By Shayne Bugden For Daily Mail Australia
Published: | Updated:
Follow Daily Mail Australia’s live blog for all the updates and scores from the NRL grand final.
Pat Carrigan’s simple take on the Broncos’ game plan
The players are getting off the buses and Carrigan just told Darren Lockyer ‘we’ve just gotta do us’ when he was asked about the keys to victory for Brisbane.
Tamika Upton wins the Karyn Murphy Medal as best on ground in an awkward moment
And deservedly so – but Murphy doesn’t look happy about it as she stands on the dais with Upton, which isn’t surprising considering she’s the Titans’ coach.
Record-setting Knights team soak it up
No other Knights team had ever taken out the minor premiership like this NRLW side did, and now they’ve become the first back-to-back premiers in the club’s history.
That was a high-quality grand final. If the boys turn in a contest that matches that for momentum shifts, quality of play and desperation, we’re all in for a treat in about two hours’ time.
There are tears of joy right across the field, and skipper Hannah Southwell has just branded Tamika Upton a ‘freak’. Can’t argue with that.
‘That was one of the toughest matches I’ve been a part of,’ the fullback said after her match-turning effort.
Newcastle win their second straight premiership!
The Novocastrians go back to back – and you’d have to say Tamika Upton was best on ground.
Chance goes begging for Gold Coast
They tried to get a ball to Zara Canfield but she was under far too much pressure close to the line.
Short kickoff works for the Titans
The gamble pays off with just over two minutes to go.
TRY! Knights 24, Titans 18
Tamika Upton makes it a double as she regathers her own grubber kick after knocking it into the in-goal with her knee. She is a one-woman nightmare for the Titans defence this arvo, showing all the class and composure that won her the Dally M on Wednesday night.
Brad Fittler is rapt with her efforts, branding her a ‘genius’.
Blow for the Titans
Winger Destiny Mino-Sinapati won’t be back after failing her HIA. She was seen coming off with a nasty cut over her eye.
TRY! Knights 18, Titans 18
Tamika Upton has been kept quiet with her kick returns but she created that try all on her own, stepping back inside to leave the defence flat-footed as they failed to aim up on the inside, with Lauren Brown the main culprit. Jesse Southwell nails the conversion in tricky conditions.
NRL CEO speaks out on Josh Addo-Carr’s Koori Knockout brawl
Andrew Abdo has confirmed the NRL Integrity Unit is investigating the clash at the Indigenous footy tournament on Saturday. It was originally reported that the Bulldogs winger was knocked out, but new video appears to show him striking an opponent.
‘It’s disappointing to be talking about a matter like this on grand final day,’ Abdo told 2GB. ‘It’s a live investigation so we can’t say anything more.’
Another hair pull penalty
Tayla Predebon got hold of Evania Pelite’s hair there to give the Titans a leg-up, and they get right down to the tryline before a poor last-tackle option combined with committed Knights defence brings an end to the set.
Dead heat statistically – except for one category
The possession, number of runs, post-contact metres and line breaks are all just about neck-and-neck – but the Titans are braining it in the tackle breaks department, leading the Knights 33 to 17.
Great Titans defence saves a certain try
Shanice Parker looked like she was a lock to score there but Chapman and fullback Evania Pelite showed great desperation to hold her up.
Knights star Nita Maynard is off for an HIA
Broncos fans boo the Panthers team bus
Yep, you read that right. Footage of the Penrith vehicle arriving at the stadium was greeted with loud booing from the Brisbane faithful, who are at Accor in big numbers. Fans in Broncs jerseys were everywhere you looked in the CBD earlier today.
The story behind the strange message on Jesse Southwell’s wrist
The Knights half has ‘Chocolate Thunder’ written on the strapping on her wrist.
‘It’s from The Cat In The Hat movie, my best friend from sevens and I like to watch that movie,’ Southwell explained previously.
‘I thought I’d write it on my wrist to remember those fun times.’
TRY! Titans 18, Knights 12
The Lauren Brown-Jaime Chapman connection strikes again as the half sucks in two defenders before getting the ball away a split second before she got hit, giving the centre a pretty clear path to the line. She was tackled as she crossed the stripe but managed to twist and ground the Steeden. Conversion successful, just for a change.
TRY! Titans 12, Knights 12
Lauren Brown creates space for Jaime Chapman to cut back inside and crash over in a carbon copy of their first try of the match. How did Newcastle not see that coming? Knights prop Caitlan Johnston – who is on report for smacking her forearm into a Titan’s face – couldn’t get across to cover the gap in time. Conversion unsuccessful.
Here’s how the Titans got their last points – a penalty awarded right in front when Hannah Southwell pulled Georgia Hale’s hair.
Chance goes begging for the Knights on the stroke of halftime
A huge line break through that suddenly worrying left-hand side of the Titans defence, then a quick shift inside and Tamika Upton fires a ball to her left – but it’s a tad too low and the runner can’t haul it in. If she had, there was nothing between her and the line. That’s halftime.
TRY! Knights 12, Titans 8
Talk about a turnaround! Shanice Parker ran into a yawning gap on the left of the Titans’ line and simply strolls over. Brad Fittler points out the Knights have started asking far more questions of the Gold Coast defence by using decoy runners more often and their enthusiasm level has gone through the roof.
Newcastle switched goalkickers to Sheridan Gallagher there… and it didn’t work.
TRY! Titans 8, Knights 8
Sheridan Gallagher evens the score as the Knights shift it quickly to the right with some crisp passes. The pass looked a little dubious on first viewing but the replay confirms it was OK. Shanice Parker drew two defenders before getting the ball away there in a nice piece of play. Jesse Southwell misses with her second conversion attempt.
TRY! Titans 8, Knights 4
Jeez, didn’t they need that from winger Jasmin Strange, who ran onto a ripper of a cutout ball from Upton. Far better set from the Knights there, as they moved the point of attack around by using the ball far better. Conversion unsuccessful, but things would’ve been looking grim if they hadn’t crossed there.
Kick will have Cleary and Reynolds licking their lips
Tamika Upton just did very well to field a wobbling bomb that was buffetted by the strong winds at Accor. You can bet the Panthers and Broncos halves will be targeting the opposition with some towering kicks just like that one from Lauren Brown, who got the ball to float instead of go end-over-end or spiral.
Penalty! Titans 8, Knights 0
Knights skipper Hannah Southwell pulls her opponent’s hair, gives the Titans a shot from right in front and goes on report into the bargain.
This is too easy for the Titans
Jessika Elliston just went from a standing start after gathering a poor pass that went to ground and smashed through the Knights line to end up just short of the stripe. The Titans are making easy metres in every set – then clamping down hard on Newcastle with bodies in every tackle. This is the sort of play that will make the opposition wilt later on in the game due to the heat. Some very bad signs for the Novocastrians here.
Conversion successful: Titans 6, Knights 0
It’s still only early but Newcastle need to get themselves into this game with some urgency. They’ve been outgained by almost 150 metres already, but the real worry for them is the 10 tackle breaks the Titans have managed.
TRY! Chapman crashes over for the Titans
The Glitter Strip girls get the reward for all the pressure they’ve built as Lauren Brown puts Jaime Chapman over. Just too big, strong and committed there as she crashed over after running a line back to the inside of the Knights defence.
That’s why Tamika Upton won the Dally M
The Knights fullback just dug her team out of trouble with an outstanding effort to bring the ball out of the in-goal under extreme pressure. She fielded a challenging attacking kick with ease and showed no regard for her safety there.
However, her Knights are on the back foot again two sets later and they’re getting smashed in the possession battle, with the Titans owning 70 per cent of the ball.
Why extra breaks in play aren’t planned for the NRLW despite the 36-degree heat
The Knights and Titans are copping the peak of the heat today – but there are no plans at the minute to break their match into quarters, and humidity is the key.
The NRL has a heat stress index that measures the temperature, wind and humidity – and the lack of that last factor, combined with strong winds at Accor Stadium in Homebush, is taking the edge off conditions enough to rule out those extra breaks.
However, should the index change, the NRL has a range of options to help protect the players. It’s anticipated that the temperature should have dropped to around 30 degrees by the time the Panthers and Broncos kick off at 7.30pm.
How the Broncos are playing to honour two of their NRLW stars
Fans might have noticed skipper Adam Reynolds and the rest of the side wearing T-shirts with ‘Toni & Kaia’ emblazoned on the back at their captain’s run yesterday.
They’re showing their support for Brisbane NRLW stars Toni Hunt and Kaia Gould, the daughter of the team’s hooker, Lavinia.
Hunt was diagnosed with stage-four cancer last March and it looked like she’d beaten the killer disease until she received a devastating diagnosis recently.
Kaia was put in an induced coma in September due to complications with blood clots after she had life-saving open-heart surgery.
Hunt underwent 12 weeks of chemotherapy for cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer, a very rare illness that often presents no symptoms.
She had her gallbladder, half of her liver and two lymph nodes removed to beat the disease – and was given the all clear to come back and play footy afterwards.
Up next: Newcastle seek second straight premiership in the NRLW grand final
The Newcastle Knights are looking to make it two in a row after last year’s 32-12 win over Parramatta – and according to skipper Hannah Southwell, the key to them making the decider was an honesty session after their shock loss to the Cowboys in round two.
‘We had a big honesty session,’ Southwell said.
‘We weren’t really playing like we wanted so we kind of sat everyone down and asked if everyone was buying into what we’re doing here.
‘All the girls said ‘yes’, so I think from that day forward we’ve carried that with us.’
Coach Ron Griffiths conceded the reigning premiers had been complacent early in the season.
“We spoke after the Cowboys game and we didn’t think we got it right,” he said.
South Sydney win the NRL State Championship in a canter
The Bunnies have beaten the Brisbane Tigers 42-22, with a converted try right on the death sparing the Queenslanders from a more embarrassing scoreline.
Souths recorded eight tries with standout winger Tyrone Munro – who broke into first grade this season – racking up three of those, with Tom Carr chiming in with two meat pies and Ethan O’Neill, Dion Teaupa and Tallis Duncan also crossing the stripe.
Some more cynical fans used to say the State Championship was won by whichever team partied less after winning their grand final, but that doesn’t wash this time. The Tigers had an extra week to get that out of their system after beating Burleigh on September 17, whereas the Rabbitohs triumphed over Norths last Sunday.
G’day and welcome!
Can Penrith become the first team to win three straight premierships since the great Parramatta sides of the early 1980s or will the Broncos lift the trophy for the first time since 2006? We’re just hours from finding out on a scorching day in Sydney.
Daily Mail Australia has you covered for all the action and reactions as the biggest game of the year kicks off – and with both teams in outstanding form, it shapes as a gripping contest.