Melbourne have won the 2017 NRL grand final, beating North Queensland 34-6 at Homebush tonight.
After such a dominant season (22 wins, four losses and the minor premiership), many expected Melbourne to beat a Cowboys team who’d clawed from eight spot with three weeks of sudden-death football.
After a close opening 20 minutes (with the Cowboys’ Shaun Fensom stretchered off early), Josh Addo-Carr scored Melbourne’s first try, followed by Felise Kaufusi and Billy Slater as Melbourne established an 18-0 halftime lead.
North Queensland – on the back of sustained pressure and penalties – scored through Te Maire Martin in the 48th minute to cut the margin to 12. Dale Finucane scored in the 64th minute to give Melbourne breathing space at 24-6. Curtis Scott’s try and Addo-Carr’s second try sealed the premiership.
It was Melbourne’s third official premiership and well deserved after such a dominant season; they had plenty of motivation, with last year’s grand final loss still burning and farewelling Cooper Cronk.
Despite losing, it was a brave effort from North Queensland. Given no chance without Johanathan Thurston or Matt Scott, they needed Canterbury to beat St. George-Illawarra in round 26 to stay in the finals. The Bulldogs (eventually) obliged, before the Cowboys ran through Cronulla, Parramatta and the Sydney Roosters to qualify for their third grand final.
Watch the video highlights at nrl.com