Tough, uncompromising and brutal. Welcome to the 2012 semi-final series.
I enjoyed week one of the finals. Some of the games weren't overly skillful but they were fierce and competitive.
Eight now becomes six with Cronulla and Brisbane bundled out of the title race.
Of the remaining six clubs, some were incredibly strong in week one, others were grossly disappointing.
CANTERBURY: In the box seat for a grand final. They deserve to be one of the favourites.
The Bulldogs are playing with confidence and I thought they handled the physical side of Friday night's match with Manly exceptionally well.That match will be the ideal hit-out before their grand final qualifier. Manly mounted plenty of pressure on Canterbury at times - but the Dogs held tight.
MANLY: I thought they over-did the physical stuff and that led to them conceding penalties.
They just didn't play their normal game and certainly weren't as fluent in attack.
Jamie Lyon will be a massive loss if he is ruled out through injury.
From premiership favourites just a week ago, the Sea Eagles now find themselves in a bit of trouble.
CANBERRA: They are travelling well although I didn't think they were at their best on Sunday against Cronulla.
They will certainly need to improve on that performance against Souths this Saturday night.
The Raiders committed plenty of errors and I think they perhaps under-estimated Cronulla for the opening 20 minutes. They will learn from that match.
NORTH QUEENSLAND: I like what I see. They have a good mix at the moment of semi-final grind and individual brilliance.
Defensively they are strong, particularly coming off their tryline.
They have a good bill of health at the moment (aside from hooker Aaron Payne) and are full of running. The Cowboys look dangerous.
SOUTH SYDNEY: They are struggling after a disappointing performance against Melbourne.
They appeared a little overwhelmed at AAMI Park.
Semi-final footy is about pressure and I am not sure Souths coped with that against the Storm.
They will no doubt be better for the run - but will need to improve dramatically if they are to stay alive in week three.
MELBOURNE: They are finishing the season in stellar form. They have big match players and will only get better.
We shouldn't forget they were missing some class players against Souths - Jason Ryles, Anthony Quinn, Todd Lowrie and Sika Manu.
The Storm will be a powerhouse when some of these blokes return.I also think Melbourne will have learned a lot from their preliminary final exit last year to New Zealand.
They won't let that happen again in 2012.