Sport 2020 NRL grand final: The ultimate preview
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Up to 40,000 fans will pack ANZ Stadium on Sunday for the 2020 grand final between the Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm.
The Storm have been away from home since their Round 7 match against the Warriors, played in Sydney. They then relocated to the Sunshine Coast, the home of their netball sister side the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
Craig Bellamy’s side adapted well to their new temporary home, winning three matches (including two finals) at Suncorp Stadium and winning all six of their matches at Sunshine Coast Stadium to finish second with a record of 16 wins, four losses and a points differential of +258.
NRL to launch investigation into Dally M leak
The NRL are fuming after it was leaked that Canberra star Jack Wighton had won the 2020 Dally M Medal.The Penrith Panthers are also livid at the leaked result and that their top player and coach were required to attend the awards night by leaving their bubble during grand final week.
Meantime, the Panthers won their final 15 matches in a row to secure the club’s first minor premiership since 2003, with a record of 18 wins, one loss, one draw and a points differential of +299.
Looking back now, it’s fair to say that the first seed planted in what has been a successful season for the mountain men was the Round 1 win over the Sydney Roosters, in which they came from behind to win 20-14 just before the crowd lockouts began.
Now, it is left to the two best sides of the NRL season to fight it out in the grand final, which was originally fixtured to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground but was returned to ANZ Stadium after planned renovations at the latter venue were abandoned due to COVID-19.
Both the Panthers and Storm enjoyed direct routes to the game, winning their respective qualifying finals against the Roosters and Eels at Panthers Stadium and Suncorp Stadium.
2020 AFL grand final: The ultimate preview
Some 217 days after the season started without a single soul watching Richmond play Carlton live at the MCG, the strangest AFL season in history will conclude when up to 30,000 fans pack the Gabba for a historic grand final between the Tigers and the Cats. It will be the first to be played away from the MCG since 1991, the first ever to be played outside of the state of Victoria and the first to be played at night. As a symbol, a small patch of MCG grass was trucked from Melbourne up to Brisbane last week and will be transplanted into the Gabba turf.
They then defeated the Rabbitohs and Raiders in their respective preliminary finals, with Ivan Cleary’s side outlasting the Pride of the League by 20-16 and the Storm having their berth wrapped up by halftime when they led the Green Machine 24-6.
Penrith will be boosted by the return of Viliame Kikau from suspension, while the Storm will go in unchanged from their preliminary final side.
The grand final will see Ivan Cleary come up against Craig Bellamy in a finals match for the third time, and there is no reason why the former should feel nervous, having masterminded two upset victories against the Storm during his time as Warriors coach.
The first came in the historic 2008 fourth qualifying final, when the Warriors became the first eighth-placed team to win a match under the much-maligned McIntyre system, when they upset the Storm 18-15 at the since-demolished Olympic Park Stadium.
AFL top 100: Geelong grand final preview
Eighty-nine years after Round 1, and 45 years after Round 2, comes the third round of Richmond-Geelong grand finals, this time in the unfamiliar setting of Brisbane’s Gabba. With the score one-all in the previous two battles and Richmond a warm favourite with the punters but not with the Footy Record’s experts (four out of five go for the Cats), it has the makings of another great game between the felines.
Most famous of all was the Warriors’ 20-12 win in the 2011 preliminary final, which denied Melbourne a spot in the decider 12 months after they were sentenced to finish last due to massive salary cap breaches.
While the Storm have been a side of consistency and excellence since those dark days of 2010, for the Panthers this will be their first grand final since 2003, when they defeated the Roosters 18-6 to win the most recent of their two flags.
And while Cleary and Bellamy will face each other as coaches in a finals match for the third time in 13 seasons, it will be the first time these two clubs face each other in any kind of finals match.
Video: Freddy & Joey’s Tips: Grand Final (Wide World of Sports)
Penrith have to overcome a poor record against their opposition, having only beaten the southerners three times since 2005. That does, however, include the teams’ only regular-season meeting, in Round 6, when the Pennies won 21-14 at Campbelltown Stadium. Scores were 14-all with 20 minutes to play, before a try to Kikau and a field goal to Nathan Cleary got the home side the win.
Melburnians celebrate Richmond Tigers' historic AFL Grand Final win
Crowds dressed in yellow and black marched along Swan Street in Richmond to ring in the victory on Saturday night. Fans chanted as they walked around while cars drove down the street honking their horns. Carrying signs and waving flags, the Richmond supporters were ecstatic their team had clinched the Premiership Cup for 2020.
This is expected to be the final match played by Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith, the NRL’s games record holder. The 37-year-old has achieved just about everything in the game, winning two premierships (not including the stripped 2007 and 2009 premierships) and claiming the Dally M Medal twice – 11 years apart, in 2006 and 2017.
The only one major award he has yet to win is the Clive Churchill Medal and how fitting would it be if he wins it in his NRL swansong.
A premiership win for the Storm in what is their tenth grand final would be their fourth legitimate title, and third in the past nine years. From the side that has been named, there are only nine survivors remaining from their 2017 premiership side, including Smith.
As for the Panthers, only their captain, James Tamou, and reserve forward Zane Tetevano have tasted the ultimate success, being part of premiership sides with the Cowboys and Roosters in 2015 and 2018, respectively.
Coincidentally, Tetevano will face the Storm in a grand final for the second time in three years.
Further, Ivan and Nathan Cleary could become the first father-son combination to win a premiership since John and Martin Lang did so in 2003, also with the Panthers.
 Penrith Panthers vs  Melbourne Storm
Gal: I was right, Gus was wrong on GF star
PAUL GALLEN: "I can't agree with you, Gal - we'd both be wrong." Well after the grand final, guess what Gus!It's a line Phil Gould said to me, while we were butting heads on 100% Footy, that I haven't forgotten.
Sunday, October 24 at 7:30pm (local)
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
This season: Panthers won 21-14 at Campbelltown Stadium in Round 17.
Last meeting in a finals match: none previous.
The stats that matter
• This is Melbourne’s tenth grand final, they are 5-4 so far, losing the most recent against the Roosters in 2018. They will be looking to win their fourth legitimate premiership after their 2007 and 2009 titles were stripped due to salary cap breaches.
• This is Penrith’s fourth grand final and they are 2-1, winning the most recent against the Roosters in 2003. They are aiming to win their first premiership in an even year (their two previous premierships came in 1991 and 2003).
• Cameron Smith is looking to win his third premiership medallion, all as captain. He is the only remaining survivor from the 2007 and 2009 sides that had their titles stripped.
• Smith only needs to win the Clive Churchill Medal to claim just about every major individual award possible (also including the Golden Boot Award and the Dally M Medal). Others to have achieved this include Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Andrew Johns.
• This will be the first grand final since 2010 not to feature a previous Clive Churchill Medallist.
• The only remaining survivors from the Storm’s 2012 and premiership side are Cameron Smith and Jesse Bromwich.
• Storm survivors from their 2017 win are Smith, J Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Suliasi Vunivalu, Josh Addo-Carr, Cameron Munster, Felise Kaufusi, Dale Finucane, and Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
• James Tamou is aiming to win his first premiership as captain.
• Smith can become the first triple-premiership winning captain this century.
Sports opinion delivered daily
The Storm have more premiership experience but the Panthers have been the most consistent team all season, as evidenced by winning 17 straight matches and not being beaten for more than four months.
The Panthers have the Sydney support, as was the case in 2016 when the Sharks had nearly all of the city behind them, with the expectation that ANZ Stadium will be a sea of black.
Match: Penrith Panthers by four points
First try: Dylan Edwards (Panthers), Josh Addo-Carr (Storm)
Most tackles: Viliame Kikau (Panthers), Kenny Bromwich (Storm)
Clive Churchill Medal: Ivan Cleary (if the Panthers win), Ryan Papenhuyzen (if the Storm win)
The Crown: Embattled Princess Diana pleads 'to be loved' .
The preview shows the royal pleading 'to be loved' by the Royal Family after marrying into the firm at a young age, after Prince Charles was pressured to wed and secure his future on the throne. Gillian Anderson also offers her version of Margaret Thatcher's Iron Lady drawl as she plays a 'dangerous game' by clashing with the Queen after being elected as Prime Minister, vowing she doesn't mind 'making enemies' as she divides the nation with her Parliamentary views.