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Inside this week's issue of Big League magazine...
It’s fair to say that the 2013 season has been conducted with an impending sense of doom, a metaphorical black cloud that since February we have been waiting to rain down upon the game with potentially disastrous consequences.

But when Brad Fittler, one of the legends of the game, becomes visibly excited at the prospect of possible finals match-ups across the final month of the season, you know we’re in for something special.

The beauty of this week’s round of matches is that supporters from all eight teams can turn up or tune in expecting their team to be very good chance of winning. My tipping in Round 26 was horrendous and there’s every chance I could get all four wrong this weekend, such is the beauty of the new system in which we are operating.

Big League has been fortunate to work with ‘Freddy’ on a number of different projects throughout 2013 – details will soon be released on how you can own one-of-a-kind jerseys signed by the biggest stars in our game, with all proceeds to be donated to charity – but to walk through a hypothetical Finals Series one game at a time with the Roosters and Panthers great (pages 14-15) was a fascinating exercise.
Although he can sometimes play the clown in his television roles, Freddy unquestionably has one of the most astute football brains of the modern era and stands alongside Darren Lockyer as a player whose knowledge of what it takes to win big games is almost unrivalled.

But the beauty of asking Freddy to name the winner of every finals game between now and October 6 is that he has an open and forthright opinion to offer and doesn’t let his relationships with players influence him. He’s even given Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy some pointers on how to get at Rabbitohs superstar Greg Inglis before their meeting on Friday night.

Who he believes will be crowned 2013 Telstra Premiers may or may not surprise but how he got there is an insightful and revealing journey into what lies ahead.

Big League was proud to celebrate the contribution of the cheerleaders in our game on Monday night when we crowned our winner for 2013 (you’ll have to turn to page 62 to find out).

Held in conjunction with sponsors Mary Holland, Go Do and Pro Sports Memorabilia, it was an opportunity to shine the spotlight on the cheerleaders, especially those whose teams may have given them little to get excited about in season 2013.

Mary Holland have agreed to be the major sponsors for the next three years to help raise the cheerleaders’ profiles.
If you’d like to see how the night went beyond the printed page, Erin Molan will be presenting a special package with all the glitz and glamour on The Footy Show on Thursday night.

Big League
Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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