Tackle Count: There's nothing straightforward about this decider

Churchill medallists in the making: Isaah Yeo, Jesse Bromwich and Api Koroisau.
Churchill medallists in the making: Isaah Yeo, Jesse Bromwich and Api Koroisau.

We all know how it plays out - discipline v creativity, experience v youth, defence v attack. In other words, the sporting equivalent of black v white.

Thing is there is nothing simple about this grand final. And frankly, most NRL tragics could probably convince to back either team in this year's decider.

The Storm, renown for its all-compassing, in-your-face defence, also has the joy of a prop who averages as many metres every game as kilograms he weighs.

Jesse Bromwich is that man - and the thought of him running on an edge ball in hand with speedsters and bulk either side of him is terrifying.

But perhaps equally terrifying is a defensive line that includes James Fisher-Harris, Api Koroisau and Isaah Yeo.

It's hardly breaking news to report that Nathan Cleary's had a great season but for me the power behind the throne is not his dad, but rather his halfback partner Jarome Laui.

He has that magical ability which simply hypnotises the defence, he slows time down and creates space for inside and outside men. He can kick, his defence has beefed up beyond belief this season and he's perfected the stacks-on jump during try celebrations.

For all that though, it's difficult to see Luai and his mates stretching that winning streak to 18 games.

Melbourne is Melbourne. And, like the rugby league thoroughbreds they are, the Storm has timed their run down the straight to perfection.

Enjoy your weekend of footy grand finals. In a COVID-safe way, of course.

* This edition of Tackle Count was written by Janine Graham.

The footy news you can't afford to miss