NRL – 2015 GRAND FINAL PLAYS
Welcome to NRL Grand Final Plays for 2015. We are now down to the final two teams for this year premiership.
How ironic that the two teams are based from North of the border, Brisbane Broncos up against the North Queensland Cowboys.
The local derby played in NSW.
BRISBANE BRONCOS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
BETTING: BRONCOS $1.90 – COWBOYS $1.95
The only certainty in the first all-Queensland Telstra Premiership Grand Final is that at the end of 80 minutes two great warriors who happen to be close friends will find each other out and share an exhausted embrace.
For Justin Hodges or Johnathan Thurston it will be a moment of sheer elation and the realisation of a truly unique achievement; the other will be left in tears barely able to lift his head.
The ‘not guilty’ verdict delivered by the judiciary on Tuesday night affords Hodges to at least lead the Brisbane Broncos out for one more time in his 251st and final match with the possibility of ending his career in a manner few are privileged to experience.
For Thurston, his burning desire to deliver North Queensland a maiden premiership that formed part of the reason he stayed at the Cowboys would elevate his standing in the game to a level few in history have ever reached.
One of many other intriguing sub-plots surrounds the two coaches: the master and his former apprentice.
Paul Green worked as a halves coach under Wayne Bennett at the Broncos from 2005-2008 before he was promoted to an assistant coach in 2009 under Ivan Henjak. He took Wynnum Manly to back-to-back Intrust Super Cup titles before joining the Roosters, where he coached the under-20s team to a Preliminary Final and served as an assistant in the NRL team’s premiership.
And then there’s Wayne.
After six years south of the border Bennett’s return to Brisbane could barely have been scripted more perfectly with the master coach shaping a competitive team in 2014 into one with an almost unbreakable resolve.
Since Round 5 the Broncos have been permanently situated in the top three on the NRL table and are now 80 minutes from delivering the club’s seventh premiership and an eighth for Bennett.
Sentiment has been running almost exclusively the way of the Cowboys but with big brother Brisbane standing in their way will it ultimately prove to be a fractured fairytale?
Referee: Gerard Sutton
Assistant Referee: Ben Cummins
Touch Judges: Brett Suttor and Steve Carrall
Video Referees: Bernard Sutton and Luke Patten
Watch Out Broncos
Not only is the left side of the Cowboys attack their most effective weapon it is also their most secure, having scored 45 tries and conceded just 19 over the course of 2015. The addition of Lachlan Coote at fullback and Johnathan Thurston’s combination with Gavin Cooper allows the Cowboys to throw good attacking shapes at the opposition defence with options short, long or out the back. Antonio Winterstein’s 16 tries is the best single-season haul of his career, Kane Linnett has scored 10 tries for just the third time while Cooper’s two tries against the Storm took his tally to 11 for the year. Of the 68 tries the Broncos have conceded this season 22 have come down the right edge of Matt Gillett, Ben Hunt, Justin Hodges and Jordan Kahu and they’ll need to be on song on Sunday.
Watch Out Cowboys
Momentum is everything in a grand final and scoreboard pressure mounts earlier than normal which is why the Cowboys can ill afford to give the team that misses the least number of tackles any kind of a head-start. In the opening 10 minutes of their games this season the Broncos have scored 11 tries and conceded just two but the figures read vastly different on the North Queensland side of the ledger. The Cowboys have conceded 14 tries in the opening 10-minute period of their games this season, the worst period of the game for them defensively. Besides their 39-0 win over the Sharks in Week Two of the finals the Cowboys have conceded the first try in every one of their games since Round 21; a dangerous habit to be in heading into the premiership decider.
HISTORY: Played 42; Brisbane 29, Cowboys 11, Drawn 2
Round 3: Broncos 44 – 22 Cowboys (Suncorp Stadium)
Round 10: Cowboys 31 – 20 Broncos (1300SMILES Stadium)
Qualifying Finals: Broncos 16 – 12 Cowboys (Suncorp Stadium)
OUR TIP: BRISBANE BRONCOS by 4pts
Here are our best plays for the 2015 NRL Grand Final.
PLAY 1: BRISBANE BRONCOS – PICK YOUR OWN LINE -2.5pt @ $2.15
PLAY 2: BRISBANE BRONCOS – MARGIN 1-12pts @ $3.05
PLAY 3: ANTHONY MILFORD TO SCORE A TRY & BRONCOS WIN @ $4.20
CLIVE CHURCHILL MEDAL WINNER – COREY PARKER @ $10.00
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