NRL Grand Final Preview

NRL Grand Final Preview

The Storm have been the best team all year, losing just four times, and blitzed the Broncos 30-0 in their preliminary final.

It was a fitting way to finish what was an emotional day for a club that has appeared in a league-high seven grand finals in the NRL era but never farewelled a core member.

"The Big Three" then combined for the final try, Slater offloading to Tohu Harris who through a long pass out on the wing to Addo-Carr.

The best chance the Cowboys have of upsetting the Storm is to get up in the favourites' faces early.

Finding holes in the Storm is hard, but if you were looking for negatives, you could - before this victory - have pointed to their failure to convert competition dominance into title victories.

"But Melbourne were very good, they controlled the field position in that first half really, really well and probably defensively we didn't execute the way we needed to". The Bega-born prop had previously lost three grand finals, but it looked like that Storm magic dust had finally seeped into his skin.

His status as an elite playmaker and ball runner means defenders have no choice but to approach him with hesitation, thinking both about closing down the ball and getting their positioning right to absorb the contact if he runs, which sooner or later will result in a misread or a mistake.

As the scrum set, the stadium audio played the old Talking Heads classic "Road to Nowhere".

Storm stars Dale Finucane and Cameron Smith celebrate after a deft pass put Finucane over the try line

And for the first 20 minutes of the second half, they were the better side. Their game plan without Thurston was sturdy and low-risk, good enough to get them past brittle opponents in September but no match for the Storm in October. We think the best option is Melbourne to win by 11 or more points at $1.90.

We just tried to limit his impact on the game, to limit what he is capable of doing and make him uncomfortable.

This Cowboys team must feeling like they can do anything right now, having defied popular opinion just to make the finals, before overcoming the odds to get through to the decider.

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith was named the Dally M Medallist after he was voted the player of the year, and he's also considered a $2.75 wager to add a Clive Churchill medal (man of the match) to his trophy cabinet on Sunday.

Asked for his thoughts on the prospect of prolonging his illustrious career, Slater told Channel Nine: "I really don't know yet".

The Cowboys won the grand final two years ago in the 79th minute.

The Cowboys will be hoping that they can keep the intensity up for the whole game.

"He's going to be a big factor if they're going to win the comp".




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