The NRL Grand Final has arrived and we reset to see the two best teams in the league go head-to-head.
The Melbourne Storm have seemingly held a monopoly over a Grand Final slot having made their ninth decider in 14 years.
Cameron Smith has played in all but one of these, having missed the 2008 loss to Manly with suspension. While Craig Bellamy has been the wise head in the coaches box for all nine appearances. Claim your Ladbrokes bonus here with all the latest NRL markets, including the 2020 Grand Final.
The Storm’s experience will count for plenty against a young and exciting Penrith side who will appear in the clubs first Grand final since their 2003 premiership win.
The Panthers have been unbelievably entertaining this season, led by halfback Nathan Cleary and his father Ivan they have taken the competition by storm and dominated from the outset.
Having only been defeated once and kept winless on one other occasion they have proved doubters wrong constantly this season.
The Panthers defeated the Storm earlier this year 21-14 in a game they will look to as a vote of confidence as they face the challenge of breaking down the experienced and battle hardened Melbourne line.
Penrith have one 17 games on the bounce and have looked in control of this season for the most-part. Second-rower Viliame Kikau will return from suspension, which will likely result in Kurt Capewell moving to the bench. Prop Spencer Leniu missed the preliminary final with illness but could come into the selection frame for the big dance.
The Storm come in injury-free, all eyes were on Cameron Munstar who carried a knee complaint into the preliminary final. He got through the game unscathed which is a massive relief for the Storm who will need their half-back and five-eighth combination working at it’s best to help deal with Nathan Cleary.
The Storm have spent the majority of this season away from home while Penrith have been able to continue to base themselves out of New South Wales. Whether that holds any benefit for the Panthers is unknown.
The Storm seemingly have worn the hub life as a badge of honour as they’ve motored through the competition, they have never looked like they don’t want to be there and have showed incredible mental strength to get this far.
Cameron Smith may be playing his last game this week. Will he leave as a premier? Will he leave at all? Or will Penrith spoil the farewell party?