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Scott Sattler celebrates winning the 2003 Grand Final with Craig Gower and Penrith fans.

Every player who has ever made it to a grand final will tell you that it is unlike any other week of their career.

Some have the benefit of playing in more than one premiership decider and can learn from the experience; others get a one-and-only shot at history that can be brought undone before a ball has even been kicked.

"Over the years there have been some coaches who have famously changed all the routines the week of the grand final and it emotionally exhausts players," says Panthers 2003 Grand Final hero Scott Sattler.

Other than recovery, the physical preparation is done; it is now about fine-tuning game-plans and a couple of crisp training sessions amidst the organised chaos that encapsulates rugby league's greatest occasion.

There is the Dally M Awards on Monday night, thousands of fans to meet and greet and this year a special appearance at NRL Nation in Darling Harbour not to mention the Grand Final luncheon and Grand Final Footy Show on Thursday night.

And not forgetting there is a game to play on Sunday.

We asked five grand final heroes what advice they have for surviving the greatest week of the year.

Darius Boyd (2006, 2010 and 2015 Grand Final)

"After the Preliminary Final I said to a few of the boys that hadn't been there just to enjoy it. My first year I was so young and don't really remember it and in 2010 at the Dragons I definitely cherished it a lot more and enjoyed it.

"It's so hard to get to and so hard to win and such a great week so my advice is to just enjoy it. Obviously knuckle down at training and get everything right that we want to do for Sunday's game and prepare the best we can but you want to enjoy it and have fun because that's what footy's all about, especially at this time of year.

"On the flight to Sydney you start thinking a bit more seriously about the game and with a few more media commitments down in Sydney. For me, on game-day when you're driving to the stadium that's when it's pretty surreal. You see the big crowd and the atmosphere which is amazing."

Brent Tate (2006 Grand Final)

"They've certainly got to feed off the energy of the community but you've got to be careful too. You can't let it overtake you and become all consuming. Paul Green is very smart, he's a really astute coach and whilst he hasn't coached a grand final side he's been in and around a lot of grand finals with the Roosters and at the Broncs. He'll have an understanding of how to use it to their potential but they certainly need to get involved in it because it is important to the people and that's what you play for. You play to win a competition for the first time for North Queensland, that's what I played for. I would have loved to have won a comp up there but they've got the chance to do it now and they need to recognise it and feed off it."

Glenn Hall (2008 Grand Final)

"It is a massive week given the things they've got to do but the best thing is to sit back and really take it in and enjoy it. You don't want to waste all your energy and get caught up in it either because there is a job to be done at the end of it."

Scott Sattler (2003 Grand Final)

"Our coach John Lang said to us to enjoy every second of the week. 'I want you to do every interview, I want you to really soak up this week and take it for what it is because some players never get to play in a grand final.' He always used Cronulla legend Andrew Ettingshausen as an example.

"We had a group of young players and he wanted them to enjoy the moment so we really did soak up every moment of the grand final week. It allowed us to be who we are rather than trying to be someone we were not. If you're a person that didn't like talking to the media or fans and being part of the community engagement and are then thrust into it then you're not preparing the way you always prepare, and vice versa.

"John Lang was very adamant that if we were going to be successful in that game we had to soak up every part of it and prepare like you would normally prepare."

Petero Civonceva (2006 Grand Final)

"Big-game experience certainly helps, there's no doubt about it, especially playing in a grand final. No doubt some of those senior Brisbane guys will speak about preparing well this week but also tell the younger players what to expect and that will certainly help them. It's going to come down to how you take on the week. There's obviously a lot of excitement but you also have to mentally and physically prepare in a way that will enable you to play your best 80 minutes of the year on Sunday."



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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