Queensland greats can’t split Brisbane and North Queensland as Sunday’s historic NRL premiership decider shapes as the most exciting grand final in a quarter of a century.
“I just think it’ll be a game that will go down to the wire,” former Broncos captain Darren Lockyer told AAP.
“I don’t think we’ll know the result or the winner until at least probably 10 minutes to go.
“You look at all the match-ups and they’re so evenly matched.
“I just hope it lives up to the last game they played. That was a cracker.”
That “cracker” ended in a 16-12 triumph to Brisbane in the first week of the finals, leaving the Broncos with a 2-1 edge over their state rivals in 2015.
Townsville-born former Bronco Gorden Tallis, the 1998 Clive Churchill Medallist, is leaning towards the Cowboys in a thriller.
“But I wouldn’t bet on it,” Tallis said.
“I just hope it replicates the first final.
“These two sides have played some great footy and every time you play a local derby – which you don’t get in grand finals – when both sides know each others’ play, they’re both up for it.
“There’s a lot of Queenslanders up against each other, they played a lot of school footy so there’s that little bit of extra spice in it.
“But I seriously don’t know who is going to win.”
Tallis believes the grand final has all the ingredients to challenge the magical 1989 title match between Canberra and Balmain, which the Raiders won in extra time.
“I think in the 90s we all wanted the Raiders to play Brisbane, those two great sides, and it never got to that,” he said.
“Every side wrestles, so I’m not going to say these two won’t wrestle, but there’s not a big emphasis on it.
“They’re just really enjoyable teams to watch, which is the greatest thing for our fans.”
Former Broncos grand final winner and Cowboys star Brent Tate has a foot in both camps.
“It really is a flip of the coin. It’s just going to be a wonderful game,” he said.
Triple Brisbane title winner Petero Civoniceva believes the all-Queensland showdown, littered with State of Origin stars, has the potential to be one of the most entertaining spectacles in grand final history.
“When you look at the style of play that both teams have played throughout the season, obviously there’s that toughness but also the speed of their attack is going to feature,” he said.
“They’re sides that both generate a lot of momentum with the energy they play with in attack and defence.
“So it’s going to be a very exciting grand final no doubt.”
North Queensland coach Paul Green believes it’ll be a fitting climax to the 2015 season.
“I think the fans want to see fast, free-flowing football,” Green said.
“As long as the refs, referee the same sort of way, we will probably get a similar game (to the semi-final).”
Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston says if the two sides’ last-up meeting is any indication, football fans are in for an absolute treat.
“I was sucking in there a few times in the first week of the finals,” Thurston said.
“Hopefully it’s a similar match. Both teams have got attacking weapons and can score tries from all over the park.
“The Broncs have a lot of excitement machines in their team and are very exciting to watch.
“It will be a packed house and I’m sure fans will get their money’s worth.”