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THE Roosters have been the NRL’s form team for most of the season and go into the grand final as favourites, but on the big stage no team has more experience than Manly.

So who will win and why?

Five Reasons the Roosters Will Win:

  • Size Matters: Right now Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is the best prop in the game and even though he wasn’t judged man of the match last week against Newcastle he was the single biggest difference. Once the Roosters big men build momentum they are almost impossible to stop.
  • Origin Redemption: They’ve done this week after week for months now – but trying to deliver in a grand final will still be their biggest test.
  • Sonny Bill Williams: He has a phenomenal power game and his ability to offload is freakish. The Roosters play flat so they have support around SBW at all times. Against Newcastle every time Sonny Bill threw the ball out the back someone was ready to act on the half chances. He is the X-factor in this match.

Sonny Bill Williams

  • The Best Defence: It’s no secret the Roosters have the best defence in the league and that is why they finished as minor premiers. That is also why they are the favourites to win tomorrow. They continually turn up for each other and they scramble and they have excellent structure.
  • Speed Kills: You don’t need too many chances when you have speed like Michael Jennings, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Daniel Tupou and Anthony Minichiello.

Five Reasons the Sea Eagles Will Win:

  • Playing Tough: Manly play tough like no other team – it starts up front and it goes all the way back.
    Manly don’t have to find a way to lift their intensity at this time of the year because that’s the style they play every week through the likes of Kite, Ballin, Watmough, Glenn Stewart, Brett Stewart, Jamie Lyon, Kieran Foran, Steve Matai … and the bookies still have them as the underdogs.
  • Grand Final Experience: Manly have 19 wins from 26 grand final appearances and, importantly, most of them did it as a group in 2011.
    Geoff Toovey won a Clive Churchill Medal in 1996 and knows what it takes to succeed on this stage.
  • Jamie Lyon: The fact a player as tough as Kurt Gidley rates Jamie Lyon as his favourite tells you just about everything you need to know about the Manly skipper. He is as fast and skilful as any other centre in the game but plays tough like no other.

Jamie Lyon

  • Brett Stewart: If they get an even share of possession and penalties tomorrow Stewart will get them home.
    He creates tries and he finishes them off and just his presence gives teammates enormous confidence. On top of that his combination with his brother Glenn is magic.
  • NRL’s Best Halves: The Roosters have the NSW halves and Manly have the NRL’s best halves. Both combinations have been great this year but right now you have to lean towards the Manly boys being just ahead of their opponents on form and experience. Whoever wins this battle tomorrow will be doing a lap of honour on their way to the dressing rooms.

We’re only days away from the NRL Grand Final and the countdown is on to see one of the world’s best centres, Jamie Lyon face off against the flashy Michael Jennings.

While Jamie Lyon may not be as gifted as Michael Jennings, he knows when to call the ball, how to get outside his man and how to put an incredibly potent finisher in Williams away down the sideline.

Here are the key stats between the two:

Michael Jennings
Age: 25 (20 Apr 1988)
NRL Games: 147 (PEN 122, SYD 25)
NRL Points: 360 (90t)
NRL Finals: 4 (W2, L2)
NRL Grand Finals: None
Origin Games: 10 (NSW)
Tests: 5 (TON, AUS)

Jamie Lyon
Age: 31 (24 Jan 1982)
NRL Games: 235 (PAR 70, MAN 165)
NRL Points: 1148 (106t, 362g)
NRL Finals: 23 (W15, L8)
NRL Grand Finals: 4 (W2, L2)
Origin Games: 10 (NSW)
Tests: 8 (AUS)

Who do you think will perform on the big night?