Sunday’s NRL grand final clash between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys is cause for celebration in the Sunshine State, as it will be the first all-Queensland final in the game’s history.
A FAIR percentage of the Queensland population will have nothing on their minds this weekend except who will win the NRL grand final tomorrow.
Hunt was sobbing after his gaffe, well before the Cowboys went into party mode following their stunning title triumph in their 21st anniversary year.
Johnathan Thurston has hailed North Queensland’s maiden NRL premiership as the crowning achievement of his career after putting the finishing touch on one of the most complete CVs in rugby league history. At one stage she wandered towards the Cowboys ball but didn’t pick it up.
SUPERCOACH Wayne Bennett has blasted the golden point rule, saying it was unfair his team lost their shot at premiership glory in extra time. His hole running and reading of Thurston’s short kicking game are improving every match, as was evidenced with his double against the Storm last week.
Thurston looked for Hunt after the final siren and embraced him.
The Cowboys threatened to hit back repeatedly through sustained possession but the Broncos were alert to Thurston’s favoured left-side options. While his combination with Ben Hunt was a slow transition, it has more than clicked and comparisons are already being made to the era of Langer-Walters who formed an unstoppable Broncos halves pairing in the ’90s.
Justin Hodges was cleared to play by the NRL. Expect the Broncos leader to leave nothing in the tank so no doubt he will be keeping the Cowboys’ markers honest as usual.
All eyes will be on Thurston and his No. 7 opponent Ben Hunt – but their five-eighth lieutenants, Michael Morgan and Anthony Milford, are equally vital to the outcome of the decider.
Thurston’s missed conversion attempt was heartbreaking but his redemption would be just minutes away.
“I’ve never been a fan of golden point”.
The accolades have been laid on strong since the game ended, as players and critics have offered their opinions on Thurston.
Another championship might seem ho-hum for a man who has won all seven of his previous grand finals, but Bennett may afford himself a rare smile of self-satisfaction.
Why then inflict a trip to Sydney for the fans when there are adequate facilities in Brisbane to handle a grand final?
“I’ve got a lot of good friends (Brisbane) and we’ve had a few great battles over the years”, he said.
“I am not thinking about that (the game) at the moment, there is still a long way to go”.
“I’m so proud of the boys…the ability to be able to stick with it, they just kept turning up for each other”.
“It would have had a huge impact on us if he wasn’t (playing) because you guys (the media) would have carried on about it all week and that is a awful distraction”, Bennett said.