Heads go with the storm
RUGBY LEAGUE: There may be no Queensland team in tomorrow's big match but there are Queenslanders taking part and two talented football teams competing.
For those who backed the Eels midway through the season there could be massive rewards as the team has come from nowhere to first make the finals and now challenge for the trophy.
There are all sorts of intriguing prospects.
Will the Eels be battle hardened from playing what has literally been a grand-final every week for well over month?
Finals experience always helps a team, so surely Storm must be favourite after making four in a row or will the thrashing by Manly last year come back to haunt them?
Has Storm too many match-winners when compared to the Eels?
As always we all have our own opinion. For me Billy Slater is the most exciting thing to pull on football boots and when he injects himself at pace to run the ball, Jarryd Hayne will require more than a strong pair of knees if he is to stop him.
However, it is just my opinion that Storm will win this contest by 16 points. More importantly the Morning Bulletin has spared no expense to find out the thoughts of local senior coaches.
Here is what they think.
• Wayne Barnett has had a very successful year with the Central Queensland Comets and so surely he will provide a decisive answer to which team will win tomorrow?
“My heart goes with the Eels,” Barnett replied.
However, he quickly adds that the winner will not be found by what people hope might happen.
“But I think Melbourne will win comfortably,” he added quickly.
Barnett said he hopes Hayne gets the room to produce a little bit of his magic but believes the Storm is too strong all over the park.
“The head rules over the heart and so I'll go for the Storm by 20 points,” he declared.
• Yeppoon coach Walson Carlos loves his football and he does not pick the Parramatta team to win for any sentimental reason, he believes they can do it.
“I'll probably go for Parramatta,” he said.
“I think the way things are going with them they are on a roll.”
Unlike some of the experts, Carlos does not see the Eels as a team totally reliant on one man, Jarryd Hayne.
“I think they are capable of breaking the Storm playing structure,” he said.
“Up until the last couple of games the Storm didn't have a lot of points in them.
“If Parramatta get ahead then I don't think the Storm can get the points to win it.”
“Parramatta by six or seven points.”
• John Jenkins knows what it is like to win a grand final as he coached Brothers to their triumph this year.
But can he make either of the two sides a clear favourite for the big grand final?
The answer is 'no' as Jenkins falls into the same category as Wayne Barnett.
“When I think with my head it's the Storm although with my heart I go for the Eels,” he said.
Jenkins looks at the match as a “dollar each way” bet.
“I think Parramatta can win it if they get plenty of ball,” he added.
Getting plenty of ball is a big ask against a team like the Melbourne Storm.
“They (Storm) have no weaknesses across the work,” he insisted.
While Jenkins likes Hayne as a footballer, he thinks the Storm have, in Slater, the better fullback.
“Storm will win by six or 26 points, it will either be very close or Storm will run away with it,” he added.
• Big Rex Gamble swears he has given up rugby league and is in pursuit of a playing career in basketball where he has joined a third-grade team.
However, the Fitzroys coach still has a passion for his league and was only too willing to express an opinion.
Gamble also jumps on to the Storm's side.
“They should be too strong and too classy,” he said.
Like his fellow experts, his heart is with an Eels victory but he does not believe it will happen.
“Storm are more consistent,” he added.
Gamble is also a Billy Slater fan and thinks he will have the greater impact upon the game.
“I think Storm will win it by six to eight points,” he concluded.
• Kane Hardy is never short of a few well-chosen words and the Norths coach reckons the result comes down to one word - that word is “Queenslanders”
“Storm has the majority of them,” he insisted.
“They also have too many match-winners.
“I'm taking Storm to win this one by 13 plus (points),” he said.