Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith celebrates with teammates after winning the NRL grand final. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith celebrates with teammates after winning the NRL grand final. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

A tale of two powerful city victories: What emotion

BOMBER'S BLAST

Anthony Breeze

THE NRL and AFL seasons concluded with the Melbourne Storm claiming the NRL title and the Richmond Tigers securing back-to-back AFL flags.

This is how I saw both games.

The Storm are a professional outfit and again showed why experience is vital on the big day.

Captain Cameron Smith had another superb game and rallied the troops when the Panthers were coming at them late in the second half.

Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen was also tremendous. He was the worthy winner of the Clive Churchill Medal.

Melbourne didn't really have a bad player with everybody doing their bit in the victory.

The Panthers were a little overrawed and didn't really settle down until the second half. However the game was basically over by then.

Penrith tried to the end but it was too big a hurdle to come back from after the decisive lead the Storm had set up in the first half.

The Panthers had a great season, winning 17 games in a row. They can hold their heads high and will only benefit from this loss.

Melbourne were worthy premiers for 2020 and had to overcome more than any other club, excluding the Warriors, to secure the title.

Coach Craig Bellamy keeps proving why he should be spoken about in the same sentence as

greats Gibson and Bennett.

Tigers Dustin Martin (left) and Noah Balta savour their historic AFL grand final victory at the Gabba. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images
Tigers Dustin Martin (left) and Noah Balta savour their historic AFL grand final victory at the Gabba. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images

The Richmond Tigers are the greatest team of the 2000s, winning their three premierships in four years and consecutive flags.

The Tigers showed that if you fall behind, you don't have to panic and the game is not lost.

The first half was all the Cats who opened up a 22 point lead and looked to have the game won. However, Richmond coach Hardwick calmly spoke to the group as a whole and pointed at the areas that needed major attention. The team really delivered in the second stanza.

While the Tigers had a host of great players like Short, Bolton, Edwards and Cotchin, it was Dustin Martin who was absolutely brilliant with some freakish displays that got Richmond the victory and secured the Norm Smith Medal as Best on Ground.

Martin had won this medal twice before. He becomes the only player to have ever won it on three occasions, cementing him as one of the best finals players to have ever played the game.

The Cats were gallant in defeat and tried to the end but just couldn't nullify a Tigers outfit that was full of running in the last quarter.

It was a sad end to the career of Geelong's Gary Ablett who will go down as one of the greatest players to have played AFL.

Quick thoughts

POSITIVES: 1. Both Ipswich Force sides were beaten last week in the semi-finals but can hold their heads high as they had fantastic years blooding some youngsters who will only get better.

2. The Brisbane Heat women got off to a great start in the WBBL with a convincing victory over the Perth Scorchers. Grace Harris was awesome and must be close to a national call-up.

3. The on again, off again cricket summer is on and the Gabba will welcome the Indians for the Fourth Test starting January 15. Lets hope the previous three Tests have been close so this game might just be the decider.

Negatives: 1. He may be the world 100m champion but American Christian Coleman will not be at next year's Olympics due to anti-doping violations. When will these athletes learn that they will be caught.

2. NRL fans were blowing up about the penalty try in the grand final. I suggest that these fans get a rule book and read the rule. It was the correct call.

3. It's State of Origin time again and on queue comes the whinging. This time, it is Queensland who don't like the rules in place for Luke Keary. They should be thankful that Greg Ingliss was ever allowed to play for them. Easy solution is where you were born, full stop.

Sporting birthdays

1. 1960 - Diego Maradona - Argentine Soccer player who is regarded as one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

2. 1962 - Courtney Walsh - West Indian cricketer who played 132 Tests and claimed 519 wickets.

On this day

1. 1974 - Muhammad Ali KO's George Foreman in the eighth round in the fight dubbed "Rumble in the Jungle". Ali famously used the "rope a dope" tactic.

2. 1997 - Diego Maradona announces his retirement from soccer on his 37th birthday.