Player Poll: Who wins the grand final?
NRL.com staked out on the Dally M awards red carpet on Wednesday night and asked past and present players: Who wins Sunday night's huge decider at ANZ Stadium, the Melbourne Storm or the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks?
Jake Friend (Roosters)
I think Melbourne will probably win. But I know Jimmy (Maloney) and a few of the boys from the Sharkies so it would be pretty good to see them win a premiership.
Josh Hodgson (Raiders)
Obviously we'd love to be there and it's a shame we're not but I think it's going to be really close and it's a really tough one to call. I think Melbourne might just get there. They've been in a lot of big games, have a lot of players who've been in massive games and played on the big stage a lot so I think Melbourne might just get there.
Sam Bremner (Jillaroos)
Definitely the Sharkies, as a big supporter. I just think they have so much momentum behind them. I've been around Cronulla these past few days and there's so much excitement in the area. They'll feel like they have nothing to lose.
Ryan James (Titans)
Hopefully Melbourne. I've got a good mate (Cheyse Blair) playing for them. Sharks will hold out for the first half but I think Storm's defence will strangle them in the end.
Danny Buderus (Knights assistant coach)
The Sharks. Their 'never-won' mentality will just get them home in the battle. They look like they have visualised picking up the trophy already and how they're going to play. 15 wins in a row earlier in the season was such a huge feat so there's something definitely special in their DNA.
Gareth Widdop (Dragons)
Obviously they're both great teams but Melbourne probably have a bit more experience so I'll tip them. In saying that, Cronulla have a lot of spark across the field so it'll be close.
Trent Merrin (Panthers)
It's a difficult one to pick. But you can't go past Melbourne, they're a top team and they've been in these positions before. I'm going for Melbourne but the Sharks will put in a great effort.
James Tedesco (Wests Tigers)
I think Sharks. If they play like they did against the Cowboys [in the preliminary final] by throwing the ball a bit and run the Storm around they'll be in with a big chance. If James Maloney steps up like he did last weekend when he comes up against (Cooper) Cronk, they'll grind out the Storm. Melbourne were lucky to win against the Raiders.
Renee Gartner (NRL Footy Show)
I think I'm finally going to go with a favourite and say Melbourne Storm on this one. I've been trying to tip Manly all year which has been my undoing (in the NRL.com tipping comp). You can't go past (Cameron) Smith and Cronk, you can't fault them in any way.
Shane Flanagan (Sharks coach)
We win because we have a better team!
Darius Boyd (Broncos)
I just think Melbourne will be too good. The way they go about the game, their game management will be huge for them. In those big games, you need players who have been there and done it plenty of times. Melbourne have those players who have that experience. It'll be close but Melbourne will get over the line.
Mitch Moses (Wests Tigers)
I think Melbourne. If they get a good start and a good lead in the game I think they can grind out the game. (Cameron) Smith and (Cooper) Cronk can end the game there.
Sia Soliola (Raiders)
It's a tough question because both teams have shown they are class acts throughout the year. I daresay it'll be good for rugby league and the Shire community if the Sharks win. In saying that, Melbourne have plenty of experience in that area. Take your pick, really. With the energy of the guys playing their first grand final it's a hard one to choose. But as a Raiders man and with Craig Bellamy being an old boy I'll go the Storm I guess.
Kezie Apps (Jillaroos)
Melbourne Storm… because I support (fellow Bega product) Dale Finucane!
Kane Evans (Roosters)
On stats, Melbourne Storm – they're number one in defence. But I'm picking Cronulla because they have heart.
Nathan Cleary (Panthers)
I think the Storm win. They have been the top team all year and their defence is amazing. They'll be hard to beat.
Jarrod Croker (Raiders)
I think Cronulla will be hard to beat because of the form they're in at the moment but it's very hard, it's a toss of the coin job.
Dene Halatau (Wests Tigers)
I have former teammates on both sides who are all great blokes but I'm hoping the Sharks win. They're due. To be honest, before the finals I thought they were overachieving but they have shown over the past month they are where they deserve to be. I'm hoping they get to lift the trophy.
Ash Taylor (Titans)
Melbourne. I idolise Cooper Cronk. He's had a massive year this year and they're going to be very hard to beat.