The Sharks have dominated the Cowboys 32-20, and made it to their first grand final since Super League in doing so.
Defending premiers out with pride
After seeing the Souths get dunked in their title defense last year, North Queensland haven’t disappointed in their title defense – and although they were outclassed tonight, they stayed in the mix throughout the season and solidified their premiership win as more than just a fluke. With Thurston and Matt Scott coming in to the twirling of their careers, they’ll still have to prove to the doubters they can roll with the big boys without their Queensland stars.
Ennis fights for another day
He said in a pre-match interview he’d try to cut down on the grubby antics, but he’s more than that – it’s fitting that the career of Michael Ennis will finish with a grand final considering it was a grand final he cruelly missed in 2014 when he was still at Canterbury. Though he has already lost one – Canterbury 2012 – he’ll be a part of a key Sharks core that have experience in the big dance, along with their pivot in James Maloney and fullback Ben Barba.
The Swans have smacked Geelong to make it to the AFL Grand Final, and if the Raiders can beat Melbourne then there is going to be no Victorian team in either major grand final – and if we are counting the ACT as NSW (because really it is) then they’re all teams from the Blue state; better than that all-Queensland GF last year.
Late lapse still a worry for Cronulla
Though it was in the bag, Shane Flanagan is likely not going to be happy in his charges letting Thurston and the Cowboys run in a triad of tries with ten minutes left – a mistake of that magnitude against the Raiders or Storm could cost them a grand final. It’s unlikely that the Sharks would let it happen two weeks in a row but stranger things have happened, and if there was anything Melbourne and Canberra take out of that game it’s that Cronulla put one of their weaknesses on show for all to see.