Not sure if your team can win the grand final on Sunday? Here’s five reasons why each team is sure to lift the Provan-Summons.
* Jared Waerea-Hargreaves – The Roosters winning percentage lifts dramatically with their star New Zealander in the side. It sits at just 44 per cent over the past three years without Waerea-Hargreaves, compared to 74 per cent when he plays. Waerea-Hargreaves missed the preliminary final through suspension and will be determined to make up for it in his fourth grand final.
* Grand final experience – The Roosters squad is littered with big-game experience with 14 of their 17 having played in a grand final. Cooper Cronk is playing in his ninth decider and the team have a combined 28 appearances. Canberra has one appearance – Joey Leilua in 2010. They’re the most inexperienced grand final squad since Melbourne in 2006.
* Cooper Cronk – There has been an argument circling this week that if Cronk had stayed in Melbourne last year it would be the Storm playing for back-to-back premierships on Sunday. The halfback’s influence is immense and he guided the Roosters to the premiership last year playing with a broken scapula.
*Left edge – The Roosters boast the most dangerous left edge in the NRL with Luke Keary, Latrell Mitchell, Boyd Cordner and Daniel Tupou combining for 56 of the Roosters’ 116 tries this season. But the Raiders right edge defence has only conceded 20 tries this season – less than one per game.
* Super coach – Trent Robinson can make history in his third grand final, just seven years into his NRL coaching career. No coach has won three grand finals in their first seven seasons since Clive Churchill did it with South Sydney in 1968-70.
FIVE REASONS CANBERRA CAN WIN
* Josh Papalii – The Roosters have conceded they cannot stop Papalii and all they can do is limit the damage. The Queensland star is in career-best form and has been putting up enormous numbers in the finals – running for a combined 342 metres in two games. Papalii ran for 154m when he last faced the Roosters in round 21.
* Defence – The Raiders turnaround this season has come through their defence which ranked third in the competition. They leaked just 15.5 points per game in the regular season but that has dropped to 10 points per game in the finals. Switching Canberra’s best defender Jack Wighton from fullback to five-eighth has proved a masterstroke. The Raiders also have the best goal-line defence in the competition.
* Ruffle Roosters feathers – Canberra may have lost both games but the only team to average more points against the Roosters this season is Newcastle. The Roosters have conceded 15.1 points per game in 2019 but leaked 23 points on average against Canberra. The only other team to score more than 20 points against the Roosters this season is the Knights. The Raiders did it in both their games against the Roosters.
* Underdogs – Canberra are $3 outsiders but there have been a number of upsets in the NRL era (post 1998). Melbourne stunned St George Illawarra in 1999, Andrew Johns led Newcastle past a star-studded Parramatta team in 2001, while Penrith shocked Ricky Stuart’s Roosters in 2003.
* Kick it to me – Canberra have only conceded 10 tries from kicks this season, the best in the NRL. The Roosters have the second-best record scoring from kicks with 26. Roosters winger Daniel Tupou has proved an aerial threat all season but his marker, Jordan Rapana, should prove equal to the task.