The Clive Churchill Medal is one award that’s alluded Cameron Smith.(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
The Clive Churchill Medal is one award that’s alluded Cameron Smith.(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Expert NRL grand final tips

THE NRL grand final is almost upon us, with the mystery surrounding Cooper Cronk's injury making it difficult to assess whether the Sydney Roosters or Melbourne Storm will triumph on Sunday.

We've assembled a panel of experts to give their tips for the decider.

TOM SANGSTER

SUPERCOACH

Storm 12-6

First try-scorer: Curtis Scott

CC Medal: Dale Finucane

Will be a battle of defences at an ANZ Stadium slugfest, but the Storm are just too well-drilled.

Melbourne lock Dale Finucane is will thrive in the slugfest. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Melbourne lock Dale Finucane is will thrive in the slugfest. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

PHIL ROTHFIELD

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Roosters 19-14

First try-scorer: Blake Ferguson

CC Medal: James Tedesco

Massive boost to get Latrell Mitchell and Dylan Napa back for the biggest game of the season in a team that has the best defence in the competition

LAURIE DALEY

BIG SPORTS BREAKFAST

Storm 14-10

Even if both teams were full strength, I still think Melbourne will win. Both defensive orientated. It will be a low scoring game. With Cameron Smith and Billy Slater they are big moment players.

First try-scorer: Josh Addo-Carr

Josh Addo-Carr is a popular first try-scorer selection. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Josh Addo-Carr is a popular first try-scorer selection. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

STEVE MORTIMER

CLUBS NSW

Storm 18-4

First try-scorer: Josh Addo Carr

CC Medal: Cameron Munster

The Storm have a better kicking game to get to where they want to! & their defence is as good as the Roosters as well.

MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Roosters 16-12

First try-scorer: Cameron Munster

CC Medal: Latrell Mitchell

Reason one: The Roosters have built their season on defence. And there will be no better time to put it to good use with a touch of Latrell Mitchell magic to get them home.

Latrell Mitchell is sure to feature in key moments on Sunday. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Latrell Mitchell is sure to feature in key moments on Sunday. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

RAY HADLEY

2GB

Storm 26-16

First try scorer: Billy Slater

Man of the match: Billy Slater

Reason: Roosters can prove me wrong but loss of Cronk is too big a hurdle.

DAVID RICCIO

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Storm 18-14

First try scorer: Blake Ferguson

CC medal: Billy Slater

I was on the Roosters, but the upheaval surrounding Cooper Cronk has turned me. The Storm are full-strength, experienced and hell-bent on sending Slater out on top.

DARRYL BROHMAN

2GB

Storm 24-12

First try scorer: Billy Slater

CC medal: Cameron Munster

Too much class in the key position and the Cronk-factor hurts the Roosters.

Cameron Munster could again prove match-winner on the big stage. (AAP Image/Hamish Blair)
Cameron Munster could again prove match-winner on the big stage. (AAP Image/Hamish Blair)

YVONNE SAMPSON

FOX LEAGUE

Storm 20-14

First try scorer: Suliasi Vunivalu

CC Medal: Felise Kaufusi

Melbourne are the best team in the big games. I can see a Billy Slater chip and chase for the match-winning try.

LARA PITT

FOX LEAGUE

Storm 19-12

First try scorer: Josh Ado Carr

CC Medal: Cameron Munster

Melbourne will be boosted by the return of Billy Slater and with questions marks over Cooper Cronk, I think they'll be too good for the Roosters.

JESSICA HALLORAN

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Roosters 12-10

First try-scorer: Latrell Mitchell

CC Medal: James Tedesco

Trent Robinson's Roosters, the best defensive team comp, for the win. The attacking influence of James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell and Luke Keary get them home.

James Tedesco will be a strong selection in several markets. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)
James Tedesco will be a strong selection in several markets. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

BOB FULTON

IMMORTAL

Storm 22-18

First try-scorer: Billy Slater

CC Medal: Cameron Smith

Should be a fabulous grand final. Slater and Smith have been there, done that. Champions in any era. They'll give Storm a slight edge.

ERIN MOLAN

Roosters 14-12

First try-scorer: Billy Slater

CC Medal: Luke Keary

Billy's inclusion is huge for the Storm but I reckon Roosters will roll them. Latrell and Napa return to spark the Chooks!

 

JAMES SILVER

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Storm 10-8

First try-scorer: Suliasi Vunivalu

CC Medal: Cameron Munster

The Roosters' team, minus Cooper Cronk, have played a combined nine grand finals between them. The Storm have played in a combined 36 grand finals. That experience will get them across the line in a low-scoring slugfest.

JAMES PHELPS

Storm 13-6

First try-scorer: Suliasi Vunivalu

CC Medal: Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith will prove the difference in a game dominated by defence. Might have been a different story had Cooper Cronk been fit.