Sydney Roosters don’t care about it and it isn’t a priority for the Brisbane Broncos.
Which is just as well, because the NRL minor premiership is something of a poisoned chalice.
The Roosters’ and Broncos’ respective matches against South Sydney and Melbourne in this week’s final NRL round will determine who is awarded the JJ Giltinan Shield for the best team over the 26 rounds.
The Roosters have won the last two minor premierships and have the 2013 premiership to show for that, which is better than average.
Of the 17 seasons since the NRL was formed in 1998, only six minor premiers have gone on to win the grand final.
That falls to five premiers over 17 seasons, when you take into account the Storm’s stripped 2007 title.
Star centre Blake Ferguson, who wasn’t part of the Roosters premiership win in 2013, nor their finals failure last year, dismisses any talk of the minor premiership.
He suggested all that really matters is who holds up the Provan Summons trophy on the final day of the season.
“I think it has been said a few times, we have got it for the last few years, but we don’t really care about that,” Ferguson said.
“If it comes it comes, it is a bonus, but there is only one thing that counts I guess and that is the grand final.”
The Roosters NSW representative Michael Jennings added: “Just because you win the minor premiership, it doesn’t mean you win the comp.”
If Brisbane beat the Storm on Thursday night and the Roosters fall to Souths on Friday night, the Broncos will claim their first minor premiership since 2000.
However Broncos coach Wayne Bennett isn’t fussed either.
“We never set out at the start of year to win the minor premiership, so it wasn’t our priority (and) it still isn’t,” Bennett said.
“We just want to play well and make sure we are in good shape for what is ahead of us in September.”
Roosters coach Trent Robinson also recently wondered out loud how much the NRL itself cares about the minor premiership.
At this year’s season launch, the 2013 premiership winning coach noted, almost every major gong on offer in the game was there, including the NRL Auckland Nines trophy.
But the JJ Giltinan Shield was nowhere to be seen.
THE CURSE OF THE MINOR PREMIERSHIP
Year Minor Premiers Finals Result
2014 Sydney Roosters Preliminary finalists
2013 Sydney Roosters Premiers
2012 Canterbury Grand finalists
2011 Melbourne Preliminary finalists
2010 St George Illawarra Premiers
2009 St George Illawarra Semi-finalists
2008 Melbourne* Grand finalists
2007 Melbourne* Premiers*
2006 Melbourne* Grand finalists
2005 Parramatta Preliminary finalists
2004 Sydney Roosters Grand finalists
2003 Penrith Premiers
2002 Warriors Grand finalists
2001 Parramatta Grand finalists
2000 Brisbane Premiers
1999 Cronulla Preliminary finalists
1998 Brisbane Premiers
* titles stripped for salary cap breaches