Here we are league fans. One week out from the big dance.
The teams have now been decided. Come Sunday the Manly Sea Eagles will do battle with the Sydney Roosters to see who will be crowned victors for year 2013.
This week in my household, NRL is all we are talking about.
Last night I was speaking with my dad and he mentioned the tremendous respect he had for the Roosters and their progress this year.
He commented how he never thought he would find himself cheering for players like Mitchell Pearce, Jared Warea-Hargreaves and Sonny Bill Williams.
We had a brief discussion about why this might be the case and my dad kept bringing up the Roosters coach, Trent Robinson and what a tremendous job he has done in turning the Sydney Roosters into a truly professional outfit.
The Roosters have truly been the best team throughout 2013.
Their results speak for themselves – particularly the amount of teams they have been able to hold to zero this year (six to date) and some of the tremendous scorelines they have put on their opponents (I am a Parramatta supporter, I remember their destruction of the Eels earlier this year, though I have tried to forget it).
Throughout the season, I have blogged many times on the importance of player behaviour and the need for football players to begin to understand that they are role models (whether they would like to be or not).
I find it no coincidence that the Roosters have continued their fine form throughout September and have continued taking a professional approach to the way they conduct themselves off the field, particularly since around August this year, the Roosters put in place a self-imposed alcohol ban.
While in the past, such bans have not worked as intended, with Todd Carney and Nate Myles both being sacked, this time the playing group seems committed to each other and their results are doing the talking.
Alcohol has long been a part of sporting clubs.
When you look at all the negative press the NRL has received this year, so much of it comes down to players behaving irresponsibly and so many of these incidents are the direct result of alcohol.
I cannot put it down to coincidence that the Roosters have performed so well this week – especially when you consider their position last year, BJ Leilua and Mitchell Pearce were all through the papers and the Roosters were not performing anywhere near the level they are now.
I don’t want to write too much about Sonny Bill Williams because most NRL fans are sick of hearing about him.
The only people that don’t appear to be sick of him are Channel Nine.
For those of you watching the grand final this weekend, perhaps we should have a little game to see who can guess the number of promo videos of the man they will have.
However, despite all this, from all accounts, he has had an extremely positive impact on the Roosters this year and we are seeing the results.
No longer are the Roosters a club all about talking the talk – now they are walking the walk too.
I respect the stance the Roosters have taken this weekend and wish them all the best in their game against Manly this weekend.