It's a blockbuster NRL State Chamionship fixture between the Newtown Jets and Burleigh Bears, with both sides coming off stunning finals series and respective Grand Final performances.
The Jets won in thrilling fashion – a 20-15 extra-time win over the Wentworthville Magpies that came down to a brilliant piece of play from Billy Magoulias, while the Bears dominated the Wynum Magpies with a relentless 28-10 win on Sunday.
While it will be a collective effort from Newtown if they are to reign supreme once again at 1.30pm Sunday, these are the five players who will play crucial roles in their efforts to do so.
It’s no secret that William Kennedy will be a key figure in the Jets quest for the national title after a stunning Man of the Match performance in Sunday’s decider.
Kennedy recorded 245m, three line-breaks, seven tackle-breaks, one try-assist and one Grand Final-winning try in a display that will have him primed for a massive 2020 season.
Matched with NRL experience after a first-grade debut in Round 6 this year, Kennedy is perfectly placed for another grandstand finish and has a tendency to rise to the big occasions.
His combination with halfback Braydon Trindall and Blayke Brailey has thrived in the latter part of the season – while ball-playing lock Billy Magoulias adds another dimension to their attack that could bring the best out of Kennedy in the crucial stages of the contest.
What a performance it was from Billy Magoulias in the 2019 decider and it’s no coincidence he delivered on the biggest stage – such is the magnitude of his form throughout this year.
His pinpoint cross-field kick to Tyrone Phillips for Kennedy’s match-winning try was all the more special considering it came in the 87thminute with the Jets trailing by one point in a decider of epic proportions.
John Morris confirmed post the full-time siren that Magoulias could be in line to take over Paul Gallen’s no.13 jumper next season, and another starring performance this weekend will do his chances no harm.
Magoulias’ instinctive nature makes him a constant threat every time he touches the ball, and with a potent kicking game, he could be the man to spark the Jets in the National Championship.
Blayke Brailey has a massive future in the NRL and his first-grade experience in 2019 will put him in prime position to make his mark in the NRL State Championship this weekend.
Brailey has cemented himself as a key cog in amongst the Jets’ squad in the last two seasons and there’s little doubt that his influence on the side had a big say in their incredible run to the Grand Final and eventual premiership triumph.
He’s forged a lethal combination with Braydon Trindall and William Kennedy across the 2019 campaign – the trio being the cornerstone of their attacking raids this year and will no doubt prove crucial in their efforts to claim the National Championship on Sunday.
This time last year Toby Rudolf was preparing for a National State Championship with the Redcliffe Dolphins – only to endure a heartbreaking ACL injury midway through the clash against eventual winners, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
But fast-track 12 months later and it’s fair to say that Rudolf personifies persistence in the face of adversity, with a blistering run of form inspiring the Jets to their first premiership since 2012.
He has an uncanny knack for lifting in the big occasions, claiming a Man of the Match performance in the Dolphin’s 2018 Grand Final win while putting in a monster effort in Sunday’s decider with 118m and 47 tackles in just as many minutes.
Once again, Rudolf will lead a barnstorming forward pack along with Magoulias and if his recent performances are anything to go by, he will be incredibly hard to handle.
Cometh the hour, cometh the champion.
It’s the best way to describe the performance of Braydon Trindall in the Grand Final after his clutch 35m penalty goal with just minutes to spare to send the game into extra-time.
It’s exactly that type of composure that will be imperative for the Jets come Sunday.
Trindall brings a pinpoint kicking game and strong game management to the fore for Newtown, while also being the type of no.7 that can deliver in the crucial moments.
Not only will the best of Trindall be enormous for Newtown, but it will be his combination with Jack Williams, Kennedy and Brailey that could help deliver the NSWRL’s fourth consecutive NRL State Championship in as many seasons.