Analysing the best possible grand final match-ups

The NRL is entering the back-half of the 2022 finals series, and the all-important preliminary finals are upon us. Numerous

Grand final equations remain on the table, and the following list details the three grand final possibilities from least to most exciting from the neutral fan’s perspective.

3. South Sydney Rabbitohs versus Parramatta Eels

My third choice would be two of the oldest clubs in the current rugby league era. This would be a real grudge match, and each franchise owns some of the most die-hard fans in the competition.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d know that Parramatta currently have the longest premiership drought by a mile. This factor plays a massive role in how enormous a grand final involving Parra would be.

Both sides have been running hot throughout the last couple of months, and a large reason for their success has been attack. If I had to pick a winner between these two, it would be Souths due to them being the better defensive team. The Rabbitohs were the second-best defensive team throughout the 2022 regular season compared to the Eels being tied for tenth.

The Bunnies have also looked even stronger in defence lately, plus I can’t see them losing a second successive grand final.

Cody Walker of the Rabbitohs runs the ball

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

2. South Sydney Rabbitohs versus North Queensland Cowboys

Any time a Queensland club faces off against a Sydney side in a grand final, it feels like State of Origin. Whenever a Queensland team competes in a final, it seems like they’re the underdog, which is what it’s like for the Maroons every year.

These two teams are the outsiders of their preliminary final bouts, which means that a final between Souths and North Queensland would be the toughest to tip.

The Bunnies’ upcoming prelim is their fifth straight, and they haven’t gone on to win a premiership after any of those past five years. If they face the Cowboys on the big day, I can’t see them being unable to conquer the mountain and suffering defeat in their second-straight grand final.

1. Penrith Panthers versus Parramatta Eels

There’s not much better than a classic rivalry being played out in a grand final. This western Sydney rivalry has been getting more competitive each time these two clubs have gone in to battle. Penrith had the wood over Parra during the regular season, winning both matches, but the Panthers were able to defeat their rivals when it mattered, in Week 1 of the finals.

If this is the grand final we get, then the mountain men would be competing in their third straight grand final and attempting to go back to back. Meanwhile, as explained earlier, the Eels would be trying to win their first premiership since 1986.

This grand final equation appears to be the most likely to get fans pumped, and both sides have an incredible amount to play for.

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