SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Latrell Mitchell of the Roosters watches on during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the Cronulla Sharks at Allianz Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters have been two of the most dominant teams over the past 20 years, but oddly enough have never played each other in a Grand Final before.

All that is set to change this Sunday night as the two heavyweights of the 2018 competition battled it out for that covered premiership title.

Here at Zero Tackle, we have taken a look at the key matchups this game provides and who will help lead their team to glory.

Battle of the Fullbacks – Billy Slater v James Tedesco:

After being cleared of a shoulder charge which looked set to ruin his fairytale finish, Billy Slater will take his place at fullback, lining up against the Roosters’ James Tedesco.

One is a legend of the game, looking to finish his stellar career with another premiership, while one is in the mix of his maiden Grand Final appearance after switching clubs in order to do such a thing.

The pair have faced each other on eight occasions across club and representative footy, with Slater holding the upper hand with six wins.

Slater has had another consistent year at fullback for the Storm, appearing in 19 games in 2018 and has been instrumental in getting the Storm to their third consecutive Grand Final.

Billy the Kid has managed 13 try assists this season, including making 75 tackle breaks and 10 line breaks. He has made 81 tackles, including some try saving pearlers and has racked up a total of 2293 running metres.

Slater’s final series has been one of his best over his 16-year career, and the Storm will need him on his best game if they are to go back-to-back.

Standing in the way of that is Tedesco, who had an early adjustment period to his new team, but once he found his feet, Teddy has enjoyed some of his career best footy.

Having made 24 appearances for the Tri-colours this season, Tedesco leads the competition for tackle breaks with 157 to go with his total of 4475 running metres this season. He has also crossed the line nine times himself, set up 14 tries and made 115 tackles at 74.5%.

Will Tedesco claim his first maiden premiership win on Sunday, or will it be the experience of Slater that prevails to win him his fifth premiership title to cap off an amazing career?

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Battle of the Centres – Will Chambers v Latrell Mitchell.

Chambers is a two-time premiership player and a regular on the big stage meanwhile Mitchell is into his third NRL season and is about to take part in his first Grand Final.

The pair have faced each other at representative level, where Mitchell’s NSW Blues got the better of Chambers’ QLD’s Maroons, but Chambers is hoping history doesn’t repeat itself on Sunday.

Chambers’ performance in the 2018 season was much like his previous nine for the Storm – consistent.

He had 18 appearances in purple this season, which saw him score four tries and have the same amount of try assists. Chambers managed 33 tackle breaks along with three line breaks and made a total of 263 tackles at 80.4%. The centre ran for a total of 1751 metres thus far and will be hoping his experience in big games will have the edge over Latrell.

Despite Mitchell only having three seasons under his belt, his 2018 performances where the best Mitchell has put together for the Roosters.

Mitchell made 23 appearances for the red, white and blue scoring 16 times and converting 86 goals. He made 114 tackle breaks and 17 line breaks, just showing how strong of a player he really is. Mitchell made 206 tackles and ran a total of 1800 metres so far, with the Roosters dearly hoping he can fend off Chambers close to that try line.

Which one of these centres will be walking away with a premiership ring and which one will be the runner-up?

Battle of the Big Boys – Nelson Asofa-Solomona v Dylan Napa:

In the middle of the park it will be the battle of the big boys.

The rampaging Dylan Napa will come face to face with the tallest NRL player Nelson Asofa-Solomona, nicknamed ‘the small purple office building’.

Whichever prop can get their team on the front foot will ultimately help them claim that premiership title.

Napa has had 19 appearances in the 2018 season for the Roosters but still holds a duck egg regarding tries this year, so the Chooks will be hoping he can break that with a game winning try.

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Napa has made a total of 550 post contact metres, including 13 tackle breaks and an average of 7.2 hit ups. He has five offloads to his name and a total of 1481 running metres.

The 25-year-old will have a tough time trying to stop the monstrous Asofa-Solomona on Sunday if his team is to win it.

Asofa-Solomona has had a standout season for the Storm, partaking in 23 matches for them this season. He has crossed the try line four times and has a total of 893 post contact metres.

The small purple office building will be looking to add to his 70 tackle breaks, 20 offloads and total of 2201 running metres on Sunday to earn the Storm back-to-back titles.

Only one big boy will be left standing after the Grand Final, will it be Napa or Asofa-Solomona?

Battle of the Five-Eighths – Cameron Munster v Luke Keary:

Both five-eighths will be looking to claim their second premiership this Sunday night as they go ahead-to-head on ANZ Stadium.

Fullback turned five-eighth Cameron Munster has shined in the playmaking role this season as he finds himself in his third consecutive Grand Final after only five seasons in the NRL.

Meanwhile, Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary will be searching to taste premiership glory since moving across from Souths in 2017, the club where he claimed the 2014 premiership title.

Munster has made 23 appearances in the purple jersey in 2018 where he scored four tries and made 15 try assists.

The Rockhampton lad has made 82 tackle breaks and nine line breaks, also making 433 tackles at 81.4%.Β The 24-year-old has made a total of 1360 running metres thus far, as the Storm will be hoping Munster can be his strong, damaging self on the big stage.

But Keary will be keen to upstage his rival.

Keary has played 22 games for the Roosters this season, forcing seven line drop outs and scoring five times himself.

The 26-year oldΒ has an average of 91.5 kicking metres and a whopping total of 20 try assists to his name. Keary has made 13 offloads, a total of 390 tackles and has 1360 running metres thus far.

Which matchup do you believe will be the most important come Sunday night?

5 COMMENTS

      • Kev, I hope you’re just joking. It’s hard to know when it’s in writing.

        If you’re not, and you want to follow AFL, that’s your call, but surely you’re not trying to do it to send a message to the NRL / RL supporters? If that’s the reason, then that’s just sad.

        RedV90, that’s harsh, both on Kev, and on Parra, but it may not actually be technically inaccurate. I don’t look at Parra as “losers”, no ever, in that conetation, but we do lose a lot, and a lot more than the mathematical probabilities.

  1. They have appeared in 16 grand finals if you include them both for this years grand final. When Melbourne and the Roosters played in Adelaide this year The Roosters had Cordner, JWH, Keary, Matterson and Manu out. Mitchell missed a penalty goal in front and Melbourne went onto win 9-8. Are the Roosters worried about Melbourne? No way in the world, With the Roosters in brilliant form and at full strength including an injured Cronk. The Roosters will beat Melbourne easily. This media beat up of Melbourne being unbeatable is just that. A media beat up. Probably instigated by the gambling industry.πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“

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