RESULTS: 2020 NSWRL Grand Final Day
47 mins ago | New South Wales Rugby League
State pride goes on the line on Sunday afternoon when the Canterbury Bulldogs and Redcliffe Dolphins battle it out for the state championship.
Despite suffering a 28-18 loss to Penrith in week one of the finals, the Bulldogs surged all the way to the decider last week at Leichhardt Oval when they faced the Newtown Jets.
And it looked like their push for the premiership would fall short after they trailed 10-0 early.
Yet a determined defensive effort saw them hold the Jets tryless in the second half to secure a hard-fought 18-12 win.
Canterbury's advantage on Sunday afternoon comes in the form of their forward pack, which was one of the most experienced in the Intrust Super Premiership.
Led by breakout backrower Rhyse Martin and lock Greg Eastwood, this Bulldogs pack knows what is expected in the big games and should provide plenty of go forward up front.
While the Dolphins can match Canterbury in the forwards, it is their speed and power out wide that shapes as their advantage in Sunday's decider.
Fullback Trai Fuller was brilliant in last week's 36-22 win over the Easts Tigers, scoring two tries and constantly threatening when bringing the ball back.
Kotoni Staggs also proved hard to handle on the edge as Redcliffe held off a resilient Tigers outfit to secure the Intrust Super Cup.
The Dolphins were the best attacking and defensive side in their competition but they'll need to show more commitment defending their line on Sunday afternoon when they take on a Bulldogs side who is impressive in both areas of their game.
Last meeting: These two sides have never met before.
Who to watch: Josh Cleeland is yet to break first grade for Canterbury, but another strong performance on Sunday would go a long way to seeing the youngster finally make it. Cleeland possesses all the qualities you want in a five-eighth, with a tactical kicking game paired with electric footwork. Behind a strong forward pack, the 27-year old should be given every opportunity to push for an inclusion in the first-grade side come next year.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins were inspired by a man-of-the-match performance from Toby Rudolf, who recorded 143 running metres, seven tackle-breaks and 33 tackles. Rudolf is a no-nonsense forward whose strong carries were crucial in Redcliffe's win last week over an erratic Tigers outfit. You know exactly what you are going to get from Rudolf and that's a quality that you want out of all your players in big occasions like Sunday's match.
The favourite: Canterbury are strong favourites to take out the interstate title.
My tip: While New South Wales have dominated this fixture in recent years, the Dolphins showed enough in last week's 14-point win to suggest that they can trouble the Bulldogs' usually resilient defence. Redcliffe by six.
1. Mason Cerruto 2. Josh Bergamin 3. Morgan Harper 4. John Olive 5. Jayden Okunbor 6. Josh Cleeland 7. Nu Brown 8. Renouf To'omaga 9. Zac Woolford 10. Francis Tualau 11. Ofahiki Ogden 12. Rhyse Martin 13. Greg Eastwood 14. Bronson Garlick 15. Lachlan Burr 16. Jack Nelson 17. Chris Smith
1. Trai Fuller 2. Josh Beehag 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Tom Opacic 5. Jeremy Hawkins 6. Bryce Donovan 7. Cameron Cullen 16. Nathan Watts 9. Jake Turpin 10. Sam Anderson 14. Myles Taueli 11. Toby Rudolf 13. Jamil Hopoate 8. Nick Slyney 12. Aaron Whitchurch 15. James Taylor 17. Hugh Pratt
Referees: Adam Cassidy, Liam Kennedy; Sideline Officials: Mark Bohan, Jarrod Cole; Video Referees: Jared Maxwell, Luke Patten;