NRL Grand Final 2012: Canterbury Bulldogs vs Melbourne Storm live scores
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Canterbury Bulldogs will meet Melbourne Storm in the 2012 NRL Grand Final. (Image: Supplied)
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Canterbury Vs. Melbourne
2012 NRL Premiership Season, 1 October, 2012
|ANZ Stadium, Sydney, NSW|
|Melbourne 14 defeated Canterbury 4|
|Referee: T Archer|
|Touch judges: R Turner & P Holland|
The 2012 NRL Grand Final promises to be one of the closest deciders in living memory as minor premiers the Canterbury Bulldogs clash against premiership heavyweights Melbourne Storm. Join us for live scores and commentary of the 2012 NRL Grand Final.
2012 NRL Grand Final Kickoff: 5.15pm AEST.
After missing the finals in 2010, the Bulldogs have become a formidable unit in season 2012, winning 15 of their past 16 matches en route to their first grand final appearance since 2004.
Canterbury’s latest victory saw them demolish South Sydney in last week’s preliminary final, registering a 32-8 win.
After a tough opening 20 minutes, the Bulldogs regained momentum midway through the first half after Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds succumbed to a hamstring injury.
With Reynolds gone, South Sydney lost their direction in attack. They began to make cheap errors that allowed Canterbury to seize permanent control of the contest.
Canterbury however can expect a much tougher arm wrestle tonight against a Melbourne outfit that continues to set the benchmark in discipline, composure and intensity.
The Storm put reigning premiers Manly to the sword last week, opening the Sea Eagles up en route to a 40-12 win that now sees Melbourne contesting their fifth grand final in seven seasons.
After suffering a worrying five match losing streak post Origin period, Melbourne has bounced back superbly, winning its past seven matches to storm into the 2012 NRL decider.
Against Manly, Melbourne were at their clinical best with Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk once again the architects behind a Storm outfit that scored seven tries against the hapless Sea Eagles.
Under the tutelage of Des Hasler and Craig Bellamy, Canterbury and Melbourne have become a model of class and consistency so expect tonight’s contest to go down to the wire.
The Bulldogs possess an important advantage upfront with all of their forwards capable of playing before the line.
Greg Eastwood, Frank Pritchard, Sam Kasiano, James Graham and Aidan Tolman were all superb against South Sydney as they constantly kept the ball moving in a bid to ignite the second-phase play needed for the likes of Ben Barba and Josh Morris to shine outwide.
The Bulldogs pack will also gain confidence from the fact that they dominated Melbourne upfront in the two matches they have played against them this season.
If Canterbury’s forwards can build on their strong showing against the Rabbitohs, Melbourne will struggle for territory, thus decreasing the space that Slater, Smith and Cronk need to wreck havoc.
Despite the Bulldogs firepower upfront, the Storm does possess the better class in the backline.
Although Canterbury’s backline is led by Barba, it will be interesting to see how the likes of Barba, Keating, and Reynolds will cope against a Storm backline containing arguably the NRL’s most dominant players.
The attacking chemistry shared between Slater, Smith and Cronk is unrivalled in the NRL and the Bulldogs will have a tough time keeping the trio quite if Melbourne is able to match Canterbury in the battle for field position.
Storm players such as Will Chambers and Justin O’Neill are also in terrific form with both players very capable of opening up Canterbury out wide if they continue to receive first class service from Slater and company.
With Melbourne’s attack running like clock work at the best of times, expect any ill-discipline and poor handling from the Bulldogs to be punished severely by a Storm backline that will be at its clinical best come kickoff.
Overall, both teams possess match winners across the park and tonight’s grand final could end up being one of the best NRL deciders of the modern era.
While the Bulldogs do possess home ground advantage and the mercurial talents of Barba, the big game experience that Slater, Smith and Cronk bring to the table may just be enough for Melbourne to secure the 2012 premiership.
Storm by 4.
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