By Casey O'Connor
After 25 rounds of fixtures and three weeks of finals rugby league we have made it to the “Big Dance”. I doubt many other than dyed in the wool fans of the green machine would have predicted they would be battling out the 2019 NRL premiership. The Roosters of course always looked likely to be there to defend their title but as we have seen there are no certainties in finals football.
What is sure to be as impressive as the on field action will be the clash between their respective supporters. There is nothing quite like the Raiders Viking clap and call to arms although those Roosters supporters can hold their own against most.
To help get Sydneysiders and visitors to the harbour city revved up for the GF between now and Sunday the harbour bridge pylons will be illuminated with images that celebrate some of the special moments in the NRL this season
Images will include magic moments from the Raiders and Roosters this season. In addition Parra sensation and surely rookie of the Year Maika Sivo and Cameron Smith’s milestone 400th game are among others that will be displayed. Images of the 2019 Dally M Winner will also grace the pylons following Wednesday’s announcement. If that is any player other than Roosters full back James Tedesco it will be one of the biggest upsets since the inception of the Awards.
On Sunday Cooper Cronk becomes on the ninth player and the only player in the modern era to play in nine grand finals. He has been a remarkable player and his list of achievements does not end with nine grand final appearances and a clutch of premiership rings.
He will be aiming for his third consecutive grand final win. If successful he will be the first since the great 1981 – 83 era of the Parramatta Eels.
Few will forget his inspiring performance last year to guide the Roosters to victory on one wing and a prayer. In doing so he became the first player in 45 years to win back to back finals with different clubs. It would be brave and foolish to think Cronk won’t leave the game with another premiership ring. No matter which way the cards fall on Sunday he will leave the game a winner.