First tackle: Roosters wall had a crack that needed testing
What an incredible defensive effort we saw from the Sydney Roosters in the grand final against the Storm. They faced one of the most lethal attacking teams of the past 10 years and no matter what was thrown at them, the Chooks held firm. It was made all the more incredible by the fact that one-armed Cooper Cronk was part of the line.
Cronk's defensive contributions were mainly a case of getting his body in the way while his teammates swarmed in to complete the tackle. His wealth of experience allowed him to be in the right place at the right time, and he was never really isolated. If anything, the Storm failed to send enough work his way.
One simple example of how the Storm could have tested Cronk further came with their kick-offs. Generally the halves position themselves under kick-offs before dishing the ball off to a rampaging prop. All of the Storm's first half kick-offs went to Luke Keary's side of the field. Cronk may have planned to have someone take the kick-offs for him, but we'll never know because the Storm failed to test him.
It was also noticeable that the Storm never lined their big men up for consistent charges at Cronk out wide. Whenever he was called on to contribute in defence it was usually a smaller back running at him. Did the Storm have too much respect for their former teammate? Regardless, the whole Roosters team deserve accolades for their efforts in defence.
Second tackle: Massive trophy for four wins
The inaugural Women's Premiership was won by the Brisbane Broncos in a convincing 34-12 display against the Sydney Roosters. Broncos team members and staff danced around the field in jubilation following the well-deserved win.
The Broncos went through the four-week competition undefeated and were clearly the best team. Considering what a success the first season has been, it can only be hoped that they expand the number of teams involved sooner rather than later. Otherwise we could continue to see the biggest trophy ever awarded for the amount of wins needed to win it.
Third tackle: Smart move with Martin
The 30 seconds Rhyse Martin spent on the field back in August to qualify for the Intrust Super Cup finals series certainly paid dividends for the Bulldogs. Martin's hard running, solid defence and accurate goal kicking played a vital part in them progressing to and ultimately winning the title against Newtown Jets.
In the State Championship final on grand final day, Martin scored the Bulldogs' first try after charging onto a cut-out pass before beating three defenders. He then slotted the conversion to give his team an early 6-0 lead. He was one of the stars for the Bulldogs as they went on to crush the Redcliffe Dolphins 42-18.
Fourth tackle: Big bucks for impossible task
At halftime in the grand final, the ground announcers declared that match-day sponsor Chemist Warehouse was about to give away $1 million to one lucky member of the crowd. All that person had to do was kick five goals from 40 metres out, within 50 seconds.
The breathless hostess spoke to the elderly gentleman on the 40 metre line and asked him if he was confident of achieving the task at hand. He said he was very confident and confirmed that he had no footballing background. The five Steedens awaited on kicking tees, lined across the 40 metre line, slightly off centre field.
Now 40 metres is further out than any first grader will place a ball to attempt a conversion. First graders can kick penalty goals from that distance, but they rarely do. It is not an easy task, especially with the pressure of $1 million on your shoulders and a pair of dress shoes on your feet. Before the person with the microphone started the countdown, he yelled that the lucky gentleman would receive $10,000 for each successful kick, if he didn't kick all five and take home the big prize.
The lucky contestant took a four-step run up, swung his foot and the ball dribbled off the tee all of two metres. He lined up the next and it dribbled ten metres. The next two didn't travel much further, and his final attempt actually left the ground momentarily before crossing the 20 metre line. Never mind, it was a great effort, said the female announcer, even consoling him with the suggestion that even she would probably struggle at that distance.
Fifth and last: Novelty oversized cheques are back
It was good to see the novelty oversized cheque making its presence felt on grand final day. The man-of-the-match award winners in the first two grand finals were presented with hilariously large pieces of cardboard.
The funniest however, was the cheque presented to the eight-year-old between games for winning a junior rugby league award. The poor little guy was nearly blown away by the stiff southerly as he battled to carry his cheque off the field. Hopefully his parents brought a car with plenty of cargo room for the trip home.
Handover: Ears are still ringing
The PA system at ANZ Stadium is either specially designed to accommodate the hearing impaired, or cruelly intended to add to the numbers of people who suffer such an impairment. The ground announcer made it worse by screaming his every word into the microphone to the point where his voice was literally painful.
A recent Foo Fighters concert at the same venue wasn't half as loud as everything that happened at the venue on grand final day. The Gang of Youths took to the overly elaborate stage before kick-off and belted out several tunes, with the volume set to bleeding ears level. During the game, at every break in play, the crowd was treated to music from artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, the Beatles and aforementioned Foo Fighters.
Is it designed the make the event more memorable considering your ears will ring for the next 24 hours? Does everything need to be so loud that your clothes buzz as the sound waves hit you? How did we ever get through a game of rugby league without musical interludes?