Two teams. Eighty minutes. Premiership dreams achieved or crushed in front of a roaring capacity crowd of mad fans. There’s nothing quite like the first whistle blow of an NRL Grand Final that we’ll hear again on Sunday evening.
It’s a surprise all Queensland decider at ANZ Stadium in Sydney this season that pits the Wayne Bennett-coached Brisbane Broncos against co-skipper and four-time Dally M medallist Johnathan Thurston’s NQ Cowboys.
People up in the Sunshine State have paid a ridiculous amount of money to get a flight down to Sydney to help fill the 90,000 seats in the venue hosting what is sure to be a down-to-the-wire battle of NRL superstars.
So what else do they have to look forward to in the way of entertainment on Grand Final night?
Legendary Aussie rock stars Cold Chisel are the pre-game drawcard act and, in a total coincidence, release their 10th major album the Friday before.
Whether Jimmy Barnes and co. will rip it up like they did in the old days remains to be seen, but our guess is the fans are going to lap this up like they were down the local and not paying $100 plus a pop to sit there live.
As we count down the minutes to the game every Rugby League fan has been awaiting since last year’s GF, we take a look back at some of the back ‘em and sack ‘em NRL “entertainment” options over the years.
Best NRL Entertainment Acts
1. Cold Chisel (2015)
The ‘We Know You’ll Nail It’ Award
Okay so this is a bit of a cheat, but you don’t get any more NRL Grand Final than Cold Chisel. Wasting profit on bringing in some international act is so AFL, but in the world of Rugby League the fans just want a colloquial tune to rev them up and with Barnesy as Green ‘n’ Gold as Vegemite, we’re happy to spread the love before the boys even walk onto the stage!
2. Hoodoo Gurus (2007)
The Obvious Lyrics Award
A classic Aussie rock act singing a song called ‘That’s My Team’, win win / tick tick. This was a performance full of clichés, but it worked. A reworking of the band’s ‘What’s My Scene?’ from the 80s, it was a ripper that everyone tapped their feet along to and stirred the emotions that current pop-acts no one over 20 has heard of can.
3. John Williamson (1989)
The True Blue Award
Country music crooner John Williamson is exactly the kind of act the then NSWRL fans wanted, but they might not have counted on song of choice ‘Rip Rip Woodchip’ that Williamson sun in protest of forestland destruction. While this is pretty heavy stuff, he belted it out and made that day’s Grand Final about so much more than just footy, pies and XXXX.
Worst NRL Entertainment Acts
1. Slash (2014)
The Strangest Choice Award
Just 12 months ago we were “treated” to one of the strangest choices of pre-game entertainment in the form of former Guns ‘N’ Roses guitarist Slash. He performed “Bent To Fly” over a vocal track, sung by Myles Kennedy, and also smashed out a bizarre spur-of-the-moment solo. Sometimes the oldies should stay in the past to remain golden and improvisation outside the High School Drama room isn’t always a hit.
2. Jessica Mauboy (2010)
The ‘We Know You’re Lip Synching’ Award
As bad as some singers are live, at least they’re giving it a good old crack unlike Mauboy who didn’t even bother to pretend all that well lip synching her way through her performance. Strange as she came to fame singing live on a reality TV show, but then again choosing a song called Get ‘em Girls ahead of a footy match is also pretty strange.
3. The Veronicas (2005)
The Not the Teen Choice Awards Award
From the first moody line to the “we’re too cool for school” attitudes, no one in the crowd for the 2005 NRL Grand Final a decade ago could care less that two apparently talented teenagers were up there singing. How far from Cold Chisel could you get? The Veronicas. That’s how far.
4. Billy Idol (2002)
The Not His Fault Award
To be fair, Billy Idol wasn’t the problem. The fact a power outage saw the superstar English rocker’s performance aborted before it had a chance to go good or bad is what made this one of the biggest flops. When you start on a hovercraft you can’t go wrong, right? Well when a guitar pedal short circuits your entire act before you even get to sing a single note, apparently even an idol like Idol can look daft.
5. Cast of TV Show Neighbours (1986)
The Seriously WTF Award
We here at Ladbrokes are all suckers for a good rendition of the National Anthem to gear up for a great game of footy, but before the NRL was the NRL in 1986 the NSWRL Grand Final featured a shocking version by the cast of Neighbours, yes the TV Show. Sure Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Guy Pearce can sing and have made money doing it, they just didn’t nail this especially as a bunch of actors from a Melbourne-based show for crying out loud!