NRL 2006: The Decider!

It all started on the 10th of March with the Dragons and Tigers and will end about 8:45 Sunday night with either the Broncos or the Storm being the 2006 NRL Premiers. It has been an interesting season but the post mortem will come later. The immediate concern is who will win Sunday’s game.

But before I do that let’s get one thing clear. I am tired of the wailing from the sackcloth and ashes crowd, both in the NRL and AFL, bemoaning no local sides in the deciders. Get over it. There are 13 clubs in the NRL and 14 in the AFL who failed to make the grand final. You don’t hear their fans crying about the state of the game because their club didn’t make it. It should be all about the best two clubs at the end of the season. Both codes have expanded and this narrow-minded state based parochialism concerned with the “rights” of Sydney or Melbourne based clubs to be in the respective grand final is to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Except for State of Origin of course.

Now, let me tell you who is going to win…

The Melbourne Storm. They have been by far the best team all year. Of course that means nothing in the grand final as the 2001 decider showed. But as good as the Broncos were to come from behind to beat the Chokedogs the Storm were just so very impressive against the Dragons.

Phil Gould and Roy Masters have two pieces in today’s SMH on how they would coach the Bronocs and Storm. As Roy Masters notes, the Storm have so much variety around the rucks with Slater always a lurking danger. The Broncos would be wise to note when the Eels played the Storm, Hindmarsh shut Slater down around the rucks. Hindmarsh made sure that when Slater tried to go through the ruck he would end up in a Hindmarsh tackle, something that he also has done in State of Origin. If Brisbane can do the same it removes the danger from Slater exploding up the middle. However it does mean the ball will go out wide where the Storm have more than enough firepower to run riot.

Webcke will play a blinder in the first 20 minutes of his final game. However the packs are evenly matched so the battle will be between the Cronk, Lockyer and the outside backs.

The final score will be 26 points to 10 with the Storm prevailing after some quite open play at times.

Cross posted at Larvatus Prodeo.

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7 Responses to NRL 2006: The Decider!

  1. Chris Lloyd says:

    If you are referring to my post Shaun you should try reading it. My opening comment about no Melbourne team in the GF is just a topical entry into the subject. I am not particularly worried about the Swans and Eagles playing off. What I lament is that the top Melbourne teams do not play off.

    Come to think of it, why do they not have a play off of the two highest finishing Melbourne teams after the GF? Answer is obvious. Because it would be a challenge to the fiction that the AFL is a proper national competition. Because it would acknowledge that the 10 Victorian teams have their own separate identity.

    Oh. And as for “narrow-minded state based parochialism” you can’t go past the Adelaide crowd at Footy Park!

  2. Shaun says:

    I was more referring to a stupid piece on ‘A Current Affair’ this evening (it may have been ‘Today Tonight – I can’t tell them apart) and some op-eds/comments I’ve seen in the newspapers over the past week rather than your post. You’d think it was the end of civilization having no Sydney/Melbourne teams in the GF for allegedly national competitions.

    The whole VFL v AFL argument is outside of my ken so I’ll defer to you on that one.

  3. Chris Lloyd says:

    Sorry Shaun for the tone. I was being a little touchy.

  4. Rafe Champion says:

    Slater was well held by the Dragons. He is probably due for a blinder. King could be ready to explode as well, his best work was done in defence the other night when he practically closed down Gasnier.

    The biggest danger for the Storm will be the psychological blow if Brisbane get a flying start. It will be 2001 revisited, after the Storm played so well all year, to find things going wrong in the big game. Also they are short on experience in big games compared with Brisbane.

    It will be interesting to see how the Storm try to restrict Lockyer, Hill is too slow to do the job. Likewise to see how they counter Hodges who is probably the best kick return runner in the game at present.

  5. Oz says:

    Hopefully the Storm will win though it’s hard to tell. Brisbane have a strong forward pack but the Storm have a creative backline and factor in Bellamy knowing about how the Broncos operate. Anyway we’ll probably see in the first 15 minutes who is likely to win. More often than not, it’s who loses the game not necessarily who wins it.

  6. Shaun says:

    Scolling through my old Troppo post I found at prediction I got correct:

    Going out on a limb, the Grand Final will be between two non-Sydney teams. The teams being the Storm and the Broncos.

  7. Shaun says:

    Albeit it was only one but that should qualify me as a seer.

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