New South Wales fans may have been left without a team of their own in Sunday’s NRL grand final, but there is plenty to be excited about when the two Queensland-based powerhouses do battle at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
“I know what it means to the region”.
This weekend will not be the first to satisfy the expansionists – in 2006, out-of-town teams contested both the NRL’s and AFL’s grand finals – but the presence of the Cowboys highlights that even when histories are newly minted, they often walk the same path as older narratives.
Channel Nine is the official free-to-air broadcaster of the National Rugby League and will provide coverage of this week’s final.
Former Queensland treasurer Andrew Fraser, who is now NRL’s head of strategy and investment, may hail from the small town of Proserpine in North Queensland, but he’s backing a Broncos win. You can also try your luck with the NRL Livestream web app. It’s not just Townsville, it is the whole region.
NRL.com: You mentioned you’re a proud Queenslander, are you happy to see the first all-Queensland decider?
HOOKER Royce Simmons, playing his last game at 33, was the unlikely hero of Penrith’s last gasp grand final win over Canberra, scoring from a Raiders goal-line drop out before emotionally declaring he wanted to have a beer with every single Penrith supporter to celebrate.
Sunday’s decider, then, more than any of the previous 38 games they’ve contested, gives the Cowboys a gilt-edged chance to upset the natural order and redeem their struggles with a title and an achievement that no-one can take away from them.
“The halves can’t play if the forwards don’t lay the groundwork for them”.
Cowboys bookends Matt Scott and James Tamou are guaranteed to chalk up massive numbers and leave nothing in the tank, while Broncos counterparts Adam Blair and Sam Thaiday are the types to reel off a big hit or produce an inspirational run to turn the tide of a match. The style of play that they play is really enterprising. “I just think around the middle with those little plays Hunt and Milford and Darius Boyd do around the middle of the field can worry the Cowboys”, said Joey. I’ve been supporting them since I was 12-years-old.
Because much of the rest of the rugby league world will be cheering for Johnathan Thurston to deliver North Queensland the inaugural premiership his region craves and his career deserves.
While the odds are against the match going ahead next season, the fact it is again being discussed shows the NRL is moving closer to staging a premiership fixture in the northern hemisphere. West Coast supporters have also been forced to find inventive ways – including travelling via Bali – to make it to the AFL grand final against Hawthorn in Melbourne on Saturday.