After a another dramatic weekend in the play-offs, the countdown is now on ahead of next Saturday’s NRL Grand Final between the Sydney Roosters and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at the Olympic Stadium.
Both semi-finals were true spectacles, with the Sea Eagles beating Souths, while the Roosters overcame Newcastle to set-up one of the most mouth-watering showpieces of recent years.
This will be the first time the Bondi Boys have played in the Grand Final since losing to St George in 2010 but despite Manly winning the title in 2011, Trent Robinson’s men are still the favourites in the rugby league betting.
Key to their chances will be the form of half-back Mitchell Pearce who has been one of the revelations of the season, finally justifying the hype that has followed him around for so long.
After bursting onto the scene as a teenager in 2007, Pearce was almost immediately selected for the New South Wales side but his form has dipped over the last few years leading to plenty of criticism being levelled at his inability to get either his club side or his Origin team firing in attack.
However, after plenty of hard work with assistant coach Jason Taylor, the 24-year-old has been in inspired in 2013 and once again showed his class on Saturday as his team made it the final.
Despite a bout of illness over the weekend, he is now likely to line-up opposite one of the favourites for the Dally M Medal in Sea Eagles’ Daly Cherry-Evans, with both being tipped by those who like to bet on rugby league to claim the Clive Churchill Medal for man of the match.
Their battle will be key and it could turn out that whichever one has the best match will win the game for their side.
It will undoubtedly be a tight affair at the Olympic Stadium but after such a magnificent season, the time could be right for Pearce to once again show why everyone got so excited about him as a youngster.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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