WHY YOUR SIDE SHOULD – AND SHOULDN’T – WIN THE NRL GRAND FINAL
WHY BRISBANE SHOULD WIN
* The Wayne Bennett factor – The master coach has taken the Broncos to six grand finals, winning all of them. He has won seven premierships from seven grand finals as a head coach.
* Their No.7 – Ben Hunt is in the form of his career. He has amassed 12 tries, 27 try assists and 30 line-break assists in 2015. This is including seven tries in his last five games.
* Discipline – The Broncos don’t miss tackles (ranked 1st with an average of 20.3 per game), don’t give away penalties (ranked 1st, 4.9 per game) and come up with the second fewest handling errors (8.9).
WHY BRISBANE SHOULDN’T WIN
* Field position – The Cowboys are ranked first for time spent in the opposition 20 metre zone (average 32.6 tackles per game) while the Broncos are the worst in the competition (22.3).
* Hanging back – The Broncos tend to be slow to move up and are ranked 13th for metres conceded with an average of 1479m. They can’t afford to give up easy metres to the big Cowboys pack.
* Cowboys firepower – the Cowboys have the wood over Brisbane in almost all of the major attacking categories including points scored, tries scored, tackle busts, linebreaks, completion rate and run metres.
WHY NORTH QUEENSLAND SHOULD WIN
* The yardage game – When you top the league for both metres gained (average 1592m) and least metres conceded (1326m), it’s hard for your opposition to gain a foothold.
* JT’s boot – the Cowboys have scored the second most tries from kicks (27) this season with 17 coming from Thurston’s boot.
* Good in the clutch – The Cowboys have scored more points in the closing 20 minutes (252) than any other team.
WHY NORTH QUEENSLAND SHOULDN’T WIN
* Is JT 100 per cent? – While the club insists he’s fit and firing, Thurston has been troubled by a groin injury and corked calf. It may have contributed to a drop off in his usually impeccable goalkicking (down to 65 per cent in the finals). He has kicked at 78 per cent this year (91 from 116) and that accuracy will be needed in what’s expected to be a tight contest.
* What happened in finals week one – No side has lost their first finals match and gone on to claim the premiership since Brisbane in 2006. And no team has lost in week one and reversed the result against the same opposition in the grand final since Melbourne in 1999.
* Bad travellers – The Cowboys have lost all six of their finals games in Sydney since 2005. Their win over Melbourne was their first finals win away from Townsville in eight attempts.