NRL Grand Final Preview - Dragons v Roosters

03-10-2010 05:10PM at ANZ Stadium

Referee: Tony Archer and Shayne Hayne
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Jeff Younis
Video Referee: Bill Harrigan

A tremendous game of rugby league awaits us all on Sunday at 5.00pm EST from ANZ Stadium in Homebush.

The minor premiers, St George Illawarra, come into this match with one of the best defensive records ever seen and have based their run for title on this impressive achievement: Try-saving tackles, winning the ruck, excellent wrestling techniques and an overall desire to protect their try line at any cost. Mobile defensive weapons like Neville Costigan and Dean Young have led the way in this regard whilst Beau Scott and Matt Cooper have also lived up to their reputations as defensive specialists. It has all led to the Saints allowing only 2 tries per game over the course of 2010. Remarkable.

The Sydney Roosters, however, have made it this far through outstanding play from their spine. Born again Jake Friend and Todd Carney have combined beautifully with Mitchell Pearce and the walking miracle, Anthony Minichiello. Their attack is creative and makes good use of many weapons in the chook's arsenal. A dominant performance against the Titans last week has given more credit to their defence and this will be the key against the Dragons on Sunday.

So, my very good friends, strap in and get comfortable as this will be a hard fought, nail-biting close encounter of two old rivals. The 2010 premiership will be decided in the final 10 minutes of this match where, historically, the minor premiers have been able to pile on the points in many of their matches when the opposition has been sufficiently destroyed. However on this occasion, I'm tipping that the Roosters get the better of them with an attack that still has legs in the dying moments and carries them to the Telstra Premiership by a feather.

Experience is always a benefit in big games so keep an eye out for Nate Myles and Braith Anasta to lead the way for the Bondi boys, whilst Mark Gasnier and Jeremy Smith will be standouts for the Dragons. Whilst you have your eye on them, keep an eye on Saints fans anywhere around you. They will be half expecting something very very bad to happen and half feeling quietly confident. It is a joy being a Rugby League fan at this time of year and good luck to both clubs on the greatest day, in the Greatest Game of All.

Clive Churchill Medal Prediction: Anthony Minichiello (Roosters)
My Tip: Sydney Roosters 16-12

The Teams

  St George Illawarra Dragons    Sydney Roosters 
No Suspensions

P. Tagive
D. Hunt
1. Darius Boyd Fullback 1. Anthony Minichiello
2. Brett Morris Wing 2. Joseph Leilua
3. Mark Gasnier Centre 3. Kane Linnett
4. Matt Cooper Centre 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
5. Jason Nightingale Wing 5. Sam Perrett
6. Jamie Soward Five Eighth 6. Todd Carney
7. Ben Hornby Halfback 7. Mitchell Pearce
8. Neville Costigan Prop 8. Jason Ryles
9. Dean Young Hooker 9. Jake Friend
10. Michael Weyman Prop 10. Frank-Paul Nuuausala
11. Beau Scott Second Row 11. Nate Myles
12. Ben Creagh Second Row 12. Mitchell Aubusson
13. Jeremy Smith Lock 13. Braith Anasta
14. Nathan Fien Interchange 14. Martin Kennedy
15. Trent Merrin Interchange 15. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
16. Matt Prior Interchange 16. Daniel Conn
17. Jarrod Saffy Interchange 17. James Aubusson
No Suspensions

A. Cherrington
J. Ford
B. Cordner

Head to Head

2010 NRL - Round 22 Sydney Cricket Ground St George Illawarra Dragons 19-12
2010 NRL - Round 7 Sydney Football Stadium St George Illawarra Dragons 28-6
2009 Round 17 WIN Jubilee Oval, Kogarah St George Illawarra Dragons 34-12
2009 Round 7 Sydney Football Stadium St George Illawarra Dragons 29-0
2008 Round 26 Sydney Football Stadium Sydney Roosters 10-0

LeagueUnlimited Team Tips

Kevin Brennan - Roosters by 4

Tim Costello - Dragons by 8

Justin Davies - Dragons by 6

Paul Jobber - Dragons by 1

Ian Ritchie - Roosters by 7

Coby Delaney - Roosters by 5

Ethan James - Dragons by 10

Alison Nolan - Roosters by 2

Ben Robinson - Roosters by 7

Josh Hill - Roosters by 4