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NRL ROUND 20 REVIEW

The preliminary matches are done, and we said goodbye to some of the greats of the generation, as Boyd the Broncos and representative star played his last game, as did Benji Marshall the 2005 flick pass that will never be forgotten. Also bowing out was Chris Lawrence a star for a decade in a team that never took him to the heights he deserved, and quite possibly Gavin Cooper, the other half of the greatest Half-Forward combination the game has seen, when paired with Thurston.  8 teams will also begin to lick their wounds and prepare for 2021, as we look forward to the Finals, without regulars like Brisbane, the mighty Dragons and other excitement machines such as the Cowboys and Warriors.  Penrith took the minor Premiership with ease, while Parramatta took advantage of the stunning slaughtering of the Roosters by Souths and grabbed 3rd behind Melbourne, with the Chooks 4th.  Canberra were excited no doubt when Wests led Parramatta which would have seen them into the top 4, but remain a solid 5th, while Souths took Newcastle’s 6th after the Knights horrible game against the Gold Coast, dropping them to 7th with Cronulla the last side in the Finals.

In coaching news it seems as though Walters will be installed as the next coach of Brisbane, ahead of Green, leaving a void in the Queensland Maroons head role, perhaps for Green.  Benji Marshall did not go out the way he wanted as he tore MCL ligaments in his knee and broke a rib, limiting him to the first 15 minutes of the match.  Okunbor of the Dogs is in doubt for the start of 2021 after doing an ACL ligament in his knee in their horrendous loss against Penrith.  In bad news for Canberra, Sutton looks to be out of the start of the Finals with MCL damage in his knee, stemming from the Sharks game.  While another huge blow came in the form of Staggs doing his ACL in the Broncos loss against the Cowboys, as he was in line to debut for Queensland, but now faces at least 6 months of rehab and probably misses the start of 2021.

English recruit Luke Thompson of the Bulldogs looks to be in real trouble as he has been referred straight to the judiciary after an eye-gouging allegation from Tamou in the sides 42-0 loss to Penrith.  Wests Fullback, Adam Doueihi looks like missing the first pair of matches in 2021 after his shoulder charge efforts on Sivo, in his sides near miss match against Parramatta.  Another shoulder charge, with big consequences came from Valentine Holmes, as he will add to the difficulties of finding a top-notch backline for Queensland, as he figures to miss at least 1 game, or 2 if he unsuccessfully fights the charge.  Feldt joins that list of unavailable Queensland stars as he is set to undergo off-season surgery, joining Morgan and Mbye, as well as Glasby who has retired and Lowe.

Attention now turns to the Finals, with Penrith and the Roosters facing off Friday evening, the pair of Saturday matches featuring Canberra and Cronulla as well as Melbourne and Parramatta, topped off with the Sunday elimination match between Souths and Newcastle.