BROWNIE: NRL Grand Finalists will only come from the top four
Manly Sea Eagles celebrate the try of Glenn Stewart. AAP Image/Dean Lewins
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Looking at the teams at the moment, Canterbury and Manly are everyone’s pick at this stage to play in the Grand Final – and with good reason.
I just can’t see a team from outside of the four making a serious bid for the title.
The exception, perhaps, are North Queensland, who have the dynamic duo of Thurston and Bowen in top form and are looking threatening. But they could still make the four anyway.
Canterbury have clearly been the most consistent side this season, which is why they’re leading the competition. But, as I said a few weeks back, with all their players on the field, Manly are still the team to beat.
They’ve got so many players who have been there, and done it all before. And it’s essentially the same squad that has won two and lost one out of the past five grand finals.
Looking at the history of the AFL finals system, which the NRL’s is based on, as well as the English Super League, it’s extremely rare for a team outside of the top four to make a charge for the title.
In fact, Leeds’ efforts last year in the Super League was the first time a side has come outside of the top four to won the Grand Final. And in the AFL, no one has ever come from outside the top four to make the Grand Final.
So going on that trend, Souths and Melbourne are both still a chance this year.
Souths have made some great stides under new coach Michael Maguire. What I like most about them is that the best players are also their biggest players.
Inglis, Taylor, Sutton, and Burgess are all 100kgs plus, and they are the team’s most natural footballers. They are big, athletic, and understand where the space is and their ability to promote the ball is unique.
To have so many players like that in the one side is a real asset.
The Storm have arguably the form coach of the past 10 years in Bellamy. And, of course, we all know how strong they are in the 9,7,1 axis.
Both those sides are definitely a chance of making the grand final.
But for me, it’s still Manly’s year. Again.
They just look too well drilled and have too many big game players. Just so long as they can keep their stars on the field.
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