It's never a great feeling as a player heading into the first week of finals footy knowing you are on the outside looking in.
To bow out the way we did and to then finish the season on such a low ebb at Panthers Stadium was pretty shattering. The positive is our embarrassing performance against Penrith didn't paper over the cracks. Instead, it showed just how wide they are and how much work is needed from everyone next season to become a footy team every Knights fan is proud to support.
We definitely have some maturing to do as a squad which will no doubt be a bit of a focal point when pre-season training kicks off under new coach Adam O'Brien in November.
As for the big games ahead, I'm looking forward to seeing what transpires with four big games to kick things off this weekend. Here is my take on week 1 of the finals series.
ROOSTERS v SOUTHS
The clash of two differing styles - the relentlessness of the Sydney Roosters up against South Sydney's more off the cuff attacking approach.
The loss of Sam Burgess is huge for the Bunnies in a negative way. The inclusion of Luke Keary for the Roosters is just as huge but in a positive way. I reckon Keary's return makes the Roosters a 10-12 point better side.
Another bonus for the Roosters is prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves getting off at the judiciary. Jared's playing some of the best footy of his career so for him to be available given what he was charged with and Burgess to miss out for a hair-pulling incident is a massive plus for the defending premiers. Roosters to win.
STORM V RAIDERS
Melbourne is just so used to these games which is why they are so good at winning them and they'll have learned from their loss to Canberra a few weeks back.
The Raiders' unorthodox players have made them a bit of an awkward team to play against. The players they have brought in have a different style of body make-up. They are raw-boned and play an aggressive, hard, physical style. It's probably something they lacked over the past few years and Ricky [coach Stuart] has done a great job recruiting those sorts of blokes. It's given them a rougher edge and they've just been a lot more resilient, especially in defence. Ricky has them really playing to their strengths.
The clash of the hookers Cameron Smith and Josh Hodgson, the two most influential number 9's in the game, is the highlight for me but at home, Melbourne in a tight one. Storm to win.
EAGLES V SHARKS
I like the Sharks in this one even though it's at Brookie. They have been in these big games plenty of times and last week, you could just see the difference in the head-space between them and the Tigers with their seasons on the line.
Manly have had a really good year but they have been hit with injury and suspension at the wrong time and without Turbo [Tom Trbojevic], who is their real x-factor, it brings them back a little bit and puts a lot of pressure on Cherry [Daly Cherry-Evans] and a few of their other guys.
Cronulla at their brutal best are tough to beat so if they can re-produce that hard semifinal-type footy they are capable of, they will probably just come out on top. Sharks to win
EELS V BRONCOS
If this game was in Brisbane, I'd probably tip the Broncos with their big, young forward pack to get them home. But given the semi is in Sydney at Bankwest Stadium, I can't go past the Eels.
They have been enormous at their new stadium all season and provided Mitchell Moses plays well, which he has done for most of the season, the home side will win. Moses will need a bit of a platform to operate behind but if he is on the front foot, I can see him kicking the Broncos out of the title race.
What the Eels will need to do is to weather an early storm from Brisbane, who I can see coming out of the blocks like a whirlwind early in a bid to prevent the home side from finding their rhythm. Eels to win.
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