Since early March sixteen NRL teams have been battling it out in the race for the 2015 premiership. Close to two hundred bruising games of rugby league come down to the final few matches. As the majority of teams rue their missed opportunities and look forward to next season, the remaining contenders focus in on the grand prize, the chance to be crowned 2015 NRL premiers.
Although the finals are now well underway four teams still remained in contention at the time of writing. A look at the Melbourne Storm, Brisbane Broncos, Sydney Roosters and North Queensland Cowboys will provide insight into which team might just hoist the Provan-Summons trophy above their heads on Sunday October 4.
The Melbourne Storm successfully upset red-hot minor premiers the Sydney Roosters in the first week of finals football. A constant threat, the Storm, with experienced coach Craig Bellamy, veteran leaders Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk and a great supporting cast haven’t missed a beat without superstar fullback Billy Slater. Riding on the back of four straight wins look for the classy Storm outfit to make the Grand Final only to come up just short on the big day. Prediction: Runners Up
The Brisbane Broncos close win over the North Queensland Cowboys in the first round of the finals propelled them to within one victory of the Grand Final. Although set for a tough home semi-final, legendary coach Wayne Bennett will certainly have his well-rounded squad rested and ready for a challenge. Expect an intense match that ultimately results in the Broncos just being deprived of a place in the Grand Final. Prediction: Semi Final.
The Sydney Roosters winning streak of 12 matches came to a sudden end at the hands of a superior Melbourne Storm team in week one of the finals. Regardless, don’t expect the minor premiers to bow down any time soon. Although the loss of Mitchell Pearce and Jared Warea-Hargreaves is significant, this star-studded outfit prevailed over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and certainly have what it takes to go the whole way. Prediction: Winners.
The North Queensland Cowboys bounced back extremely well in the second round of the finals to comfortably beat the Cronulla Sharks. With superstar Jonathan Thurston leading the way, this exciting squad will certainly be hoping to go all the way following the disappointments of the last couple of seasons. Although an incredibly strong team, a trip down to Melbourne to play the rejuvenated Storm outfit may just prove to be a little too much to ask. Prediction: Semi Final.
Although this is the way the games may pan out anything could truly happen, after all it is rugby league. The Roosters may come up short, the Storm could fail in their home semi-final and the Cowboys could prevail overall. It wouldn’t surprise me. That’s simply the nature of the NRL. Regardless enjoy the remaining few games and may the best team win.