After a long and bruising season we will reach our conclusion this Sunday with the Brisbane Broncos taking on the North Queensland Cowboys in the first-ever all Queensland Grand Final. Who will come out on top on the biggest stage? Continue reading for our NRL Grand Final Preview and Betting Tips.
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Brisbane Broncos vs North Queensland Cowboys (Sunday 7.15pm AEST)
For the first time in NRL history it will be an all Queensland NRL Grand Final as the dominance of the Maroons in recent years is now being displayed in first grade. The stories to come out of Grand Final week have been massive with Johnathan Thurston writing his own name in the history books becoming the first player to win four Dally M Medals. Thurston is looking for his first premiership since winning with the Bulldogs in 2004 as he came off the bench as a 21-year old. The other headline is of course Brisbane captain Justin Hodges being cleared by the judiciary to play in his final match before retirement, keeping his hope of a fairy tale finish alive.
These two sides met in the opening week of the finals and it was of course the Broncos who came out on top in that match. The North Queensland side did create the majority of the chances but they lacked the fluency in their attack required to break the solid defensive outfit that they were facing. Since then, their attack has returned as they scored more than 30 points against the Sharks and Storm on their way to the Grand Final. It was no secret Michael Morgan struggled against the Broncos but his return to form has allowed Johnathan Thurston to sit back more and pick his spots on when to get involved. Morgan’s running game has also been deadly as he has scored and set up tries in both matches.
However, the halves pairing of Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford has been just as dominant this season. The two have combined for 23 tries, 28 try assists and 22 line breaks. Milford relies heavily on his running game but has shown a lot of finesse throughout the year whilst Hunt is a more creative play that picks his spots wisely on when to take on the line.
The forward pack battle will set up the match for their star halves and backlines to look to put points on the board. The starting forwards from either side a relatively even with the Cowboys getting a slight upper hand and their bench is clearly stronger however the Broncos starting side plays the majority of minutes. I am leaning towards North Queensland gaining the upper hand in this area if they are able to complete their sets they should make the majority of metres and Jake Granville will be a constant threat darting out of dummy half.
This will lay the platform for Thurston, Morgan and Coote to get involved in the back line and break the defence open of the Broncos. It will be an extremely close match with the thirst for success from Thurston getting his side a memorable victory.
A Cowboys win will suggest Johnathan Thurston will receive the Clive Churchill Medal, however at such a short price I am leaning towards a bit more value with Matt Scott being dominant throughout the match and leading from the front for his side.
In recent weeks Justin O’Neill has linked with Thurston on multiple occasions to find the white line. He crossed twice against the Storm as his pace and line running saw him burn his opposition. I am backing him to get the better of his opposition centre Jack Reed as did Blake Fergurson last weekend.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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