On October 2nd this year, the crowds will return to ANZ Stadium to witness the 2016 NRL Grand Final. Last year, the North Queensland Cowboys and the Brisbane Broncos produced one of the most thrilling Grand Final matches in NRL history, which ended with a golden point kick from Jonathan Thurston in extra time to win it for the Cowboys.
It is yet to be decided who will be playing off in this year’s Grand Final, so as we approach the finals, let’s take a look at how each of the top 6 teams are fairing, and their likelihood to achieve the ultimate goal.
Once again at the pointy end of the year, the Storm see themselves sitting on top of the NRL ladder, three points clear of the second placed Sharks. Despite losing star player Billy Slater early in the year to a shoulder injury, partners in crime Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk have continued to put wins on the board and secure top spot.
The Sharks have had a tremendous season in 2016, with James Moloney currently the second highest point scorer in the league, and Valentine Holmes the second highest try scorer. If the Sharks can maintain their good form across the board they are a good chance to make the Grand Final and potentially win the clubs first NRL premiership.
The Raiders have won their last 8 games in a row, including an impressive win over the Storm, and coming up against two lower ranked teams in Manly Sea Eagles and the Wests Tigers in the next two weeks, the Raiders will be primed to launch their premiership campaign. Jarrod Croker has been key to Raiders success in 2016, leading scoring in the league convincingly on 248 points to date.
Canterbury have not been as convincing as they would have liked leading into the finals, having suffered recent losses to North Queensland and Brisbane, and going into extra time against Manly. This is not the type of form the Bulldogs would want to be carrying into the finals, especially with another tough game against the Cowboys this weekend. The punters haven’t got behind the Bulldogs either, despite sitting fourth on the ladder, they have the longest odds of anyone in the top six to take out the premiership.
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Looking to experience the same glory as last season, North Queensland haven’t been able to maintain much consistency this year, with a record of 3-8 away from home. However, they are currently the second favourite behind the Storm to take out the premiership this year.
There won’t be a team hungrier for a premiership than the Broncos after their heartbreaking loss in last year’s Grand Final. Having said this, it is going to be a big task to win the premiership from where they currently sit, especially coming up against Storm in Melbourne this weekend.
Up until this point of the season, the form teams of the competition have been Melbourne Storm and Cronulla Sharks. At the moment, the premiership is still well and truly up for grabs, but if both teams can remain healthy, they will most likely be playing off in the Grand Final, with the Raiders and Cowboys the only other teams I can see knocking them out.
As a Melbourne supporter, I have got to back the Storm in to win it all. Their mixture of young talent and veteran experience has proved to be a winning formula so far, and shouldn’t change on the big stage.
If last year is anything to go off, we could be in for another thrilling NRL Grand Final in 2016. Why not experience it first hand at ANZ Stadium? There are a number of different packages and experiences available, just Go There!