Will the poor record of minor premiers failing to win a Holden Cup Grand Final repeat itself at ANZ Stadium this Sunday?
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles supporters will be hoping so!
History shows just two minor premiers (Canberra, 2008) and NZ Warriors (2011) have gone on win the seven Grand Finals contested since the National Youth Competition’s inception in 2008.
Facing the ‘omen’ will be the Sea Eagles’ opponents, the Penrith Panthers, who secured the minor premiership in the final round when the competition leaders Nth Qld Cowboys suffered a shock loss.
The shocks continued in the eyes of Holden Cup commentators last Saturday when the Sea Eagles caused a ‘huge upset’ to advance to the Grand Final against the Panthers.
Penrith will be out to secure their second Holden Cup premiership in three years. Their last grand final victory came in 2013 with a 42-30 victory over the Warriors. The minor premiers were Canberra.
The Panthers go into the Grand Final on the back of a crushing 50-16 win over the Warriors last Friday night and have the added comfort of beating the Sea Eagles twice in the regular season.
They then recorded a 44-24 victory over the Sea Eagles in the first week of the finals.
However, the Sea Eagles will take a ton of beating if they can reproduce their outstanding performance in the one-point victory over the Cowboys in the preliminary final.
Sea Eagles Coach David Heath is happy to be the underdogs.
“Penrith should be deserved favourites. They were the minor premiers and along with the Cowboys, were the form sides throughout the season,’’ Heath said.”
“We get another go at them. We earnt it, so we get another crack.
“Within our own group, we believe if we play our own game, we can beat anyone.”
Kick-off is 1.35pm. The match will be shown live on Channel Nine and Fox Sports. Supporters can also follow live updates on the Sea Eagles' Twitter and Facebook accounts.