The #NRL ladder after Round 15.
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9 hours ago
With all due respect to the supporters of St.George-Illawarra, North Queensland and Brisbane, there is only one Grand Final match up that will generate the kind of buzz we saw and haven?t since Newcastle played Manly in the 1997 ARL decider.
If Parramatta and the Wests Tigers face off on the night of October 2nd , then it is hard to imagine the game being anything but 'must see TV' in every lounge room of every Rugby League fan.
Quite simply Rugby League loves the underdog, and if the Cowboys were the Cinderella team last year, then the Tigers is the Cinderella team of the last 10 years. Bar the most ardent Tigers supporters, nobody expected the Tigers to be in a position to play in a Grand Final - let alone one match from the Preliminary Final in 2005.
And that's not having a go at the Tigers, I genuinely liked the collection of talent Tim Sheens had to work with this season but it appeared that the loss of some key experienced players, plus the fact a few other teams seemed to have improved in the off-season the Tigers were more likely to go down than up in the standings.
Well I have no qualms with being proved wrong (even if it seems to happen more often than I'd like), and the Tigers have played the kind of football that makes them every other fans '2nd favourite team' heading into the back end of the season.
Sure the Tigers must overcome the Broncos this weekend, and don't forget the Broncos were deserved Premiership favourites up until a month or so ago, but there is something special waiting in the wings if the Tigers keep winning.
Now I'm not suggesting the Tigers deserve to be in the Grand Final based on one Finals win and a great regular season; nor am I suggesting the Dragons will be easily swept aside next week; but there would be an amazing Grand Final week awaiting us all if the Tigers make the big dance.
Again with the Cowboys beating the Storm the Eels aren?t certainties to make the Grand Final either; but should the Tigers and Eels advance, the David versus Goliath Grand Final that promoters and fans alike dream about could happen this year.
It would be the classic case of one team's die hard supporters anticipating that this could finally be the year for Parramatta, and an even longer suffering set of supporters just delirious with the fact their team the Tigers are just IN the Grand Final - let alone a chance of winning it.
But the beauty of a David & Goliath Grand Final is the fact if you are not a supporter of the Goliath team (in this case the Eels) then every other fan gets right behind the David contender (the Tigers) and you've got a Grand Final to remember.
Without taking anything away from the deciders of the past decade, the match up of the Tigers and the Eels would just cap off an amazing year of footy.
PS. I picked the Broncos to play the Cowboys prior to the last round of the season, so I'll stick with that as both remain a chance, but the little kid in me would love to see the underdog take it to the raging hot favourite in a Grand Final I'll be telling my kids about for the years to come.
Go the Tigers!