Despite there not being any Sydney based team, thoughts of “neutral supporters” were squashed. We all know that Sydney based fans love to hate the Broncos. They always have hated people on the sunnier side of the border, and this made the team to support in the grand final quite easy. Support the Storm. Don’t let those Banana fenders retrieve that trophy they have done 5 times in the last 14 seasons.
The grand final lead up was spectacular. Both teams had been consistent all year, but Melbourne were favourites. They had only lost 4 times out of 24 games, a very good feat. They were the team to beat. Brisbane, on the other hand, had had a fantastic start to the season, but as usual, fell off the rails during the post origin series. They lost so many games that there were fears of them not making the finals! But they made it. They haven’t been in a finals series since 1988, their inaugural season. These teams were about the best this season, except Canterbury and St George, who probably just tipped Brisbane for the 2nd best team, but bowed out of the finals after losing to Brisbane and Melbourne respectively.
On to the grand final. The match was an evenly contested one. Nothing really seperated the teams. Melbourne had the greater of the possession and made several line breaks, but failed to score more than 2 tries throughout the game, although they had some decision not go their way. Brisbane had to do the majority of the tackling, and did a very good job of it. Brisbane won the game 15-8, but they did have a lot of strange decisions go their way, which gave them the game. Why I say this? Read on for my analysis of the game as the scores were 8-8.
The reason Brisbane won was because the Storm had 3 crucial decisions (1 of which I agree with the ref on) during the last 20 minutes.
The first decision that went against the Storm was an obstruction. Shaun Berrigan for Brisbane took the ball from dummy half 20 metres out from the Storm line, committed the defence, ran behind Brad Thorn I think and got into a gap. He got high tackled by Slater, even though he was falling into it. The ref penalised for the high shot, and missed the obstruction. Broncos kicked a penalty goal from that play to lead 10-8.
To rub salt into the wounds of the Storm, Broncos scored a try shortly after.
The second decision that went against them was a pass by the Storm that had been knocked into touch by Justin Hodges. The ref didnt see that it had touched Hodges and awarded the scrum to the Broncos. The silly thing, however, was that the Storm player in Inglis, who was standing next to the sideline, had the opportunity to take the ball before it went out, but didnt.
The third decision was a try that was disallowed to the Storm. The Storm were 20 metres out from the Broncos line and decided to put a bomb up on the last tackle. As the ball came down on the 10 metre line, Steve Turner for the Storm got it. It hit his arm, then hit his head then went backwards. Matt King got the ball and scored, but the try was disallowed by the ref because it had been ruled to have gone off the arm than the head. It had gone forward to me, because it hit his head after, and that is propelling the ball forward. Wasn't much in it though.
Melbourne were robbed I guess, but that's rugby league!
By Justin Ryan