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Why your team will win the NRL grand final

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Brothers Kane and Lachlan Jones are seen ahead of the NRL grand final between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Sunday, October 1, 2017. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

FIVE REASONS WHY YOUR SIDE WILL WIN THE NRL GRAND FINAL

* Why Melbourne will win

1. The Big Three: Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater will play in their fifth grand final together in what will be their final club match as a trio. Of the 231 games they have played alongside each other, they have won 73.2 per cent of them.

2. Big-game experience: this is the Storm's third grand final in six seasons and eighth overall; the most in the past 20 years.

3. The Cowboys must buck history: no side has come from eighth to win the title and no side since the rebranded Sydney Bulldogs in 1995 has won from outside the top four.

4) Melbourne have the wood over the Cowboys: North Queensland have won just 10 of 35 (28.6 per cent) of the match-ups between these two sides; their worst strike-rate against any rival club.

5) Melbourne lead the league in attack and defence: the Storm concede the fewest points (13.5 per game) while also scoring the most (26.2 per game).

* Why North Queensland will win

1. Discipline: no side has conceded more penalties this year than the Storm (184).

2. Jason Taumalolo and the rampaging Cowboys forwards: North Queensland's lock needs just 54 metres to become the first forward to run for 5000m in a season. During the finals the Cowboys pack has run for more metres than any other team (1540m per game).

3. Completions: the Cowboys are the only side to have a completion rate above 80 per cent this year. During the finals they have been even more disciplined, completing 85.3 per cent of their sets of six.

4. They've learned to live without Johnathan Thurston: this year the Cowboys have won 11 of 20 matches (55 per cent) without their spiritual leader. Compare this to 2005-2016 when they won just 13 of 45 (29 per cent) games without him.

5. Home away from home: in the past they were known for not being able to win in Sydney but the Townsville side are on a six-game winning streak at ANZ Stadium.

© AAP 2017

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