David Skipwith looks at the key players in Sunday's NRL grand final between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys.
North Queensland Cowboys
Johnathan Thurston - Halfback
Carries the hopes of his side and the legions of Cowboys fans desperate for their club to win a maiden premiership 20 years after entering the competition.
The two-time Golden Boot winner and four-time Dally M medallist is already pressing to be named the ninth Immortal, and a second grand final win on Sunday following his 2004 triumph with the Bulldogs will surely see him elevated into that elite company.
His left-side combination with back-rower Gavin Cooper and fullback Lachlan Coote has proven effective all year and the 32-year-old is sure to threaten with every touch of the football.
Thurston finished the season as the NRL's third highest points-scorer (203), while topping both the try assists (33) and line break assists (33) categories.
Michael Morgan - Five-eighth
The solidly-built playmaker possesses a strong running game and gives the Cowboys attack a point of difference to halves partner Thurston's subtle skills and sleight of hand.
Like his Broncos opposite, Morgan has made a success of switching from fullback to five-eighth this season, and won himself a Queensland jersey on the back of some outstanding form.
Many critics put a line through the Cowboys' title hopes when the 23-year-old succumbed to a late-season ankle injury but he recovered for week one of the finals and quickly returned to his best form.
Jason Taumalolo - Lock
The Dally M Lock of the Year is 80 minutes away from fulfilling his potential as an NRL title winner that has been evident since he burst on to the scene as a hulking 17-year-old in 2010.
The 112kg Kiwis test forward has backed up from an impressive season last year and found consistency in his game with marked improvements in his defence complementing his rampaging ability with the ball in hand.
The 22-year-old's match-up with Brisbane veteran Corey Parker will be intriguing, but if he can make inroads off the back of the work of props Matt Scott and James Tamou, the Broncos defence will be working overtime to keep their line intact.
Ben Hunt - Halfback
The 25-year-old has blossomed from a Broncos bench regular to become the club's best long-term No 7 since the retirement of club legend and big game specialist Allan Langer.
Hunt has all the skills and composure to execute when it matters, whether it is a darting run close to the ruck, delivering short or long passes inside and out, or a deft grubber or long-range kick - he can do it all.
His combination with halves partner Anthony Milford has earned the pair comparisons with Langer and Kevin Walters, and they will cement themselves in the club's proud history if they can steer the Broncos to their first premiership win since 2006.
Anthony Milford - Five-eighth
The 21-year-old prodigy has quickly lived up to predictions of greatness and shown why the Broncos worked so hard to wrestle him away from the Canberra Raiders for his third season in the NRL.
The Samoan international's dazzling feet and lightning quick speed have made the best defensive sides look ordinary while he has handled this season's move from fullback to five-eighth with aplomb.
Both he and Hunt felt the wrath of coach Wayne Bennett earlier in the year and found themselves punished at training for not adhering to the team's structures.
Since then, the pair have buckled down and throughout the latter half of the season found the fluency and rhythm demanded of them.
Adam Blair - Prop
Since joining Brisbane from Wests Tigers this season, Blair has helped to transform the Broncos from a competitive side to one within touching distance of the NRL title.
Whether it be a hard run through the middle, dishing out a bone-rattling tackle, or applying relentless pressure on the rival kickers, Blair relishes the physical exchanges and thrives on his status as the Broncos enforcer.
Apart from his core duties, the versatile forward also has a knack for cutting down opponents close to the line with grassing tackles and can lay on a pass with the skill and vision of a much smaller player.
He has plenty of big game experience after playing in three grand finals with the Storm and winning World Cup and Four Nations titles with the Kiwis.David Skipwith