LIVE Grand Final Day

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winslow_wong

State of Origin Captain
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bris
Next year's a real test for them though. For years they have just found someone to sit at 5/8 outside Cronk. Now they have to replace him.
Cronk didn't do much tonight either but he does do a lot of those 1 percenters which will be hard to replace.
 
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Brisbane
Nobody could have scripted it better for Melbourne. After one of the most dominant seasons in NRL history, Melbourne capped it off with a dominant grand final victory.

If you look at a number of stats like missed tackles and errors, the game was fairly even. The Cowboys didn't gift the Storm too many chances in the game, the Storm had to create them which they did with and without the football. Unlike the Eels and the Roosters, the Storm didn't lose the arm wrestle and once Addo-Carr crossed in the 20th minute, you got the sense that whatever chance the Cowboys had diminished significantly.

The only try North Queensland ended up scoring was after three successive penalties and it came off the flattest of desperation passes. Otherwise the only other chance of the night came right on half-time where Feldt exploited a poor chase from Melbourne to race 50 odd metres. While it was an encouraging moment, it wasn't as telling as the 8 line-breaks the Melbourne Storm were able to conjure up.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Slater named the Clive Churchill medalist. He was a constant threat around the ruck the entire evening and his efforts to set up the Felise Kaufusi try and score one himself was what essentially sealed the contest for them. The Clive Churchill medalist is usually a hot topic of discussion and most would argue that Andrew Fifita should have got it last year, or that Johnathan Thurston didn't deserve it in 2015 (albeit, outside of his assist in the Gillett try and the missed goal, I thought he was the difference between the two teams) but on this occasion Slater seemed like a fair choice. Other candidates would have been Addo-Carr, Chambers, J. Bromwich and Smith.

It will be interesting to go through the replay but it appeared the Storm's gameplan was based around limiting Taumalolo (which they succeeded in) and targeting both Lowe and Martin. With Lowe it appeared they went for his inside shoulder, instead of his outside like most teams would run at to get at Morgan. Melbourne were able to find some space through that gap so whoever was defending alongside him wasn't pushing across as strongly as they could have been. Meanwhile the decision to target Martin was predictable as the Storm use their right hand fringe better than any side in the competition. Melbourne are the masters of stropping numbers in the middle before drawing in the outside defenders and making Slater, Kaufusi, Chambers and Vunivalu all potential weapons.

The only real sad news story on the night was the injury to Shaun Fensom. It's being reported that he suffered a broken tibula and fibula. As soon as he went down, you could tell his night was over. Fensom is one of the toughest players in the game and the injuries he's played through is impressive. Unfortunately after making a career move to Townsville, Fensom only lasted 3 minutes into the Grand Final. At the very least, Fensom made the most of the injury, geeing up the crowd as he was carted off the field.

The legacy of this grand final is going to be remembered much like 2017, it was all Melbourne. Melbourne were by far the most dominant team in the competition, that eventually spilled into the Origin arena where the Storm spine swung the series to Queensland and it led to a deserved finals victory. Not since the Brisbane Broncos in 2000 has a side been so dominant and gone onto win a premiership and of all my years as an active fan, I see no shame in admitting they've surpassed that Broncos side as the best team I've seen.

It's going to be interesting to see what becomes of Melbourne moving forward. It appears most fans have written them off as back-to-back premiers ever since Cronk announced his departure. While I would have them behind a few teams, it wouldn't surprise me if Brodie Croft fills that void better than expected. Even in Tohu Harris and Jordan McLean the Storm have Joe Stimson and Ben Nakubuwai available to fill the void. Keep in mind as well that Jesse Bromwich had his worst season in years (still better than most prop forwards best) so there's still improvement left in Melbourne.

Meanwhile the Cowboys are the early favourites to take out the premiership. The logic is pretty simple, they basically have the same side except you can add Johnathan Thurston, Mat Scott and Jordan McLean to the equation. Another player I would throw into the mix is Josh Chudleigh who could be an improvement on the bench over Ben Hampton. On paper there's no reason why they can't go one better but as teams like the Broncos have realised you can't count your chickens before they hatch. The big concern for them will be their backline and their lack of strike out-wide. For all their forward dominance, the Cowboys struggled to make in-roads with their backline and at this stage it's hard to imagine players like Linnett or Winterstein will improve. Even players like Coote and O'Neil appear to be playing to their ability. I still think they will be there abouts and they certainly have something to play for in JT but I'm not prepared to hand them the trophy a year out.
 

Mitchell_Broncos

NRL Player
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Wahoo Fuck you cowboys and your fairy tail bullshit. Hows that though Slater comes back from injury and wins Dally M fullback of the year and gets Clive Churchill winner. Top bloke as well good on him. I know some of yous hate him but hes a top player.
 

Alec

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As much as I love them for about 6 weeks a year, I can't wait for all of the big 3 to retire. It's just too unfair to other sides. Also would be awesome to get Smith here as an assistant coach.
 

Alec

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As much as I love them for about 6 weeks a year, I can't wait for all of the big 3 to retire. It's just too unfair to other sides. Also would be awesome to get Smith here as an assistant coach.
While the only big thing about Milford is his stomach.
 

Broncs_Fan

NRL Player
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Wahoo Fuck you cowboys and your fairy tail bullshit. Hows that though Slater comes back from injury and wins Dally M fullback of the year and gets Clive Churchill winner. Top bloke as well good on him. I know some of yous hate him but hes a top player.
I dislike him because he is fake. He's also a grubby player.

No doubt he's a good player though. He's come a long way from the guy who was afraid to put his body on the line in certain situations at the beginning of his career.
 

Broncs_Fan

NRL Player
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I think I just hate the way the Storm have taken rugby league. Yes they have been successful - but has their style been good for the game overall? Probably not. I'd like to get back to a game where teams use the ball more and chance their arm. Less wrestle also.

The Wests Tigers were good to watch in 05.


I watched the South Africa vs. Wallabies games last night and I couldn't help but notice how open and free flowing it was compared to the Storm's robotic play.
 

Nashy

International Captain
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Cowboys played ordinary, and with no heart. They were fucked. It's still incredible they made it, it's a bigger achievement than the Storm winning for mine, and is what I will remember when I think about 2017.

That leg snap is fucked.
 

Broncs_Fan

NRL Player
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838
Cowboys played ordinary, and with no heart. They were fucked. It's still incredible they made it, it's a bigger achievement than the Storm winning for mine, and is what I will remember when I think about 2017.

That leg snap is fucked.
They needed things to go their way to have any chance. A starting forward getting injured inside the first 3 minutes was poison for their chances. They still played with heart. If they played without heart the score would have been 60-0.
 

Nashy

International Captain
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Brisbane
They needed things to go their way to have any chance. A starting forward getting injured inside the first 3 minutes was poison for their chances. They still played with heart. If they played without heart the score would have been 60-0.
I disagree. I think playing with heart is leaving everything you have on the field. I don't feel like many of their players were up for this.
 

Tom

State of Origin Rep
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It's bad enough Craig Bellamy is considered a "supercoach". At least Green isn't too........Hoorah?
 

Alec

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The Cowboys definitely didn't seem to play as well as they have the last few weeks. Maybe Melbourne was just too good and Cowboys could do nothing, sort of like us. Maybe they just ran out of steam throughout this whole run, it's happened many times to other teams too, there's only so much energy you can give.
 

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