Which team will handle the grand-final pressure better today? wonders Brad Fittler
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Ahead of Sunday's mouth-watering season decider at ANZ Stadium between Melbourne and Cronulla, Brad Fittler believes while all players will do whatever it takes to defend their line today, not all will be able to execute their skills under the presssure of the big occasion.
Fittler also pondered whether the hunger of the Sharks players to make history by winning the club's first-ever premiership might just be the difference against a Storm side which has more players with more big-game experience.
There are six grand-finalists in both teams, yet Melbourne definitely have the edge in playing on the big stage.
"There's [experience of] a lot more Origins … a lot more big moments," Fittler told Sportsfan's Will McCloy.
Will they handle the atmosphere better?
"You'd think so …" said Fittler.
"They would have had a very steady week."
But will it be enough? Fittler wondered whether the thirst for a first-ever title might drive Cronulla to great things.
"But then sometimes … when you haven't won something … " he mused.
"It's having that attitude, that you will just do anything, you will just defend your line at all costs."
The NSW and NRL great insisted that, despite every player's willingness to give his all, inevitably some will come up short, skills-wise, in the big game.
"Most blokes out there will do whatever it takes: they will defend their line, but a lot of them won't be able to catch the ball under pressure to win the game," he noted.
Fittler also believes the Storm must get off to a fast start to win, and if they do, the Sharks have to stay composed and not let the gap between the two get too great.
"I think Cameron Smith and Cooper [Cronk] will get them [Melbourne] to the front somehow," said Fittler.
"They [will] just test the Sharkies, they [will] just test their mindset," said Fittler.
"They've got to get to the front … I don't think they can come from behind."
"Cronulla can come from behind – I've got no doubt about that."
"[But] they've got to be in the game [to do so]."
Can the Sharks make history? Or will the Storm win and stamp themselves as one of the greatest teams of the modern era?
Check out Brad Fittler’s full preview of Sunday's Storm versus Sharks grand final here or by clicking the video player above.