NRL Victoria 2016 First Grade Grand Final Preview

Werribee Bears v Casey Warriors

The First Grade Grand Final this Saturday afternoon pits the two best teams from this season, and close rivals, Werribee Bears and Casey Warriors against each other. This will be the fourth time these two teams play against each other this season with the winner being crowned premier of the 2016 season. Both have had an incredible year to date, but there can only be one winner on the day. Who will be victorious when the final siren is blown? 

Over the past two seasons, there has been a strong rivalry growing between these two sides. Casey has secured top spot after the regular season in 2015 and 2016 seasons, with Werribee finishing right behind them in second each year. Although Casey has finished top of the ladder, Werribee has the advantage in their head to head rivalry over the past two seasons with a 4-3 head to head record over 2015-16. This will mean nothing to both teams though, the game that matters the most will kick off at 3:10pm on Saturday.

This rivalry extends further when breaking down their regular season and finals clashes. Werribee has dominated the regular season since 2015, winning three games to Casey’s one. However, Casey has come through when it matters most having a two-to-one lead in the finals. Casey won both games in the 2015 finals against Werribee to win the premiership, but Werribee got one back in their most recent semi this year with a 32-10 win over Casey. How will this play out in this Saturday’s Grand Final? Will Werribee win to avenge the loss from last year? Or will Casey win to make it back-to-back premierships? I cannot split the two sides, the only thing I know for certain is, DO NOT miss this game, it will be great.

Werribee have had the week off after defeating Casey in the Major Semi Final two weeks ago. This rest could be significant in what has been a long season, with the Grand Final pushing one’s stamina to the ultimate test. The Bears had a strong performance against Casey in their Major Semi, running away with a 22 point win at Werribee.

Statistically, the Bears have been dominant on both attack and defence all year round. With an average of slightly over forty points a game, and allowing only an average of around fifteen points a game, the Bears prove they are both a high scoring team on offence and smothering force on defence. The team can score quickly, with three games of scoring 58 or more over the year, and defend hard for long periods, with eight occasions where teams scored 16 or less on them. This is exemplified with an 84-0 demolition of SET in round eight this year.

Casey on the other hand took the long route to the Grand Final this year after their Major Semi Final loss to Werribee. This loss was followed up with a strong performance against Doveton last week with a 30 point win in the Preliminary Final. The Warriors have experience in Grand Finals, with this being their third straight Grand Final appearance in a row. They lost in 2014, won in 2015 and will be looking to secure it’s second premiership in a row with a win over Werribee.

The Warriors, who topped the ladder for a second season running, are similar to Werribee when it comes to both scoring points and defending against their opposition. Casey are second to Werribee, averaging around 35 points a game, but their defence is phenomenal allowing rivals to average around 11 points a game. The ability to score and defend has been on display numerous times throughout the year with the Warriors scoring 56 twice this season, and 60 points against SET in round 9, while only allowing teams to score 14 or less on them eleven times throughout the regular season.

With both Casey and Werribee splitting their regular season match-ups, and Werribee going on to win in the Major Semi Final, this game is destined to be special. Bar Werribee’s 22 point win in this year semi, which Casey will look to rectify, these two teams have only had four points between them in each game this season. These talented sides will no doubt be prepared for a hard fought win, so expect the 2016 NRL Victoria First Grade Grand Final to be an all-time classic that goes down to the wire.

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