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Clive Churchill Medal winner: NRL.com experts have their say

Who will win the 2019 Clive Churchill Medal as the player in the Telstra Premiership grand final? Will it be a big-name star or can a lesser light make the big stage their own?

The experts at NRL.com have their say on who which player will have extra cause to celebrate on Sunday night.

NRL.com experts view

Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)

James Tedesco has been the best player in the competition this year and will cap that with the ultimate individual award in the grand final. Tedesco's work in attack is second to none. He makes plenty of ground with his kick returns and when he comes into the line he is such a threat. 

Brett Kimmorley (Former NSW halfback)

James Tedesco. He will have a massive say in what happens. I think it will be an extremely close game and an extremely good defensive effort from both teams and Teddy could be the player to break the game open.

Jamie Soward (Premiership winner)

Sam Verrills. This is a left-field pick but he's been very impressive during the finals. He makes his tackles and his service out of dummy half is of a high standard. This could be the game he lets everyone know the Roosters have another top-line player on their books.

Tedesco ready to be most disliked Rooster by Raiders fans

Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter)

Cooper Cronk was instrumental last week and it would be fitting to see him take out the medal in his ninth grand final appearance and final NRL game. 

Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter)

Josh Hodgson, because he's been the drumbeat of the Viking Clap all season. Apart from Cameron Smith, I can't think of a No.9 this year that so intrigues me the way he instigates plays, plans, and performs.

Match: Roosters v Raiders

Grand Final -

Full Time
Roosters

Home Team

Roosters

Scored 14 points
Raiders

Away Team

Raiders

Scored 8 points

Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network

Zac Bailey (NRL.com reporter)

Josh Hodgson. He's arguably the best hooker in the game at the moment and the Raiders rely on him to orchestrate their attack. If Canberra are to win, their co-captain will have the biggest say.

Michael Chammas (NRL.com chief reporter)

John Bateman has been a revelation at the Raiders this season and could cap a remarkable year with a Clive Churchill Medal. With the game in the balance, his footwork out wide could bust the grand final right open.

Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)

The best player on the planet, James Tedesco, will have a huge say in this one. If the Roosters do win there's every chance he's best on ground.

It's anyone's game

Dan Walsh (NRL.com reporter)

Joey Manu. For mine, he's the best centre in the game right now. He has the ability - in both attack and defence - to take it away from the Raiders.

Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)

Latrell Mitchell. The Roosters centre is a big-game player who on his day can be the best in the world. If he lives up to that promise on Sunday it's hard to see the Roosters being beaten.

Joel Gould (NRL.com reporter)

Raiders forward John Bateman was described by his former Wigan mentor Brian Foley recently as "a street-wise player" and he will enjoy what promises to be a rugged and intense battle. Bateman has proven to be an 80-minue performer of the highest quality who often comes up with a match-winning play. The grand final will be no different.

Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)

Jack Wighton is instrumental in all that has been good about the Green Machine's attack this year and he's the kind of player that can win the big moments, the kind that often gets recognised on grand final night with the Clive Churchill Medal.

Leilua: It felt like another heartbeat in my leg

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

Jared Warea-Hargreaves will be looking to make a big impact after missing last weeks game. Warea-Hargreaves may not be the captain of the Roosters, but he certainly leads and sets the tone for the forward pack. The Roosters are much better when he is on the field and he'll have a big impact on Sunday.

Brett Keeble (NRL.com reporter)

Cooper Cronk had to take a back-seat in last year's decider because of his bung shoulder but his poise and patience were the difference when the Roosters eliminated his former team last Saturday. It would be fitting for him to be the most influential player on the field in his ninth grand final and the last game of his career.

Maria Tsialis (Big League editor)

As we've seen all season, Roosters fullback James Tedesco will have a big hand in his team's attack in the grand final. I think he'll cap off the year of his career with the Clive Churchill Medal.

Tanisha Stanton (NRL.com reporter)

Josh Hodgson was in absolutely everything last Friday night and played an integral role in the Raiders victory over the Rabbitohs. He will be expected to produce another performance like that and if he does he’ll be deserving of the award.

Graham's favourite grand final moment

Lone Scout (NRL Fantasy expert)

Cooper Cronk already has a Clive Churchill Medal to his name, having won the award in 2012, and in his final game it could be his time to step up with Luke Keary nursing an ankle complaint. Halves have won four of the last seven Clive Churchills and if Cronk lays on a couple of tries in a Roosters win he'll be a big chance of being rewarded for a fairytale finish.

Troy Whittaker (NRL.com reporter)

Jake Friend. What a story it would be - the nuggety hooker returns on grand final day after nine weeks out to inspire a Roosters victory. Friend - provided he plays - should get through plenty of defensive work while adding class from dummy-half.

Tony Webeck (NRL.com reporter)

For a time forwards dominated the Clive Churchill Medal. Between 1989 and 1995 they won five of the seven, including David Furner in Canberra's last premiership in 1994. If it is to be a Green Machine victory on Sunday, Josh Papalii will be driving force.

Cordner wary of Raiders stripping prowess

Corey Rosser (NRL.com reporter)

James Tedesco has been exceptional all year and if he plays well there's a good chance the Roosters go back-to-back. His attack is what stands out most of the time, but his ability to nullify Canberra's kicking game and organise his line will be just as important. 

Kenny Scott (NRL.com podcaster)

The energy and toughness of John Bateman will eventually exhaust the Roosters mentally and he has a habit of coming up with big plays at big moments. In this game, it will either be a classic try saver or a crucial one on one strip to stamp his name on the medal.

 

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.