Key battles: 5 ways the grand final could be decided
PREMIERS Norths Chargers and Rockhampton Brothers - the old firm - meet again in this year's grand final.
We saw a pulsating thriller in front of a packed Browne Park last season, now it is time to do it all again.
Here are five key match ups that could decide the fortunes of this year's grand finalists.
1: Fullbacks: Elijah Anderson vs Ian Webster
The young gun with speed to burn against the willy old veteran with every trick in the book.
Anderson, last year the fastest schoolboy in Capricornia, will call upon his explosiveness and agility to inject himself in the game. Watch out if he gets into the clear. He has had to warm to a-grade but now he looks like a seasoned pro.
Webster, the CQ Capras legend, has slotted into the custodian role over the last month in a move that's proved to be a masterstroke by Damien Seibold. He supports the halves well and has all the knowledge needed. If Brothers are to pull off an upset, Webster will likely be man of the match.
2: Halves: Caleb Tull and Dean Allen vs Ryan Burke and Jacob Langdon
Tull, the hero of last year's epic triumph and Allen, the injured water boy who cruelly missed out. Tull brings an athletic frame, capable of slicing through gaps or using sharp hands to play others through. Allen is the little general. His kicking game is the best in the comp and he is one tough little bugger. He is my tip for man of the match.
Brothers halves pairing are unchanged from last year's grand final but they must find another gear. A pairing that is both tough, quick and clever, but one possessing plenty of experience, the duo must turn Norths around. If their kicking game is off, Brothers are in trouble.
3: Hookers: Darcy Davey vs Grant Rogers
Two similar players, so important to their side's chances. Davey is perhaps the most underrated hooker in CQ, but not by coach Kane Hardy. Vital to his side's defensive patterns, he tackles all day and gets his side rumbling up field. The crafty nine has also chipped in with nine tries.
Rogers' influence on his side is strong. If he has a worldy, it could be enough for Brothers to scrape home. His captain Jacob Langdon expects him to rise to the occasion and add another title to his belt. He was key to Brothers 2013 victory albeit playing at lock forward.
4: Forward leaders: Matthew Jarvis and Daniel Tanner vs Mitch Zornig and Cooper Nobbs
Norths' gameplan will be simple, charge the ball up fast and get quick play the balls. They will bash, bash and bash some more. Jarvis, the Tanner, Tanner then Jarvis. They're smart, experienced and tough as anyone in RRL. It is an engine room like no other in this competition.
Former CQ Capra Zornig's main role is to dish out as much pain and physical harassment on Dean Allen as possible. Be it tooth, nail, rib or elbow, if Allen has time on the ball, watch out. Zornig is the man for this role and will give him a torrid night. Nobbs will tackle all day in attempt to shut down the Chargers go-forward. With a great tackling technique he will hit their legs or jam them - he will have to do it for 80 minutes.
5: The benches
Norths have a big bench and plenty of quality most starting packs would be envious of. Forrest can play almost anywhere and can be electric at times. Johnston is a Q-Cup player and Josh Irwin is as rock-solid as ever. But look out for big Andrew 'Heavy' Dale off the bench - he provides inspiration and work ethic - he almost missed the game with his wife in labour, Norths lift when he is on the field.
If anyone can change the game for Brothers from the bench it is Jayden Vea Vea. A TRL Queensland representative, Vea Vea is a total nightmare. Think peak Ben Barba coming off the bench. The experienced Michael Boulter has tasted premiership success before and Todd Russell and teenager Chalice Atoi will be raring to go.
My tips: Norths to be too strong and win by 13-20 points. Allen for man of the match.