Could be rare miss for Sydney teams in NRL finals

THE NRL is facing the real possibility of staging only its second grand final in 107 years without a Sydney-based team being involved.

The only time it has happened since 1908 was in 2006 when Brisbane upset Melbourne 15-8 at the then called Telstra Stadium in front of a crowd of 79,609 fans.

Depending on the outcome of this weekend's two qualifying finals, Brisbane and Melbourne could re-visit their bitter 2006 battle.

Even if Brisbane win and Melbourne bow out to a white-hot Cowboys, it will still be a grand final without a Sydney team - something that would be hard for fans south of the Tweed border to swallow.

Melbourne, which felt it was ripped off in 2006, has two survivors from the clash - skipper Cameron Smith and halfback Cooper Cronk.

The Broncos remarkably have four players - Justin Hodges, Darius Boyd, Sam Thaiday and Corey Parker - still going around a decade later.

Even the coaches, Craig Bellamy (Melbourne) and Wayne Bennett (Brisbane), are the same.

Bookmakers, however, are suggesting Sunday week's grand final will be played out between the Roosters and North Queensland, dismissing the fact both Brisbane and Melbourne have enjoyed a vital week's break.



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