The five biggest Grand Final week storylines

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The NRL Grand Final always delivers plenty of massive stories leading up to the game. Here’s the five biggest storylines we think we will dominate the week ahead…

5. Injuries could shake Panthers

Injuries to several key players will be a huge talking point around the Panthers this week.

James Fisher-Harris and Tevita Pangai Junior both picked up injuries in the win over the Storm on Saturday afternoon.

Tevita Pangai Junior was hurt on Saturday. Photo: NRL Photos.

Moses Leota was ruled out of the Preliminary Final with a calf problem and will be desperate to return for the season decider.

Nathan Cleary’s shoulder and Brian To’o’s ankle will also earn plenty of attention this week.

Meanwhile, there’s a nervous wait for the Match Review Committee’s charge sheet after Nathan Cleary was placed on report for a dangerous tackle in the first half.

4. Reynolds seeks fairytale farewell

He is South Sydney through and through but Adam Reynolds will be in a Broncos jumper next season.

There will be a huge focus on Reynolds this week and his desire to leave the Bunnies with a Premiership.

Ironically, Reynolds will try and grab his second Premiership ring at Suncorp Stadium – home of the Broncos.

Adam Reynolds is hoping to farewell Souths with a Premiership. Photo: NRL Photos.

3. Brisbane hosts all-Sydney decider

A couple of years ago nobody would have thought a Grand Final between two proud Sydney clubs would be played in Brisbane.

But COVID-19 means that Penrith and South Sydney will do battle at Suncorp Stadium, with both sides having a chance to claim a slice of history as the NRL prepares to host its first ever Grand Final outside of Sydney.

Everything about Grand Final week will be different as the Panthers and Rabbitohs prepare to cap off the most bizarre of NRL seasons.

2. Cleary v Bennett – Round 2

Tensions between Penrith coach Ivan Cleary and Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett exploded before and after their clash in week one of the NRL Finals.

Neither coach would be keen to revive that rivalry this week, and Ivan Cleary expertly avoided questions on the topic after the win against Melbourne on Saturday night.

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary. Photo: NRL Photos.

But the media will almost certainly focus on the battle of the two coaches.

Bennett is seeking his eighth Grand Final win, while Cleary is looking to break his duck and claim his first.

1. A search for redemption

The Panthers have carried the 2020 Grand Final loss with them for almost 12 months and their desire for redemption will headline the week ahead.

Penrith won the Grand Final in 1991 after losing the 1990 decider. They’re hoping history repeats itself 30 years on.

The Panthers are desperate to avoid back-to-back Grand Final defeats and they showed enough against Melbourne on Saturday night to suggest they could go all the way and reverse the 2020 heartache.

The Panthers were devastated after the 2020 Grand Final. Photo: NRL Photos.

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