It’s been a long and gruelling season but we’re finally here at the big one, the 2017 NRL grand final.
Storm v Cowboys
No one is surprised to see the Storm contest yet another grand final – they have taken their game to yet another level in 2017 and are proof that consistency certainly pays off. Their opponents, well, they’re perhaps the complete opposite. The men from the far north have reached the final week of the season not on the back of consistency, but rather, that other effective mode of transportation in the NRL . . . momentum!
Despite losing four of their last five matches in the regular season, the Cowboys snuck into the finals and to say they have taken their chances is an understatement. They have played error-free footy and exhibited a level of confidence that you can’t help but admire.
As for the Storm, it is no stretch to say this is the most dominant side we have seen in the NRL era. Take away the two Origin affected defeats, the Storm have lost just two matches with their full compliment of players all season. Wow! Craig Bellamy’s side’s second half demolition of Brisbane last week was the highest level of play we’ve seen all year. And the fear for the Cowboys is if that’s the way the Storm sent Cooper Cronk off in his final game in Melbourne, what performance will they put in for him in his final game for Melbourne ever?
The Cowboys run to the grand final is certainly no fluke, however, coming up against a Storm side this good and this experienced and this hungry to make amends for last year’s heartbreaker will be too much for them to handle.
Prediction: Storm -9.5 @ $1.90
Clive Churchill Medal Winner
Picking the best on ground from a team of superstars is always a difficult proposition. Anyone of the Melbourne’s big guns can take home the Clive Churchill medal but we think the occasion and the emotion of the day will bring out the best in the consummate professional, Cooper Cronk. He was the best player on the park and winner of the medal when the Storm last hoisted the Provan-Summons shield back in 2012 and we’re backing him to do it again in his final game for the Storm.
If you are looking for value, Felise Kaufusi, the Storm’s offloading maestro was the man who sparked two crucial tries in the preliminary final last week and @ $26 he may be worth a dabble.
Prediction: Cooper Cronk @ $5.00 (0.25 units)
Quite surprisingly, he didn’t get in on the tryscoring fest last weekend but we expect Suliasi Vunivalu to return with a bang on Sunday night. The Fijian flyer comes up against Antonio Winterstein who is a solid defender but struggles in the air and the Storm will look to exploit that through Vunivalu.
Prediction: Vunivalu to score 2+ tries @ $3.60 (0.5 units)