Unwanted players could become Grand Final heroes
Riding high. The Bulldogs claimed the minor premiership with a win over the Roosters (AAP Image/Colin Whelan).
This year’s decider could come down to an unlikely hero. Forget about Barba, Slater, Smith, Cronk, Morris or Reynolds.
This grand final could well be decided by the unwanted players of season 2012, not the super stars.
Both coaches Des Hasler and Craig Bellamy are the masters of picking up unwanted players and turning them into good week in, week out performers.
Krisnan Inu joined the Bulldogs mid-season after the Warriors cut short his stay across the ditch. Inu has been outstanding since the move, and now finds himself in his third grand final for his third club.
Sam Perrett, a long-time Roosters hero, was shown the door by coach Brian Smith mid-season. Perrett has also suffered grand final defeat with the Roosters in 2010. The Rooster reject has been a massive gain for the Doggies and has linked well on the right with Inu.
Kris Keating joined Canterbury at the beginning of 2011 from the Eels. Keating is one player that has improved under coach Hasler and Eels fans must be shaking their heads at why they let him go.
It is ironic to note that all the coaches who made the decision to let Inu, Perrett and Keating go have also been let go by their respective clubs too.
For the Melbourne Storm it is becoming a tradition to resurrect players’ careers. Bryan Norrie is the most notable, who has hardly put a foot wrong since joining Melbourne in 2010.
This season Melbourne recruited Richie Fa’aosa from Newcastle mid-season, and he now finds himself in a grand final. A similar situation to that of Clint Newton, who also got cut mid-season by then Knights coach Brian Smith. Newton not only won a premiership ring but also scored a try in the 2007 grand final.
You can also throw Todd Lowrie into the mix. Lowrie played in the Eels losing grand final side in 2009. Whatever the reason, Lowrie signed with Melbourne for the 2010 season and has been a consistent performer for the Storm. His work in defense would have helped the Eels out this season.
Both sides have a very similar mix. It is the Hasler and Bellamy way to resurrect players’ careers and make them part of their teams’ structure.
Whoever wins on Sunday will sure have bragging rights until this time next season, but some players maybe crowing a little louder then others, especially at the clubs that didn’t want them.
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