The Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys will go into battle in the first all-Queensland grand final in NRL history.
It’s a win-win situation for Queensland as a state. They have already reclaimed the State of Origin shield from NSW in emphatic fashion, defeating their rivals 52-6 in the last match.
Brendan Gaffney, a former NRL player and now currently a business manager, is happy to see two teams from Queensland in the grand final.
“As a 50-year-old who grew up playing junior league in Cairns, and for North Queensland Juniors, then moving to Brisbane to play in the old QRL [Queensland Rugby League] competition … It is with great pride that I see both Brisbane, and my childhood team North Queensland, after all these years fighting it out in the big dance,” Gaffney said.
It’s the second grand final appearance for the Cowboys since they entered the competition in 1995 – their last game being ten years ago – and for the Brisbane Broncos, it will their first grand final since 2006.
For Bronco Justin Hodges, who was apart of the 2006 Broncos grand final team nine years ago, it will be his last game. Hodges announced his retirement at the end of the season earlier this year; he has been a great ambassador for the game and has played 250 first-grade games. Broncos Manager Trad McLean told The Newsroom that we might see the best of Hodges in the final.
“It’s a grand final, and the one thing everyone knows is that they don’t come around long, and Justin Hodges knows that because it’s been nine years since his last one,” McLean said. “He’s not going to get another game after this, let alone another grand final.”
The Broncos have a perfect record when it comes to grand final matches. They have won all the grand finals they have played under their coach Wayne Bennett. Bennett will be looking for his eighth grand final win this Sunday.
“Look, I think it’s an advantage for us, certainly. You know that we have a coach that’s been there and done it before, and think that gives the players belief,” McLean said.
McLean thinks the game will come down to the team producing the best performance.
“Everybody is aware of what is at stake, but you do have to treat it as normally as you can because it’s about a performance; one performance but just one that means a lot.”
It is set to be a cracker of a grand final this Sunday October 4 at Sydney Olympic Park. Kick-off will be at 7:15pm with the pre-game entertainment of legendary rock band Cold Chisel. – Jesse Mullens and Kezia Hopperus Buma.
Top photo of Broncos and Cowboys addressing the fans at Darling Harbour by Lachlan Brunton.