Meeting of the master coaches
The most important match-up on Monday night may not even be out on the field at all.
The biggest arm wrestle between Storm and the Bulldogs will be taking place up in the coach’s box as two of the greatest mentors of the modern era prepare to go head-to-head.
Craig Bellamy and Des Hasler have sat atop the coaching crop for more than a decade. Both similar with their hard-nosed, old-school styles but always focused on getting the best out of each and every one of their players.
With a combined 10 grand final appearances between them, each coach has missed the finals just once in their career.
Bellamy is currently in his 14th season at the helm of Melbourne Storm and his 346 games currently sits in 8th on the NRL’s all-time list for games coached. The master tactician also holds an incredible winning percentage of 66.2%.
Hasler’s win rate is slightly down at 59.6% but holds a slight edge over his Melbourne counterpart in the head-to-head, leading 15-10.
On Grand Final day though it is Bellamy who has reigned supreme, getting the better of Hasler twice from their three meetings in the decider.
The names of both men will no doubt be featured across the record books by the time their careers come to an end but until then, we will savour every minute of their long-standing rivalry.