A grand final for the ages
Andrew Voss on the turning point in Souths' grand final win, why Adam Reynolds is ready for Origin, why Nathan Brown is ready for NRL coaching and more.
1) How good was the grand final?
For pure sporting theatre it was certainly up there.
Look, the 1989 extra-time grand final between Canberra and Balmain remains the best I have seen in my time covering and following rugby league.
However, Sunday night's win by South Sydney was compelling viewing right from the very first hit-up. You couldn't look away.
I have been asked would it have been the same had the Bulldogs won. That's a fair question and my answer has been "possibly not". The Rabbitohs were definitely the stars of the fairytale, but Canterbury more than played their part in a tough and gripping decider.
Decades down the track, fans will only see a 30-6 scoreline in the 2014 grand final. But those who witnessed the game will know that the 24-point margin doesn't reflect the story of the battle in any shape or form.
2) What was the grand final turning point?
The 54th minute: Sam Burgess' classic catch.
This was the one period of the game where I thought the Bulldogs were on top. Des Hasler's men had got the score back to 6-all via the try to Tony Williams and were again hammering the Souths line.
If Burgess fumbles that kick and the Bulldogs get a scrum feed, I'm not sure that Souths would have held their opponents out for another set.
What possibly would have happened from there, we will never know.
As it was however, Sam took the miraculous catch, and minutes later a Rabbitohs surge ends with George Burgess scoring a truly memorable grand final try.
The Bunnies would never be headed. But if that moment had gone differently, but Canterbury could have been 12-6 up with 25 to go, instead of 12-6 down.
3) Is Adam Reynolds now ready for State of Origin?
I thought Adam was tremendous in the grand final.
Lock in these features: composure, good kicking game, a sideline conversion that put Souths clear, and 21 tackles as an obvious target for the Bulldogs attackers.
I make no apologies for saying this: Adam Reynolds will never be as good as Johnathan Thurston. But nor will Trent Hodkinson or Mitchell Pearce, the two men that have worn the No.7 for the Blues in most recent times.
Thurston is established as one of the code's greats.
But Reynolds now has earned the right to be seriously considered for Origin level, and if his form is good enough, I hope that is the case when the series rolls around next year.
4) What happens to the grand final 'premiers' T-shirts of the beaten team?
I think they are just destroyed.
Some may say that is wasteful and they should be handed out as clothing to the less fortunate or underprivileged. That I believe is a scenario in the United States with the beaten Super Bowl team.
However in this day and age somewhere along the line such apparel would end up on Ebay and the like as a collectors item selling at some ridiculous price.
It's just a practical and commercial reality that premiers T-shirts have to be made in anticipation of a possible title win. That goes for the leading teams that don't even make the grand final.
But, someone, somewhere, surely has kept one over the years. Call it rugby league's little secret.
5) There's always someone worse off isn't there?
On a weekend where South Sydney ended a 43-year premiership drought, spare a thought for the famous Oldham club in the north of England.
Oldham was one of the founding clubs of the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895.
They managed only four titles in the top flight with the last being way back in 1956/57.
These days they are battling away in the Championship One, which is the third-tier competition in the UK.
And while they did last win a second division title 26 years ago, right now they are on a streak of grand final defeats.
On Sunday they lost their sixth consecutive grand final, all in the past eight years mind you.
Of even more heartache for their long-suffering fans, this time around they were beaten in golden point extra time by Hunslet.
It should be pointed out that run of six is one less than poor old James Graham, who has now tasted defeat in the last seven grand finals he has played for both St Helens and Canterbury.
6) Will Nathan Brown go out a winner in the UK?
Possibly, but if he doesn't, that will mean North Queensland Cowboys legend Matty Bowen will experience a grand final triumph for the first time.
This weekend marks the Super League grand final at Old Trafford with Brown's St Helens side to tackle Wigan, for whom Bowen will be the fullback.
No sooner had the Saints qualified for the grand final last week than Brown announced he would be coming back to Australia with his wife and four children despite having no coaching job lined up.
I believe he has plenty to offer the NRL, and Brown is confident he is a superior coach to the one that left Australia and the Dragons in 2008.
If he follows the Michael Maguire coaching timeline, major success may not be far off.
Maguire won the Super League with Wigan in 2010, and four years on has collected the NRL title as well.
For fans in Australia, you can catch the Super League decider on the Eurosport channel.
Thank heavens there is at least one game to watch this weekend.
My next column will be in two weeks before the Four Nations kick off. Until then…