Broncos welcome all-Queensland 'prize fight'
Less than a month after declaring that the Cowboys were the dominant Queensland team of the NRL Broncos forward Sam Thaiday has welcomed the grand final "prize fight" that he says is a promoter's dream.
The historic all-Queensland Telstra Premiership Grand Final may on the surface appear to be a hard sell in the harbour city but Thaiday believes the history between the two clubs over the past 20 years and their three preliminary bouts already this season makes it a match-up made in heaven.
In Round 3 the Broncos shook Queensland rugby league's axis when they raced to a 44-12 lead over the Cowboys prior to the 60-minute mark but then in Round 10 the Cowboys squared the ledger with a 31-20 win in Townsville.
When they met in the Qualifying Final in Week One of the finals the Broncos were forced to make 50 more tackles and had just 43 per cent of possession before winning 16-12 and Thaiday is in no doubt that the most significant game in the history of their rivalry will be the best yet.
"If you're a promoter this would be the prize fight that you'd love to promote," Thaiday said.
"There are a fair few fairytales that can be written after this and I'm sure this will be a fantastic game to be a part of and it will for sure go down in history.
"The best thing about playing the Cowboys in a grand final is that they bring the best out in the Broncos.
"We've played them three times this year and they've been three cracking matches and we get the chance to play them one more time.
"[The Qualifying Final] was a very tough, physical, fast game and a lot of people were saying after that game that that should be the grand final and it just so happens that we get to meet them again."
In any other year the Broncos qualifying for the grand final would be cause for a state to unite in support but the reality is that the majority of impartial footy fans are likely to side with the Cowboys and their quest for a maiden premiership in their 20th year.
It's been nine years since Corey Parker has played in the one and only grand final of his 15-year NRL career to date and he said Brisbane are happy to play the villain, regardless of who they are playing.
"If you were going to Sydney to play a Sydney side it would be the same way," Parker said of not being the crowd favourites.
"It will be interesting. Grand final day, it will be a full house and I suppose there might be some fence-sitters but we'll see how it all goes.
"The one thing we all know is that Queensland rugby league has a massive following and it's nice to be a part of the inaugural all-Queensland grand final.
"People ask if you're happy to be playing the Cowboys but to be honest, it's not about who we're playing. It's about us and we're in a grand final.
"We've given ourselves a great opportunity. We've come a hell of a long way as a side and it's been a great journey and a fantastic ride but from our point of view it's not finished yet."