Penrith Panthers will take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs tonight in a historic 2021 NRL Grand Final, held for the very first time at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
As Penrith looks to avoid his second Grand Final defeat in as many seasons, the Rabbitohs coached by Wayne Bennett aim to end their year on a high note in the perfect farewell to captain Adam Reynolds.
In one of the more even decisions of recent times, several True Blues could have a huge influence on the outcome, just as they did in the Ampol State of Origin arena, when the big dance kicks off on Sunday night.
The game’s first half-back had a memorable season in 2021 and remarkably reached the Grand Final yet again, while battling a major shoulder injury in the past two months that required surgery within the week. full time after tonight’s clash.
Nonetheless, Cleary’s punching ability has proven vital throughout the NRL Finals, not only for territory in recent low-scoring games, but also for creating attacking opportunities. Three of the Panthers’ four tries in this year’s final came from Cleary’s boot.
The combination of Cleary with his club and Jarome Luai, partner of Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues, will certainly contribute greatly to a potential Premiership victory for the Panthers.
If the half-back can handle the build-up of pressure, battle for territory, and direction of attack, Luai can deliver a strike with his unorthodox running ability and creative play on the left edge.
A 2021 Dally M Five-Eightth of the Year Man of the Match performance could go hand in hand with a South Sydney Rabbitohs Grand Final victory on Sunday night. This is exactly how important No.6 is to his side’s NRL Premiership hopes.
In addition to Walker’s direct ball run, his ability to judge the numbers game and create for his outside men with an elite pass selection is largely unmatched, producing 33 assists and an NRL record 44 assists. decisive online in 2021.
Walker will also be nearby when hooker Damien Cook chooses to throw the ball, looking to give Penrith a headache with his support and acceleration through the defensive line.
While many opposition teams have tried to limit To’o’s impact, stopping him completely is nearly impossible.
To’o is not only one of the best finishers in the competition, but his distances covered – which allowed him to run an average of 246 meters in 2021 – give the Panthers a lot of momentum while relieving the weary midfielder. forward.
Add to that his connection on the left edge, along with Luai’s instinct, Villiame Kikau’s explosive run, and Matt Burton’s sense of the game, and To’o is one of the Panthers’ greatest attacking weapons. this evening.
Cook’s best form has certainly won in the playoffs, especially in the absence of Latrell Mitchell.
Without the tackles, Mitchell’s short midfielder following a quick distribution, it is now Cook’s running game – his number one asset – that has become increasingly prevalent in the South Sydney finals. , making the likes of Cody Walker and Cameron Murray much more dangerous around the ruck.
In particular, Cook’s duo with Walker on his shoulder could be the combination that would cause the most damage if South Sydney were to win the battle to score points – look no further than the test aid from the left foot of Cook for his five-eighth of a broken play in their preliminary final victory.
It’s what Isaah Yeo does without running the ball that is a crucial aspect for Penrith’s chances of winning the trophy, and it’s even more crucial for allowing injured Cleary to have his greatest influence behind the game. ball.
On defense, the Dally M Lock of the Year secures midfield and rarely misses tackles, and on offense, he’s constantly asking questions with his variation in ball play and strong hitting if needed.
Combining with Cleary, however, Yeo will spend the first part of the set moving on to his early rowers and playing fullback on left or right quarterbacks, while the half-back looks for weaknesses in the defense and chooses the time for the Panthers to strike.
Murray is the ultimate all-rounder for South Sydney at No.13, who with a solid display could also be a potential Clive Churchill medal chance and follow Rabbitohs’ streak lock forward (Ron Coote 1971, Sam Burgess, 2014) to win Grand The honors of the man of the final match.
While Murray is still tough to beat defensively, as evidenced by his clash against David Fifita in the Ampol State of Origin 2021 series, he’s just as tough to stop when he takes the line with the speed of the legs, the footwork. late and an ability to find the test-line at short distance.
Still, Murray’s biggest influence on the Grand Final will come in the ruck battle as he has the fastest ball play of any forwards in the game, and that can give Bennett’s men the edge they need. in what could turn out to be a contest for momentum in the early exchanges.