Billy Slater has to be freed to play in the NRL grand final, but even without him the Storm would win, says Over the Black Dot co-host, Owen Craigie.
By
Owen Craigie

26 Sep 2018 - 3:32 PM  UPDATED 26 Sep 2018 - 3:49 PM

This Sunday the Storm and Roosters will battle for the NRL grand final glory.

It's two of the best teams in recent years, but I think the Storm are just a class above the rest; they've shown their true colours.

 

Cronk will be Targeted 

I think the Roosters will cop a massive loss with Cooper Cronk's injury and miss his experience on the big stage.

He'll be given right up until kick-off to prove his fitness from his shoulder injury and that's testament to how important he is.

But even if they give him needles and strap it, the Storm are gonna target him. You're chasing a place in rugby league history and if it means taking one bloke's arm out due to injury, then they'll do it. He can't play from what we've seen so far.

He spent most of the second half last weekend with one arm. He was gutsy to play on in the prelim, but he's done his rotator cuff. That's pretty bad and we saw that on Saturday when his arm was basically hanging off.

I think he just needed to stay out there against the Rabbitohs because of his skills as an on-field coach. He didn't really offer much physically, but what he did put out there spoke volumes. 

 

Billy's Final Game

Billy Slater is cleared to play. It was a shoulder collision against the Sharks. It wasn't a shoulder charge.

You've got to make that hit and it's a contact sport. If they upheld the suspension to Billy Slater from playing, I would have given up. The game's losing what it was all based and formed on.

If they upheld the suspension to Billy Slater from playing, I would have given up. The game's losing what it was all based and formed on.

If it was a shoulder charge, Sosaia Feki would have gone further than the sideline, he would have ended up in the grandstand.

It was a shoulder collision and he couldn't pull out at speed. So what else are you meant to do to protect yourself going in the fast? You turn your back, you put your shoulder down and collide.

 

It would have been a shame had he have missed this Sunday, because the NRL grand final is such a special day. It's the pinnacle of rugby league in Australia.

Nothing compares to the grand final. It's the stage of kings. It separates the men from the boys.

Three grand finals in a row for the Storm and they can go back-to-back. Even if Billy Slater wasn't playing, I still think the Storm would win.

They've got the weapons and they're too composed, right across the park they've got it

 

Big Hitters Return

The Roosters do get some help back this weekend and they get Latrell Mitchell and Dylan Napa. That'll help them be competitive, but I don't think the Roosters have the same composure.

The thing with these two teams is that the Roosters are playing a team who are in their third straight grand final. This is a team of superstars. The Roosters are good in patches.

The Roosters will also miss the kicking game and organisation of Cronk. So then Latrell doesn't get as much ball, the organisation isn't gonna be there and on the big stage, the little things like 40-20s and repeat sets count so much.

And over time when blokes are down and their body language is down, then the Storm are the best. They've changed the game forever. The Roosters are a good side, but the Storm are a great team.

That's the difference there.

 

The 2018 Koori Knockout airs 9am Sunday and 9am Monday on NITV (Ch. 34). NITV will also broadcast live matches on Facebook from Friday to Monday.