David vs Goliath. Mighty Ducks vs Iceland. Add Melbourne vs North Queensland to the list of events with seemingly insurmountable odds. While on paper this years Grand Final might seem like a one sided affair, I am predicting that not all will go to plan for the minor premiers this weekend. No one thought that a Cowboy could lasso a Rooster and this weekend the Cowboys will be crowned champions.
Storm to strike first before Cowboys respond
If there is one word to describe North Queensland in the finals it is resilient. In their three games, they have managed to get back into the game after being behind on the scoreboard. Against both the Sharks and Eels, early tries were scored against them with the team needing to respond to early adversity. Melbourne are a team that are used to leading from the front and an early try will definitely be on the cards for them.
Half time heroes Melbourne go into the sheds with the lead
As one of the most consistent and methodical teams in the competition, Melbourne do not waste time getting themselves into a contest. They play a very safe and structured brand of football and are the masters of managing big games. It is due to this that they will find themselves leading the Cowboys when the whistle is blown for half time.
Watch the fingernails, things are going to be close
If there is one guarantee for the Grand Final, is that it will go down to the wire. Melbourne’s biggest loss this season was by sixteen points in a game that did not feature any of their origin stars. On the other hand, the Cowboys strength in this year’s final series has been to grind out tough games and make the big plays when needed. Both teams feature some of the best kickers in the game which will help their sides control field position and prevent their teams constantly being tested on their try line.
In a game featuring stars, Granville will shine the brightest
In Cooper Cronk’s final game for the Storm, he would be an easy pick to take out this years Clive Churchill Medal. The same could be said for Michael Morgan who has established himself as one of the best players in the NRL. Despite this, it will be Jake Granville who will be awarded the man of the match in this years decider. In reviewing the 2015 Grand Final, it is obvious that Johnathan Thurston had an impact on the result. He kept the ball alive in the final minutes and kicked the winning field goal to ultimately claim the premiership for his side. However, it was Granville who made the biggest mark for his side. To add to his 36 tackles he also was instrumental in setting up two of the Cowboys tries and continually posing a threat from dummy half. Granville is a big game performer and this weekend he will again perform on the games biggest stage.
Regardless of the result in this years Grand Final, it will be an epic contest between two of the most professional teams in the NRL. In what has already been a fantastic finals series, look for this weekend to be a game that is talked about for many years to come.