As the Battle of the Finals begins, the media spotlight is clearly focused on the Playmakers in each team. Players like Soward, Campese, Marshall, Carney & Prince all have the camera clearly pointed in their direction. Throw in the usual talk of the Forwards and it looks like everyone knows where the games are gona be won. In this Final Series, many teams are also going to rely heavily at the man at the back. They are the guys who will give there team good go-forward at the start of their sets. They are also the guys who may become the last line in defending the title. Each team this year seems to have a special player who holds an X Factor which may determine the outcome of this year’s competition. Those players are every team Number Ones.
Darius Boyd – Hasn’t set the world on fire in the try scoring department, but is one of the leading ball players in the comp. Boyd is lightning quick and always breaks the first tackle or gets on the outside of his opposing defender. If he wins the Dally M tonight, look for him to lead St George to their first Premiership since 1979.
Lachlan Coote – Hasn’t seen much football in the second half of the season, but is electric from the back and can gain a lot of meters. Not a big player, but doesn’t shirk his workload and scrambles well in defence.
Wade McKinnon – If the Tigers can get him fit, his ability to back-up players like Marshall or Farah will become a major factor for the Tigers. The Tigers desperately need him to get onto the paddock and is probably one of the best defensive Fullbacks in the Finals. While not the player he used to be, still offers plenty in both attack and defence.
Preston Campbell – A class player who always punches above his weight. Lightning quick and can punish any team if given room. Can turn a game on its head even when his forwards aren’t winning the battle up front. Look for Preston to be running off Greg Bird or Ashley Harrison on the edges of the ruck to set up his fast finishing wingers.
Lance O’Hohaia – This guy is a consistent player who seems to have plenty of time. Very dangerous in running the ball back and can easily break tackles. Gives his team good direction off the ball and is very strong in defence.
Anthony Minichello – The Count is back and is starting to enjoy his football. Once named the Best Player in the World, Mini can attack you from all over the park. Isn’t as fast as he used to be, but he is forming a great combination with Carney & Pearce.
Josh Dugan – A young Fullback and appears to be the next superstar of the game. Give him room and he is gone. Dugan’s greatest asset is his confidence under the high ball and ability to turn defence into attack. If Canberra is going to be a force in this Finals Series, look for Josh Dugan to play a defining role.