NRL Grand Final: Melbourne Storm beat North Queensland Cowboys

Toni Houston
October 2, 2017

North Queensland are right up against it in Sunday's NRL Grand Final. "A lotta hard work", Storm fullback Billy Slater said of both his personal and team journey in season 2017, a kid in each arm, as he teared up.

Leading the Cowboys' charge is Michael Morgan ($11) and Jason Taumalolo ($11).

They have instead been forced to move their final training session to Sydney's Jubilee Park in Kogorah.

Melbourne Storm 34 (Addo-Carr 2, Kaufusi, Slater, Finucane, Scott tries; Smith 5 goals) defeated North Queensland Cowboys 6 (Martin try; Lowe goal) at ANZ Stadium. They get behind you.

You know it is going to deliver on grand final night.

The Munster v Morgan battle will be an intriguing sub-plot of Sunday's grand final with a berth in the Australian halves alongside Cronk for the upcoming World Cup potentially on the line. They got plenty of assistance from their dominant forward pack and some moment of brilliance from exciting young stars like Josh Addo-Carr.

The Cowboys were without injured co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott. That's where the Cowboys have to target their attack, but those raids have to come on the back of momentum and quick play-the-balls as the Storm rarely make defensive mistakes if they are set; the Storm have to be flustered into defensive errors.

Against the Storm, the Cowboys, once again, fell behind early, trailing 18-0 at the break.

Their big three Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk - in his farewell match for the club - and Billy Slater were hugely influential figures and the contest looked over at halftime.

In the past three years, the NRL narrative has been about the fulfilment of longing: South Sydney, the Cowboys and Cronulla became premiers for either the first time or what seemed like it.

Although two premierships, won in 2007 and 2009, were stripped due to salary cap breaches, a side boasting the likes of Smith, Cronk and Slater, and coach Craig Bellamy, for so long, ought to have won more than one legitimate championship this millennium.

The Cowboys were the story of the season, sneaking into the playoffs in eighth spot and winning three knockout matches to book their place in the big show.

If he does play on in 2018 he'll join the 300 game club. "If he can continue his form they can certainly win".

But Melbourne are better. I think it will prove too much for them though after a really tough path to reach this game.

He added of Fensom's injury: "From what I've hear he's got a broken leg". Morgan has grown into one of the best halves in the league and Taumalolo might be the best player in the world full stop.

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