As I sit and write this a matter of days before the grand final and less than 2 weeks from the Bathurst 1000 – I keep asking myself, can we really do it? Can Parramatta complete the fairytale ending to what must surely be the greatest come back in Rugby League history. And can Holden go on to Bathurst and break the three year stranglehold of Ford?
Like most Eels fans Iâ€™ve lived through the roller coaster ride over the last 9 weeks of watching a team that was literally fighting off the wooden spoon after round 16 and now stands proud as Sydneyâ€™s great hope for the 2009 NRL Grand Final.
The â€˜expertsâ€™ have tipped against the blue and goldâ€™s week after week, sighting plenty of statistics and history to support their view. But theyâ€™ve all been wrong â€“ again and againâ€¦
Parra is up against a formidable foe no doubt. Melbourne are a well drilled and methodical team that simply wears their opponents down and then strikes with lightening speed from the likes of Slater and Inglis. On paper they are a formidable and many would say unbackable favourite for Sundayâ€™s game.
The â€˜expertsâ€™ say so, but theyâ€™ve tipped against the blue and gold many times in the last 2 months and continue to get it wrong. They kept saying â€˜insert defeated team here are too strong for Parramatta, they have the runs on the board and everything points to them beating the boys from the west. But they were wrong every time. Not once or twice or even three times. The great journos and ex players who get paid to write about Rugby League simply got it wrong for the last 2 months and theyâ€™re going to get it wrong again this weekend.
Thatâ€™s because the Grand Final isnâ€™t about statistics or pack weights or win loss ratios. Itâ€™s about heart and determination and that feeling deep down that makes a knocked down boxer get back up and a runner keep running even when the winner has crossed the line. Itâ€™s that voice in your head that says â€˜not now, not yet, this isnâ€™t overâ€™. And I know Parramatta has that strength of character. They have more to win because they have more to lose.
Do yourself a favour and back the mighty Eels this weekend. I think they will win and win the same way they have to get to this point. By not believing in the experts, but by believing in themselves.
If HRT and the other Holden teams can go to the mountain next week with the same focus and determination and winning spirit as Parramatta the Brock trophy is already ours.
Go the Mighty Eels and Go the Iron Lionâ€¦..