Match preview – Penrith v Melbourne

Sydney Harbor Bridge was lit ahead of Sunday’s NRL Grand Final

The NRL season ends on Sunday when the Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm compete in the Grand Final.

The clash at the ANZ Stadium, which will be played in front of 40,000 fans, will be preceded by the women’s NRL final, in which Brisbane Broncos will win three titles in a row against Sydney Roosters.

Both games are live Sky Sports and we look at what is being said here before the games …

Live NRLW

October 25, 2020, 5:00 a.m.

Live on

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Penrith Panthers gegen Melbourne Storm

October 25, 2020, 8:25 a.m.

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The finalists

Penrith Panthers

League position: First.

Way to the final: QF – Beat Sydney Roosters 29-28; PF – defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 20-16.

Head coach: Ivan Cleary.

James Tamou leads the Panthers as they go for a third Premier League

James Tamou leads the Panthers as they go for a third Premier League

James Tamou leads the Panthers as they go for a third Premier League

Captain: James Tamou.

Top scorer: Stephen Crichton (16).

Best scorer: Nathan Cleary (200).

Melbourne Storm

League position: Second.

Way to the final: QF – Beat Parramatta Eels 36-24; PF – Beat Canberra Raiders 30-10.

Head coach: Craig Bellamy.

Can Cameron Smith and the Storm add to their honor roll?

Can Cameron Smith and the Storm add to their honor roll?

Can Cameron Smith and the Storm add to their honor roll?

Captain: Cameron Smith.

Top scorer: Josh Addo-Carr (15).

Best scorer: Cameron Smith (148).

Signs and Superstitions for Penrith

If you’re someone who believes in omen, then the fact that Penrith’s two previous championships were crowned minor premieres in 1991 and 2003 could bode well for the Panthers ahead of Sunday’s final.

Ivan Cleary’s team finished first in the NRL league table again in this pandemic-punctuated season, reaching the Grand Final for the first time since that triumph 17 years ago after an unbeaten run of 17 games – a run that started with a 21 -14 win against other Melbourne finalists in June.

Head coach Cleary certainly won’t take anything for granted against the storm, although he has assumed a superstition or two of his own – including that he won’t get his hair cut during this run.

“It started like this … but now it’s become a superstition,” Cleary said NRL.com. “I can’t get it cut now anyway, but it’s been with me for four months and I don’t want it cut.

Ivan Cleary assumed some superstitions during Penrith's winning run

Ivan Cleary assumed some superstitions during Penrith's winning run

Ivan Cleary assumed some superstitions during Penrith’s winning run

“I’ve got a couple of different things going on … I have a watch that I wear on game day that stopped working about two months ago. But I won’t touch it – until we lose. ”

The final on Sunday will also be a big day for the entire Cleary family. Son and influential Panthers center-back Nathan aim to realize his ambition to play on the NRL’s largest stage.

“I think he showed he was pretty consistent,” Ivan said of Nathan. “I don’t think the big stage will worry him.

“I know he’s been looking forward to this game since he was able to run, so I think he’ll be ready for it.”

Nathan Cleary played a huge role in Penrith's run to the finals

Nathan Cleary played a huge role in Penrith's run to the finals

Nathan Cleary played a huge role in Penrith’s run to the finals

Penrith Panthers: Dylan Edwards; Josh Mansour, Brett Naden, Stephen Crichton und Brian To’o; Jarome Luai, Nathan Cleary; James Tamou, Api Koroisau, James Fisher-Harris, Viliame Kikau, Liam Martin und Isaah Yeo.

Exchange: Tyrone May, Kurt Capewell, Moses Leota und Zane Tetevano.

Olam takes inspiration from 1999

If Melbourne continues to triumph in Sunday’s Grand Final, it will be the fourth title exempted from the 2007 and 2009 titles since joining the NRL in 1998 for breaches of the salary cap.

The first of these didn’t come out until its second season, with a young Justin Olam among those watching TV at home in Papua New Guinea.

Justin Olam watched Melbourne win the NRL title as a child in 1999

Justin Olam watched Melbourne win the NRL title as a child in 1999

Justin Olam watched Melbourne win the NRL title as a child in 1999

Now, 21 years later, the center is on the verge of following compatriot Marcus Bai to help the storm become NRL champions, and it was on that day in 1999 that helped make his journey to to start at the top.

“That was the first NRL game I saw on TV,” said Olam. “That was my earliest memory of it.

“We had to come to another city on the coast. I didn’t have a TV with me, so we couldn’t see it there, but we were lucky that we got off and went to another city. ”

Olam, the storm’s third-highest scorer this season at nine, is cheered on by a large audience at home in front of televisions in a country where rugby league is also the national sport.

Olam expects a lot of support back home in Papua New Guinea

Olam expects a lot of support back home in Papua New Guinea

Olam expects a lot of support back home in Papua New Guinea

“Based on my experience of growing up in PNG, when it’s a big game like the Grand Final or State of Origin, 90 percent of people watch the games,” said Olam.

“They all love their rugby league at home, especially my close friends and family. They are very happy for me and proud that I made it to the Grand Final. ”

Melbourne Storm: Ryan Papenhuyzen; Suliasi Vunivalu, Brenko Lee, Justin Olam und Josh Addo-Carr; Cameron Munster, Jahrome Hughes; Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith, Christian Welch, Felise Kaufusi, Kenny Bromwich und Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

Exchange: Brandon Smith, Bodybuilding, Dale Finucane, Nicho Hynes.

Can the roosters stop the Broncos in NRLW?

The NRL Women’s Competition ends before the men’s Grand Final as Brisbane Broncos look to win three titles in a row.

The Broncos have also suffered only one loss in the NRLW’s three seasons and are the favorites to beat Sydney Roosters and maintain their dominance of the competition.

Brisbane is headed by this year’s women’s Dally M medalist, Ali Brigginshaw, who is delighted with the performance of a team in a new look this year.

“They look at our team every year and people leave to go to other teams,” Brigginshaw said NRL.com.

Ali Brigginshaw and the Broncos are aiming for a third NRLW title

Ali Brigginshaw and the Broncos are aiming for a third NRLW title

Ali Brigginshaw and the Broncos are aiming for a third NRLW title

“We have a core group that stays, but the majority of our team is otherwise new and different every year.

“We want the girls who have never won a Premier League to know what it feels like. There is no better feeling. That’s just the motivation. ”

On the Roosters side, Melanie Howard wants to use her chance to play in half alongside Zahara Temara after the 27-year-old was given a starting place due to injuries.

“It felt good from practice to game,” said Howard NRL.com. “I felt calm and confident about what we would do together.

Melanie Howard gets the opportunity to start for the Roosters in the Grand Final

Melanie Howard gets the opportunity to start for the Roosters in the Grand Final

Melanie Howard gets the opportunity to start for the Roosters in the Grand Final

“I had a few weeks off so I thought I was going to fight but felt good and refreshed. I think my defense is solid, which is what I’m focusing on, and I had a couple of runs with the ball that I was encouraged to do.

“I’m just interested in getting out there and smashing it.”

Brisbane Broncos: Tamika Upton; Shenae Ciesiolka, Julia Robinson, Jayme Fressard und Meg Ward; Raecene McGregor, Ali Brigginshaw; Millie Boyle, Lauren Brown, Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Tallisha Harden und Tarryn Aiken.

Exchange: Annette Brander, Jessika Elliston, Shannon Mato and Chante Temara.

Sydney Roosters: Shanice Parker; Taleena Simon, Corban McGregor, Yasmin Meakes and Brydie Parker; Melanie Howard, Zahara Temara; Simaima Taufa, Nita Maynard, Filomina Hanisi, Vanessa Foliaki, Sarah Togatuki and Hannah Southwell.

Exchange: Quincy Dodd, Kennedy Cherrington, Grace Hamilton und Jocelyn Kelleher.

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