Another season filled with plenty more trials, tribulations and outstanding rugby league all comes down to this – the 2021 NRL Grand Final.
The Penrith Panthers will get another chance to win their first premiership in nearly two decades on Sunday evening, but standing in their way are the South Sydney Rabbitohs, led by arguably the sport’s greatest-ever mind, Wayne Bennett.
The Panthers were given little hope of defeating minor premiers the Melbourne Storm in last weekend’s prelim, but they returned another tough performance to win passage into the decider.
Souths meanwhile made light work of Dally M winner Tom Trbojevic and the Manly Sea Eagles, and they will take plenty of momentum and confidence into Sunday’s meeting.
For the first time in history, the NRL Grand Final will be contested at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, and little separates the two clubs in betting.
You can find my complete preview and 2021 NRL Grand Final Tips below.
The Panthers went within one game of winning the Premiership in 2020 and they will get the opportunity to go one better in Brisbane on Sunday.
Ivan Cleary’s men strode out to an impressive competition lead during the first half of the season, but the Origin period and injuries saw them fall back into the pack and ultimately, lose the minor premiership race to the Storm.
Despite their finals campaign having started with a loss to their Grand Final opponents, the Panthers respondedto beat the Eels before continuing on last weekend, and they are fitting favourites in NRL Grand Final betting this week.
They boast a big, mobile forward pack that is rich with representative players, they will be steered around the park by New South Wales halves Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai, while all of their strike weapons, including the likes of Brian To’o, Matt Burton and Stephen Crichton have all been named.
The Penrith Panthers will take a power of beating in Sunday’s Grand Final.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Many times throughout the season, I thought that the South Sydney Rabbitohs were the best chance of beating the Melbourne Storm, should they win through to the Grand Final.
Fast-forward to Round 24, Latrell Mitchell is rubbed out for the season, and I, like many, assumed that any chance of making the Grand Final, let alone winning it had completely disappeared.
Fast-forward another few weeks and they have made the doubters look very silly, they’ve reaching the Grand Final and most importantly, they represent a serious chance of winning.
What I (and many other people) clearly didn’t take into account was the presence of Wayne Bennett and his ability to get his players firing on all cylinders at the absolute perfect moment.
Latrell’s absence has further paved the way for exciting youngster Blake Taaffe to stand up and be counted and despite having only played a handful of NRL games, he looks up to competing effectively in an NRL Grand Final.
Otherwise, the Bunnies line up at full strength, and a repeat of their Week 1 performance against the Panthers, or last week’s comfortable win over the Sea Eagles would make them extremely tough to beat again.
NRL Grand Final Betting
This looms as a terrific contest and there is a case to be made for both the Penrith Panthers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
That being said, there can only be one winner, and I am happy to stick with the Panthers.
I’m confident that their tough loss to the Storm in last year’s decider will prove beneficial to their knowledge of how to get over the line this time, and the experience gained by their stars during Origin will have them primed to perform on the big stage.
Back Penrith to Win by 1-12 Points ($2.75)
Try Scorer Betting
It’s one of our most popular markets week in, week out, and First Try Scorer betting offers its typically great value ahead of the NRL Grand Final.
Brian To’o has been scoring for fun in 2021 and perhaps unsurprisingly, he has opened a $7.75 favourite to cross first in the Grand Final, ahead of Alex Johnston and Stephen Crichton ($9), Jaxson Paulo ($11) and Matt Burton ($11.50).
I’m going to hold firm with the Panthers and back To’o to cross first, while for the Bunnies, a player like Dane Gagai, who tends to keep his best footy for the grandest stage, looks some nice value at odds of $15.
Anytime Try Scorer betting also boasts plenty of value around the likes of Campbell Graham ($3.20) and Kurt Capewell ($5).
Back Brian To’o to score the First Try @ $7.75
Back Dane Gagai to score the First Try @ $15.00
Back Campbell Graham to score a try at Any Time @ $3.20
Back Kurt Capewell to score a try at Any Time @ $5.00
Clive Churchill Medal Betting
Man of the Match in the NRL Grand Final each season is awarded the Clive Churchill Medal, and it too remains a popular market with punters.
Nathan Cleary has gone close to winning the Dally M Medal in the last two seasons, while it is also widely believed that he would have won last year’s Clive Churchill Medal, had the Panthers beaten the Storm.
I am confident that he is a lock for the award should Penrith win on Sunday, so I am happy to take the $4 available at publish, while Souths’ captain Adam Reynolds, who will leave the club at season’s end, represents outstanding value on the other side of the field.
Back Nathan Cleary to win the Clive Churchill Medal @ $4
Back Adam Reynolds to win the Clive Churchill Medal @ $13
NRL Grand Final Same Game Multi
Finally, I am going to load up with an NRL Same Game Multi for the final time in 2021 and pump up my odds by combining selections from a few of my favourite markets.
$2 lines are available in the NRL Grand Final, so I am going to take Penrith to cover the line (3.5) with Brian To’o scoring the first try of the match, and Dane Gagai scoring at any time for odds of $51.75 (at publish and subject to change).
Suggested Same Game Multi: Panthers (-3.5)/To’o 1st Try/Gagai Anytime Try ($51.75)