Anxious wait over as Brisbane confirmed for NRL decider
The NRL's first grand final in Brisbane has been given the green light to be played at Suncorp Stadium with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk planning to be among those in attendance on Sunday evening.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys on Sunday morning confirmed that the game between South Sydney and Penrith would go ahead in the Queensland capital with a capped crowd of 39,000.
Penrith star Tevita Pangai Junior sustained MCL damage to his knee when the Panthers prevailed in their tense affair against the Melbourne Storm in the Preliminary final last Saturday.
The Tongan prop was the only casualty to emerge after Penrith triumphed over the Storm 10-6.
In better news for Penrith, Moses Leota will return to action in time for Sunday’s decider after the Samoan was ruled out last weekend due to a lingering calf strain.
The Panthers boast a strong defensive unit which has proven to be the most watertight of any NRL outfit across 2021 and there’s little doubt head coach Ivan Cleary will look to approach Sunday night’s highly anticipated match with a clear emphasis on his team’s biggest attribute.
Meanwhile, halfback Adam Reynolds is the only concern for Rabbitohs fans heading into Sunday’s Grand Final, with the 31-year old carrying a groin concern.
Fans of the South Sydney outfit will undoubtedly be sweating on which player on their team’s roster will be tasked with goal-kicking duties as Reynolds’ race against time to be declared fit ensues.
Fullback Blake Taaffe is also in contention to be handed the goal-kicking mantle for the Rabbitohs.
The Rabbiohs will enter the Grand Final with plenty of momentum after dismantling the Sea Eagles 36-16 last Friday night.
To get their thoughts on which of the two league powerhouses would be crowned as the 2021 NRL Premiers, Flow FM producers scoured the traps of the Group 9 Rugby League competition played in the Riverina region of NSW.
James Hay, the player/coach of the Wagga Wagga Brothers and a 2021 player of the year, said despite believing Penrith are the better-placed side to emerge victorious, that he believes the Rabbitohs are armed with more impetus than their counterparts on Sunday.
“You need to have something to play for to win games of football and the Rabbitohs have their captain departing at the end of the season and sending him out on a high is really something to play for.”
The head coach of the Wagga Kangaroos, Simon Woolford, was optimistic that Penrith could get one over the Rabbitohs in Sunday’s decider as a result of having learnt much needed lessons from their earlier finals defeat.
“I think Penrith have learnt a lot from that loss in the semi-final, I think they’re going to be a much better opposition, a much tougher opposition this weekend, so I’m going to tip Penrith in a close one but I won’t be putting of my hard-earned money on it, that’s for sure.”
Wagga Wagga-based club South City Bulls head coach Nathan Rose was torn between what his head and heart were telling him in relation to which of the two clubs would emerge as the victors on Sunday.
“I think Panthers will win but I’m going to go for the Rabbitohs purely because my pop follows them.”
The NRL 2021 decider gets underway at Suncorp Stadium this Sunday night at 7.30pm eastern time.