdown, we counted no fewer than 10 NRL coaches and club bosses at Leichhardt for yesterday’s fixtures. Was there a coaches’ conference or a leaders’ convention we weren’t aware of? We’re not exactly sure… but Peter Sharp, Des Hasler, Trent Robinson, Nathan Brown, Mick Potter, Michael Hagan, Steve McNamara, Jim Dymock, Terry Lamb and Raelene Castle certainly do. They – and a few others we won’t mention (they begged us to keep schtum) – were all in attendance. Some, we know, were keeping an eye on their teams but others, we’ve been told, were certainly there ready to recruit.
2. F3 Title Fight
The 2015 VB NSW Cup Grand Final between Wyong and Newcastle, the Battle for the F3, the M1 or the Pacific Highway – I really don’t know what the road’s called these days – is sure to be a cracker. Both teams turned up ready to rock and roll in their VB Cup Preliminary Finals and will be even more psyched to perform on the NSWRL’s biggest day of the year, at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday, 20 September. With a bunch of big names and even bigger stories in both sides – the Roos with Slaimankhel, William and Matagi and the Knights with Mamo, Ndaira and Newton – the clash is sure to be a cracker. And the best part is tickets are just $10 for adults and concessions, with kids under 12 free!
1. Mick's No.1 Fan
There are coincidences, there are freakish coincidences and then there’s this – quite possibly the freakiest coincidence of all time! We stumbled across former Wests Tigers coach, Bulldogs and Dragons legend and all-round good guy Mick Potter in the crowd near the entrance of Leichhardt Oval yesterday and stopped to have a chat. Enter a stranger from amidst the crowd… who was clearly a big 'Pottsy' fan! After waiting politely for a minute or two for our chat to finish, the man we remember as ‘John’ pulled out a footy card – of none other than Potter himself… from his playing days! Whilst Mick is definitely a legend of the game, it’s not often you run into a random fan who just happens to have in their hot little hands a footy card featuring a player from yester year... wanting an autograph! Potter – who is assisting his wife run the couple’s coffee-shop business, The Daily Grind, in Sydney’s CBD – duly obliged. Bravo to Potter's biggest fan (below) for carrying around an unlikely piece of sporting memorabilia in the hope of one day getting a signature. One has to wonder what else he has in his pockets!