Sanity prevails in finals race - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sanity prevails in finals race

12/09/2004 09:31:31 PM Comments (0)

Sanity finally prevailed when minor premiers Sydney Roosters became the first favourite to clinch victory in the opening round of NRL finals with a convincing 38-12 win over Canberra Raiders at Aussie Stadium.

But the repercussions of North Queensland's boilover 30-22 win over title favourites the Bulldogs could still be felt.

The Roosters' comfortable win ended a run of three stunning finals upsets on a weekend when the race for the 2004 NRL title was turned on its ear.

First an undermanned Panthers pipped St George Illawarra 31-30 at Penrith on Friday then Melbourne held out a disappointing Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium 31-14 on Saturday night.

But the big surprise came when an enthusiastic Cowboys celebrated their first finals match in their 10 year history by holding out the Bulldogs at Telstra Stadium.

The result not only eliminated title dark horses St George Illawarra from the finals but it's likely to force the NRL to change the venue of the Cowboys' semifinal against Brisbane next Saturday night from Aussie Stadium to Townsville.

The NRL is expected to make an announcement regarding the venue on Monday.

The shock Cowboys' win also made every finals team sit up and take notice - starting with the coach of new title favourites the Roosters, Ricky Stuart.

While happy that his team earned a week off with a victory that eliminated Canberra from the finals race, Stuart was more worried about the new threat - the Cowboys.

"It shows how much hunger can muster. It goes to show if you are on, you can beat anyone. I keep saying it all year ... if you don't turn up everybody's got the ability to beat each other," Stuart said.

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