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The Final Preview - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sun, 05 Oct 2008 10:45:00 GMT

Grand Finals are like awaiting the news of test results from the doctor. You hope it works out the way you want.

The post grand final verdict is like a post mortem, you want to know what happened and why. I believe Manly are ready and will never get a better chance to win the title.

They are a better, more explosive, more mature, more composed and all–round are a better footy team.Melbourne are still a power to be reckoned with, but are not the team they were in 2007.

After leading Manly 10-4 at halftime, they were like a hurricane in the second half year. It's doubtful they can repeat such a performance however.

Here is the GRL Phantom's rundown on every player in each of the two NRL squads.

Sunday October 5, 2008
Telstra Stadium, KO: 5:00PM
Television: LIVE on Channel 9
Radio: Live ABC 702
Referee: Tony Archer

Brett Stewart: A super fullback, quality athlete, fearless taker of the high ball and a match-winner. He’ll be one of Manly's main players on Sunday afternoon.
Michael Robertson: The most underrated winger yet most improved player in the game, hasn't missed a game in three years and can score a try from anywhere.
Steve Bell: Playing his last game for the Sea Eagles before he heads over to Les Catalans. This former Storm footballer is tough, reliable and deceptively fast.
Steve Mattai: Always had the talent but now channels his aggression in attack and defence the right way, He’ll take care of Irsrael Folau in defence.
David Williams: The Rookie of the year, this bloke is a strong, fast and exciting player who holds 13 tries and 50 tackle breaks next to his name this season.
Jamie Lyon: The runaway Eel has found the right balance in his game at five-eighth. His kicking game will be important while his passing game is now more selective.
Matt Orford: The Former Storm halfback is ready to prove he's up to the challenge. It’s time to put up or shut up.
Brent Kite: A tower of strength who should have played for NSW this year and is ready to prove selectors wrong.
Matt Ballin: Steady as a rock, Ballin is good passer of the ball and works hard in defence. Remarkable the way he’s filled the void left by former hooker Michael Monaghan so quickly.
Josh Perry: Perry has added steel to the pack to help Kite in season 2008. Without a doubt was the best buy Manly has made since Ben Kennedy.
Anthony Watmough: Much tougher mentally this year, doesn't miss as many tackles and is learning to hold the ball better in his left arm in attack.
Glenn Hall: Big and strong and won't be intimidated. One of the biggest improvers this season who gets through lots of tackles and makes the hard yards. Has become addicted to scoring lots of tries on an almost weekly basis, something quite unusual up front.
Glenn Stewart: The prototype backrower of the modern game, tough, hard working, deceptive speed and footwork and has good ball skills. Works down the right hand side of the field and should be play for NSW next year. Love the way he plays.
Heath L'Estrange: A quality back-up hooker with good footwork and dummying skills.,
Steve Menzies: A champion footballer who is playing last game for the Sea Eagles. If he goes out a winner, he’ll need to print a second edition of his biography which is a great read I hear.
Jason King: Bounced back from two serious injuries this year and has been in top form the past six weeks. Not one to be messed with on the field.
Mark Bryant: Is much tougher this year, gets through loads of work and helps out as back-up prop or second rower.
Adam Cuthbertson: Been unlucky not to make the squad in recent weeks. He’s a skilled ball player who may miss out.
Luke Williamson: A younger version of Des Hasler according to some in the crowd, Williamson is a tough forward who tackles, tackles, tackles and tackles. Would be sad not to see him play before he sets off to England.
Billy Slater: A superhuman player who has been the best fullback in the competition this year and who can do it all. Interjects with breaks in play to lift his side when they need it the most. The Storm can’t win without him.
Steve Turner: Lightening fast, Turner proved to be good backup goal kicker last Friday night (4 from 5 goals) and loves to slant infield, make tackles and crash the ball carrier. If you fancy a punt for first tryscorer, he’s a good chance.
Matt Geyer: The former Western Reds star is playing his final game before he retires and becomes a surveyor on the Gold Coast. Is reliable, durable and dependable and defines the toughness that is Melbourne.
Israel Folau: Playing last game for the Storm before he heads to Brisbane. Is a powerful runner, been fairly quiet in recent weeks. His defense has been a little worrying and he’s not real flash on the turn and chase following kicks. But when he’s on a roll, he can kill an opposition off in a split second.
Anthony Quinn: Does the work of a back rower with dummy-half running and hit ups off one off the ruck, Quinn is fast, strong and like Turner loves to crash-tackle centres by angling infield. Scored the first try in last year’s Grand Final. Can he do it again?
Greg Inglis: Is a wonderful athlete, but he’s been playing left centre in defence in recent weeks and is not playing as well as last year. Watch out because he can motor and does put up some towering bombs that can put egg on the face of any team.
Cooper Cronk: Next to Billy Slater has been the Storm's other best star in 2008. Is super quick and can control a game with his running. His passing and kicking was dynamic against Brisbane and Cronulla. The perfect replacement for Matt Orford.
Jeff Lima: As usual, Lima has been a powerhouse this season and the form prop of the NRL.
Russell Aitken: The former Shark who bit them back while deputising for suspended Cameron Smith against Cronulla last week, Aitken can defend well and throws a fluent pass. Is looking for a new NRL contract next season and a big game here could very well attract some bidders from rival clubs.
Brett White: Tough, hard and willing and gets the job done. Is a big match player who without great stats in 2008.
Michael Crocker: Playing his last game for the Storm before joining Hull, Crocker literally couldn't walk after the Broncos' game he so exhausted, battered and bruised he was. Has been playing superbly and will be a big loss for the Storm in 2009.
Jeremy Smith: Smith is joining the Dragons next year and is strong runner, good ball player and hard worker.
Dallas Johnson: Does more work than you can imagine and is mister reliable. Averages 37 tackles a game and he and Crocker typify the agro the Storm will need take to Manly.
Adam Blair: Possesses terrific footwork, skills and talent galore.
Sika manu: Been a real find this year. I like his power running and talent.
Scott Anderson: Reliable bench player.
Antonio Kaufusi: Departing next year to North Queensland, he will be a big loss given how strong, tough and willing he is to get into the action.
Aiden Tolman: Named on a six man bench and unlikely to play..
Manly to win 19-12. In the final 15 minutes the Sea Eagles will soar above the Storm who should have been beaten by Brisbane. Three tough games in a row will finally take its toll.
GRL Grand Final Tips:
Phantom Tip: Manly
Josh King: Melbourne
The Traitor: Manly

Canberra V Brisbane
Sunday October 5, 2008
Referee: Shayne Hayne
Telstra Stadium, KO: 2:15pm
Television: LIVE on Channel 9
Radio: Live ABC 702

Canberra Raiders
1. Josh Dugan, 2. Drury Low 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Daniel Vidot 5. Michael Brophy, 6. Michael Picker 7. Matt Smith 8. Matt Britt 9. Travis Waddell 10. Nick Skinner, 11. Jarrad Kennedy 12. Zac Merritt, 13. Shaun Fensom (c), Interchange: 14. Brock Dunn 15. Andrew Edwards 16. Justin Carney 17. Todd Rheinberger
Reserves: 18. Levi Freeman 19. Dan Scanlan 20. Zac Russ Coach: Tony Adam
Brisbane Broncos
1. Josh Hoffman, 2. Mitch Rivett 3. Will Tupou 4. Brendon Gibb 5. Jharal Yow Yeh, 6. Jared Kahu 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Mitchell Dodds, 11. Matt Handcock 12. Troyden Watene, 13. Alex Glenn (c) Interchange: 14. Michael Spence 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Guy Ford 17. Tom Butterfield Coach: Anthony Griffin
Phantom Tip: Canberra
Josh King: Canberra
The Traitor: Brisbane

Wentworthville V Newtown
Sunday October 5, 2008
Referee: Shayne Hayne
Telstra Stadium, KO: 12:15pm
Television: LIVE on Channel 9
Radio: Live ABC 702

1.Tim Mortimer, 2.Iwi Hauraki, 3.James Grehan, 4.Etu Uaisele, 5.Jonathan Wright, 6.Mark O’Grady, 7.James Maloney ©, 8.Broderick Wright, 9.Martin Mitchell, 10.Jeremy Latimore, 11.Brett Blaker, 12.Justin Horo, 13.Joe Galuvao Interchange: 14.Jacob Byrne, 15.Natthan Cleaver, 16.Alfred Betham, 17.Justin Wood 18.Mathew Raftery, 19.Mitchell Stanfield, 20.Ben Taia Coach: Rip Taylor
Newtown Jets:
1.Don Thompson, 2.Shaun Foley, 3.Danny Howard, 4.Toshio Laiseni, 5.Byron Ford, 6.Sean Rudder ©, 7.Ben Jones, 8.Steve Meredith, 9.Rory Kostjasyn, 10.Ray Moujalli, 11.Jimmy Andersen, 12.Mickey Paea, 13.Hep Cahill Interchange: 14.Martin Kennedy, 15.Jake Friend, 16.Daniel Green, 17.Shane Shackleton 18.Tyrone Shelley, 19.Ben - Read More, Here