NRL Grand Final Preview

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   Jason Taumalolo is a pivotal part of the Cowboys gameplan

Melbourne Storm are the champions for 2017, dispensing with the fairy tale North Queensland Cowboys with arguably their best performance of the season.

The 34-year-old then thanked the Cowboys, congratulated his teammates and paid special tribute to the departing Cooper Cronk, but there was one last person he had to thank. With NRL Grand Final fever causing such a stir, take a few moments to look beyond the on-field highs and lows, to what supports and unites many players in the NRL community.

The Storm head to Sydney full of confidence, having won nine games in a row and played their first two finals on their home deck.

Cronk admits this one, finished off by Josh Addo-Carr, won't be forgotten quickly. The Storm are experts at slowing down an opposition's momentum and they'll have Taumalolo tangled up in a pile of defenders each time he makes a run.

It was a try devoid of "Big Three" involvement, but Smith, Clive Churchill Medallist Billy Slater and departing hero Cooper Cronk more than made up for it, the star trio combining for Felise Kaufusi's 28th-minute try, and it just got better for those of a Melbourne persuasion.

Things got tough at just the three minute mark for the Cowboys when they lost Shaun Fensom to a suspected broken left fibia.

Though you won't be able to watch the final live by going the Foxtel route, you can take advantage of Foxtel Now's two-week free trial to stream the game for free.

It wasn't exactly a post-match blow-up by recent standards but North Queensland coach Paul Green is adamant Josh Addo-Carr's opening try in Sunday's NRL grand final should have been disallowed due to referee interference.

Finding holes in the Storm is hard, but if you were looking for negatives, you could - before this victory - have pointed to their failure to convert competition dominance into title victories. In both the qualifying final and the preliminary final Melbourne put themselves under all manner of pressure with a series of early errors that are most unlike the Storm we've come to know.

They're the underdogs; they've come all this way without injured superstar Johnathan Thurston (who is also one of the game's good guys, seen a couple of weeks ago picking up rubbish in the changeroom).

Once the ball gets into the Storm 20 metre area, on the back of a quick play-the-ball, Granville's deception could open an opportunity up the middle.

The Cowboys are heavy outsiders, but they have been for the last month and they just keep coming up with the plays that matter when they're required.

"He's going to be a big factor if they're going to win the comp".

"The Cowboys have to change a bit with the way they attack", he said. It was the toughest thing to go through past year'.

North Queensland is dripping with destiny.

The Cowboys have already won a finals match at ANZ Stadium this year, downing the Eels at the venue in week 2, and have won their last four games in New South Wales. "Basically what we planned, we did it for 80 minutes".

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