NRL Grand Final: Super Storm spoil Cowboys' fairytale with runaway victory

Melbourne Storm are the best rugby league club side I have ever seen play the game, and captain Cameron Smith on Sunday will add the NRL premiership trophy to his outstanding list of personal achievements.

Australia's passion for professional sport is set to go off this weekend yet you might have missed one of the more unusual passions associated with NRL during the past few seasons.

So, if all those pieces fall into place again and these hypothetical players stick together for the almost two decades required to have a nearly psychic bond with one another - all under one of the best coaches in history - maybe we'll get a repeat.

Melbourne showed their class in Cooper Cronk's last game for the club, sending out the veteran halfback a victor.

Half-back Cronk has already confirmed his intention to leave Storm, but, rather than hanging up his boots, he could seek to play on for a team in Sydney, where the 33-year-old's fiancee lives.

Dale Finucane restored his team's advantage in the 64th minute before Curtis Scott and Josh Addo-Carr sealed the title - and their 10th straight win - in a comprehensive performance.

"They've been the underdog this whole time and made it this far".

The big three; Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and in his last game in the Storm colours Cooper Cronk were at their silky best, producing the goods to lead the Storm to an emphatic victory.

Billy and Nicole. Image Getty
Billy and Nicole. Image Getty

That's thanks in large to his powerful 92kg frame, which means Morgan is just as capable of powering through the defensive line as he is of throwing a pinpoint flat ball to send a teammate through a gap. But Melbourne flankers Suliasi Vunivalu ($7) and Josh Addo-Carr ($8) are both in the top five leading tryscorers in the NRL this year and are likely a safer bet to register the first four-pointer.

Finding holes in the Storm is hard, but if you were looking for negatives, you could - before this victory - have pointed to their failure to convert competition dominance into title victories.

"So that really hurt us and put some pressure on some of our other middle guys". The Cowboys will be hoping that they can keep the intensity up for the whole game.

Throughout 2017, the Cowboys were patchy, and as a result, they were completely unfancied in the finals, only to come from behind to upset the Cronulla Sharks, Parramatta Eels and Sydney Roosters in successive weeks, a remarkable run that captured the imagination of a nation.

Michael Morgan has been the A through to Z factor in attack, but Jake Granville is the player who could really explode in the decider. "If he can continue his form they can certainly win".

I think the Storm will aim a lot of their runners at Jason Taumalolo, in an effort to take as much sting out of his running game as possible.

North Queensland protested but in all likelihood the collision mattered little. "Basically what we planned, we did it for 80 minutes".

  • Rogelio Becker