How each team will win the grand final

Sonny Bill Williams will compete in his second NRL grand final and his first with the Roosters. Photo / Getty Images
Sonny Bill Williams will compete in his second NRL grand final and his first with the Roosters. Photo / Getty Images

Herald league writers Michael Brown and Chris Rattue look at the key winning formulas for both teams ahead of Sunday's NRL grand final.

The Roosters will win if...

Michael Brown

1 Their defence holds. The Roosters have kept teams scoreless six times this season, including the brutal 4-0 win over Manly three weeks ago.

2 They keep their nerve. Manly are stacked with grand final experience but for many Roosters it will be their first appearance in the decider.

3 Sonny Bill Williams fires. SBW is the most lethal player in the game and can pass before, at and after the line.

Chris Rattue

1 The Mitchell Pearce/James Maloney halves combo doesn't fold under the pressure, as they showed signs of doing in the State of Origin.

2 The NRL's best prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves isn't distracted by biffo, or what he terms technical glitches in his tackling.

3 Sonny Bill Williams is on fire - and he's sure to face plenty of return fire from Manly who will target him in any way possible.

The Sea Eagles will win if...

Michael Brown

1 They can get the ball to the edges. They have the best right edge in the game (49 tries this season) but their left edge isn't far behind (42).

2 The forwards can give Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans, the best halves combination in the game, enough room to dictate play.

3 They can find enough energy in the tank. They say they will be fine but they have had by far the more difficult run to the final and it could catch up with them.

Chris Rattue

1 Ace fullback Brett Stewart stays healthy. His sweeping runs and the confidence he brings are the key to Manly's attack.

2 Anthony Watmough stays healthy enough. He looks busted but keeps on keeping on. He epitomises the never-say-die Manly attitude.

3 Brenton Lawrence isn't physically swamped. The surprise performer of 2013 is quick for a frontrower but he faces an acid test against a power pack.

- NZ Herald

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