Date: Sunday 2nd October 2017
Kick Off: 09:25
Venue: ANZ Stadium Sydney)
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Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys
After a year of big hits, great tries and plenty of talking points the 2017 NRL season comes to a head as the Melbourne Storm meet the North Queensland Cowboys in the 2017 NRL Grand Final in a match that you can watch live online from the impressive ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Both Melbourne and North Queensland know exactly what it takes to go to the Grand Final and come away with the win but neither side will have been involved in a Grand Final such as this one.
The Storm have dominated the 2017 NRL, in a similar way to the Castleford Tigers for European Rugby League fans, and there 30-0 win over the Brisbane Broncos in the semi-final simply highlighted that dominance.
For a team to go into the Grand Final and be such heavy favourites is a testament to how strong the Storm have been all season long but it also highlights just how unlikely it is that they are facing the North Queensland Cowboys.
For any team to lose their star players, it will hit them hard but when that player is Johnathan Thurston, a man the Cowboys build their entire team around, it was no surprise to see the Cowboys limp to the end of the regular season. Thanks to other results going their way, the Cowboys somehow ended up in the play offs where in all honesty little was expected of them.
In the first round, they came up again the reigning champions but they came away from Cronulla with a 1-point extra time win and that seems to have bene the shot of confidence the Cowboys needed as over the past couple of weeks they have defeated the Eels and the Roosters, both on the road and with wins in each of their last 4 Sydney matches, the belief and expectancy is started to build amongst the Cowboys fans.
The Storm have simply been untouchable for the past few months with 9 straight wins coming into this one
The Cowboys have now won their last 3 matches and 4 of their last 5 but it has been their away performances that have impressed lately with wins in each of their last 4 outside of Townsville and all of those came in Sydney.
The Storm have won the last 6 meetings between the 2 sides.
Melbourne Storm make no changes to their 17 man squad for the NLR Grand Final although Ryley Jacks replaces Jahrome Hughes as a back up.
Similarly, the North Queensland Cowboys make no changes to their 17 man squad for the Grand Final but have named Matt Scott in reserve.
Grand Finals are always difficult matches to predict and the 2017 NRL Grand Final is no different.
On the one hand, you have the all-conquering Melbourne Storm who go into this match on a fantastic winning run and with all of their key players in top form. On the other hand, you have the Cowboys who scraped into the finals and have gotten through to this final by giving 100% commitment and by having a never say die attitude despite a number their key players either injured or struggling.
Whilst that may seem like this will be a forgone conclusion and there could be no other result than a Melbourne Storm victory, the Grand Final is as much about dealing with the build up to the match and the pressure of having to perform on the biggest stage of them all.
Whilst both teams have players with lots of experience of doing just that and most importantly experiencing of winning on the biggest stage, both also have players where this is a new experience and that is where the game will be won and lost.
With so much quality on both sides of the field errors will be at a premium but they will also be capitalised on to the fullest and that yet again simply ramps up the pressure.
Michael Morgan has put in some fantastic performances as of late but he will need help from the likes of Te Maire Martin in this one and since his move he hasn’t performed to the best of his capability. On the other hand, the half back pairing of Cooper Cronk and Cameron Munster has clicked all season. With this been Cooper Cronks last game for the Storm, he will be wanting to out with a bang and we can see him putting in a man of the match level performance in this one.
The Cowboys certainly have the advantage in the forwards but it is the backs that provide the creativity needed to open teams up in finals and in what we expect to be a tight match throughout that key partnership of Slater, Cronk, Munster and Smith will prove the difference and will give the Storm another NRL title in what will be a must watch match for any Rugby fan.
Our Prediction: Melbourne Storm by 10
Agree or disagree with us? Put your money where your mouth is!