Star players from all eight teams competing in the upcoming finals series have gathered in Sydney to launch the 2016 finals.
Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm), Jarrod Croker (Canberra Raiders), Paul Gallen (Cronulla Sharks), Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos), Jason Taumololo (North Queensland Cowboys), Matt Moylan (Penrith Panthers), James Graham (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs) and Nathan Friend (Gold Coast Titans) gathered ahead of what shapes as an extraordinary Finals Series.
The Telstra Premiership Finals Series begins on Friday night when Brisbane Broncos hosts Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium and all eight players had their say on the upocming weekend.
Cameron Smith: We are very pleased about taking out the minor premiership, but in four weeks time there’s a Grand Final and a premiership up for grabs. You play the game for the big crowds and big atmosphere and we’re all looking forward to doing that.
Jason Taumololo: The Melbourne Storm are the bench mark at the moment and it just shows buy winning the minor premiership. They’re a lot better team than what they were last year and we are really looking forward to the challenge on Saturday night.
Corey Parker: It’s certainly a good way to start the finals series off by having a local derby in Brisbane.
Nathan Friend: I think it takes more than a bit of butter to put Corey off his game. He’s been around a while and he’s pretty experienced.
James Graham: We wanted to play in September at the start of the year. We’ve all worked hard to do this and we find ourselves in a position where we get to play football at this time of the year. We’re all going to get really excited and just take that energy out there.
BE THERE at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, September 11 and support your Bulldogs as we fight to continue our finals campaign and take on Penrith Panthers in a must-win elimination final. Get your tickets here: www.nrl.com.au/tickets
Matt Moylan: We know we have a tough task ahead of us playing the Bulldogs this week and we’re going to have to work hard throughout the week to make sure where on top of it.
Jarrod Croker: We obviously set goals at the start of the year, but probably didn’t expect to get that high on the ladder. For the boys to sneak into second was great for us and it will be great for Canberra this week to have a home semi.
Paul Gallen: We know how good of an attacking side they are (Canberra) and I think everyone knows that because they scored 100 more points than the next closest side. We need to control where we give them the ball and how we give them the ball. If we can do that and go set for set with them, we think we can get the win.
NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series – Week 1
Elimination Final: Friday, September 9, 7.55pm, Suncorp Stadium
NRL: (5) Brisbane Broncos v (8) Gold Coast Titans
Holden Cup: (2) Nth Qld Cowboys v (3) St George-Illawarra Dragons, 5.15pm
Qualifying Final: Saturday, September 10, 5.35pm, GIO Stadium
NRL: (2) Canberra Raiders v (3) Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Holden Cup: (5) Sydney Roosters v (8) Canberra Raiders, 2.55pm
Qualifying Final: Saturday, September 10, 7.55pm, AAMI Park
NRL: (1) Melbourne Storm v (4) North Qld Cowboys
Elimination Final: Sunday, September 11, 4.10pm, Allianz Stadium
NRL: (6) Penrith Panthers v (7) Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Holden Cup: (1) Penrith Panthers v (4) Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, 1.30pm
Holden Cup: (6) Wests Tigers v (7) Parramatta Eels, 11.10am