It’s not often you get this combination of circumstances that make it possible to just plain enjoy a grand final, no stress, no fuss:
Both teams are likeable.
You wouldn’t mind if either team won.
Both teams have an attacking style of play.
Neither team was expected to be there.
Both teams seem to genuinely enjoy themselves.
For perhaps the first time ever, I sat down to watch the grand final last night anticipating the enjoyment of the game. I mean, I was barracking for the Cowboys, but only because it made it more fun to choose a side. Both teams (but perhaps Nth Qld especially) have an attacking, exciting style of play that means that they could score from anywhere on the field, and they did (one of the best grand final tries of all time – flick pass, then huge fend). Or it could mean they’ll make a horrible, embarrassing mistake, which they did (Bowman throws an impossible pass in his own in-goal with Tigers players everywhere. what the…?). Either way, there’s this feeling that anything could happen at any minute that you just don’t normally get with other sides. Both teams were not expecting or expected to be in the grand final, and therefore looked like giddy schoolkids in a lolly convention. It was actually refreshing to see them enjoy themselves and appreciate being there, rather than the usual wearying “the shareholders of the franchise expect us to be here” look. And either way, you know that the team who wins deserved it because they were better on the day.