Cronk leaves Melbourne a champion as Storm dominate Grand Final

Bryan Strickland
October 2, 2017

"The Cowboys need to also attack Melbourne's defence with some change of direction running in and around the ruck".

On grand final day 12 months ago Josh Addo-Carr had been playing fullback for the Redfern All Blacks in Koori Knockout when at one stage he was cleaned up by a coathanger as he strove for the line. There was slight assistance from referee Matt Cecchin, who had inadvertently interfered with the attempts of Te Maire Martin to catch up with Addo-Carr when the Cowboys five-eighth ran square into him.

Melbourne star halfback Cooper Cronk is expected to retire or move to a Sydney club next season.

The Storm were stronger from the outset, going close to scoring early on two occasions.

She has also previously spoken about Billy's high profile and that while he has a host of followers, she sees him only as a "great husband and dad" - not a superstar. Then Antonio Winterstein knocked on a Cronk grubber kick to give the Storm prime field position. Both are fantastic options to back and are at decent odds to be the first try scorer. We've got so much respect for you as a football team.

On paper Melbourne have the better big men, led by names like Jesse Bromwich and Tohu Harris, but the reality is that the Cowboys have the edge on the Storm's forwards.

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However, eventually, Martin got through some exhausted defence to give the Cowboys a chance. But that was as good as it got.

After one of the finals runs for the ages, North Queensland have a chance at their second title after one of the most dramatic, improbably and downright incredible playoff runs in rugby league history. After weathering the comeback for a while, Melbourne then hit back through Dale Finucane. Their game plan without Thurston was sturdy and low-risk, good enough to get them past brittle opponents in September but no match for the Storm in October. Coach Paul Green's men are full of confidence and have nothing to lose - a combination that could very well prove the ideal recipe for premiership success.

After a stalemate that stretched almost 20 minutes, the Storm took control of the first half, with Josh Addo-Carr's stunning opener setting the tone for the evening.

One thing the Cowboys have in their favour is they have got two guys who are among the form players of the competition in Michael Morgan and Jason Taumalolo.

"There's no fairytales in rugby league, all there is working really hard and results go your way", the 33-year=old told Channel Nine. The best team of the year, who have been the best team for a decade or more, are NRL champions again. As we saw in the preliminary final, Addo-Carr can change a game with a single touch and if he gets some clean ball and a bit of space you can forget about it. Melbourne had done it, they were champions once more.

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