NRL Grand Final Tips 2021 | Best Bets & Predictions

Andrew Hendrie:
NRL Grand Final Tips

NRL Grand Final tips, best bets, predictions and preview.

NRL Tips for Grand Final – A blockbuster showdown awaits in the 2021 NRL Grand Final as the Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs battle it out for the premiership on Sunday the 3rd of October 2021 at 7.30pm (AEDT) – and our expert NRL tipster will be here to assist readers with predictions and best bets for everything surrounding Sunday’s showdown, including two main tips for the final and two best & value same game multi predictions, along with first tryscorer selections and Clive Churchill Medal tips.

NRL Grand Final Winner Odds

The Panthers are favourites with Sportsbet at $1.60 to win the Grand Final after stunning reigning premiers Melbourne in the preliminary finals. Penrith weren’t given much hope after edging past the Eels in a brutal game the previous week, but Ivan Cleary’s side lifted and avenged their Grand Final loss to the Storm from last season.

South Sydney are $2.30 outsiders with Sportsbet, but have arguably been the form team of the finals series – and they defeated the Panthers just a couple of weeks ago, keeping them scoreless in a brilliant defensive second half performance to prevail 16-10.

Panthers vs Rabbitohs H2H Tips

The Panthers have won six of the last eight meetings with the Rabbitohs and even dropped 56 points on them earlier in the season. No team has ever won the NRL Grand Final after leaking 50+ points in a regular season game, so already the Rabbitohs have to rewrite history in order to prevail.

Throw in the fact Souths are without their most dynamic player Latrell Mitchell and the injury concerns surrounding star halfback Adam Reynolds – who also does the goalkicking – and the Bunnies have it all to do to stop the Panthers.

NRL Grand Final Best Bets

As mentioned above, the Panthers are deserved favourites to win the Grand Final. They have the experience of last season’s heartbreak to Melbourne and have been the most consistent team of the last two years. Nathan Cleary has only lost one game since last season’s Grand Final and the Panthers have laid the foundation for success with some outstanding brick-wall defence that has seen them restrict the Eels and Storm to just six points each in their last two matches.

We think the Panthers are good value to cover the -2.5 line considering they showed they can blow the Rabbitohs off the park if they get it right earlier in the season in that 56-12 pummelling.

Souths have improved considerably since that outing and even defeated the Panthers 16-10 in the opening week of the finals, but without Mitchell and fitness concerns surrounding Reynolds, they could struggle. You need your best 17 operating at the peak of their powers for the Grand Final and Souths could come unstuck against the mighty Panthers defence if Reynolds can’t play his best.

Regardless, we’re also backing a relatively low-scoring game. Seven of the last eight games between the Panthers and Rabbitohs have produced 40 points or less, while five of the last six Grand Finals have seen 40 points or less. Additionally, just five Grand Finals since 2000 have produced more than 40 points, so we believe the Panthers and Under 40.5 points looks good value here – especially when you consider Penrith’s last two games have seen 16 points or less.

NRL Grand Final Multi Bet Tips

We have listed a ‘Best Multi’ and ‘Value Multi’ below.

We will be including the Panthers to win and Under 40.5 total points for the reasons outlined above, along with adding some anytime tryscorers.

Brian To’o has been in sensational form since recovering from an ankle injury and has scored seven tries in his last six matches, while he has crossed for at least one try in five of his last six outings. To’o will once again be a target out wide for the Panthers and he scored earlier in the season during Penrith’s 56-12 mauling of the Rabbitohs.

Alex Johnston is always a must in all same game multi betslips. The Rabbitohs winger has been on fire this season with 29 tries from just 20 games and has scored at least one try in eight of his last 10 appearances. Souths love the second-man play out to Johnston’s wing and he will be again be their primary strike-man to finish off a backline play.

Those four legs pays a tidy $12.50 with Sportsbet.

For our value multi, we can add two more options to bump us up to $80.

We are going to add the Panthers to win by a 1-12 margin. Four of the Panthers’ last six wins over the Rabbitohs have been by 1-12 margins, while four of the last six Grand Finals have been decided by 1-12 margins. Considering the Panthers have been involved in almighty arm wrestles in their last two matches against the Eels and Storm, it stands to reason we will see another tight contest in the premiership decider.

The other leg we’ll be adding is for Nathan Cleary to score a try. Cleary has been the main man in the NRL over the last two years and has lost just one game since last season’s Grand Final. He has scored 10 tries in 19 matches this season, but he has gone the last three games without scoring.

Cleary has never once gone four matches in a row without scoring a try in 2021 and he is primed to step up and play a starring role as he looks to guide the Panthers to the premiership.

NRL Grand Final First Try Scorer Predictions

As we mentioned above, the most in-form tryscorers at the moment are Panthers winger Brian To’o and Rabbitohs flyer Alex Johnston.

To’o ($8.00 with Sportsbet) has scored seven tries in his last six appearances and considering we’re backing the Panthers to prevail, it only makes sense to side with a Penrith player in the first tryscorer market. To’o’s powerful leg-drive makes him almost impossible to stop close to the line, while he’s also more than capable of finishing off a long-distance effort.

It might also be worth throwing something on Penrith’s other winger, with Stephen Crichton scoring the first try in two of the Panthers’ last three matches.

Clive Churchill Medal Winner Predictions

Fullbacks have won two of the last four Clive Churchill Medals, but no disrespect towards Dylan Edwards and Blake Taafe, we can’t see either being best on ground during the Grand Final.

Halfbacks haven’t won the CCM since Johnathan Thurston in 2015 and we think another champion half in making could be set to step up and have a blinder on Sunday night.

Nathan Cleary has been building towards this moment for two years and if the Panthers are to emerge victorious, you just know the No. 7 will play a leading role. Cleary led NSW to State of Origin glory during the season and has won all but one of the games he’s played in all competitions since the 2020 showpiece.

Looking for some more value? Jarome Luai could be your man. Five-eighths have won the CCM in two of the last three Grand Finals and Luai has rediscovered some of his best form after a quiet period leading into the finals.

Clive Churchill Medal Winner Odds

Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary is the favourite to take out the Clive Churchill Medal at $4.00 with Sportsbet, followed by Rabbitohs star Cody Walker at $6.50.

Forwards Cameron Murray (Rabbitohs) and Isaah Yeo (Panthers) are the next in line at $11, while halves Jarome Luai (Panthers) and Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs) represent good value at $15 and $17 respectively.

2021 NRL Grand Final Date

🇦🇺 Competition: NRL
📅 Date: Sunday October 3
Time: 7.30pm AEDT (6.30pm local time)
🏟 Stadium: Suncorp Stadium

2021 NRL Grand Final Time

NSW 7.30pm
ACT 7.30pm

Where is the 2021 NRL Grand Final?

Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane will host the 2021 NRL Grand Final on Sunday October 3. It’s the first time in the 114-year history of the competition in Australia that the Grand Final will be held outside of Sydney.

2021 NRL Grand Final Betting Options

H2H & Margin Betting

These are two of the most popular betting options for the NRL Grand Final. The H2H market is simply betting on who you think will win the Grand Final, while the margin market applies to by how much you think the victorious team will win by.

For example, in Sportsbet’s ‘Big Win Little Win’ market, you have two options – either backing the winning team by a 1-12 margin or 13+, which means they have to win by any margin greater than 13. Sportsbet also offer their customers to chance to pick smaller and more precise margins such as 1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and so on – and if you’re really feeling confident, you can even bet on the exact margin for even bigger odds!

Line Betting

Line betting is another very popular betting market for the Grand Final. Bookmakers will establish a handicap or ‘line’ for each team before kick-off – an example of this could be the Penrith Panthers at -8.5.

The Panthers would need to win by nine points or more for that bet to be successful – if they win by any less, then the bet fails as they did not cover the line. You can also choose to bet on the opposite team – for example, the Melbourne Storm at +8.5. That means if the Storm lose by eight points or less, your line bet will be a winner – and it will also land if Melbourne end up winning the match. However, it loses if Melbourne go down by more than nine points.

Clive Churchill Medal Winner Betting

The prestigious Clive Churchill Medal is awarded to the best player on ground during the NRL Grand Final and offers good value for money if you can successfully pick the man of the match.

First Tryscorer Betting

Another popular market in the Grand Final is betting on who you think will be the first tryscorer. Usually, the odds for the first tryscorer are around $8-10, with wingers the most likely to cross the stripe first.

You can also bet on who you think will be the first tryscorer for each team, along with you believe will score the last try of the Grand Final.

Top 5 NRL Grand Finals (NRL Era – Since 1998)

5. Penrith Panthers 18-6 Sydney Roosters | 2003 Grand Final

The Grand Final that produced one of the most iconic moments in rugby league history as Scott Sattler chased down runaway Roosters winger Todd Byrne with the game hanging in the balance.

Sattler’s inspired effort to drag Byrne over the sideline sparked the Panthers on to win their first premiership since 1991. Luke Priddis was the other hero for Penrith, with the hooker claiming the Clive Churchill Medal with one try and setting up two others in the 18-6 victory.

4. Cronulla Sharks 14-12 Melbourne Storm | 2016 Grand Final

Who said you need a truckload of points to have an entertaining Grand Final? The Sharks and Storm went to hell and back in this brutal premiership decider, but it was Cronulla who held firm to snap their long-standing premiership drought in dramatic circumstances.

Melbourne were leading with 15 minutes to go and were looking good to ice the game and claim another piece of NRL silverware, but nobody told Andrew Fifita the script – the Sharks’ forward barged over from close range to give his side the lead and Cronulla ultimately held on in a thrilling final minute where the Storm peppered their line to no avail.

3. Canterbury Bulldogs 16-13 Sydney Roosters | 2004 Grand Final

An underrated Grand Final that had everything in what was Brad Fittler’s final game, with the Bulldogs coming back from 13-6 down at half-time to emerge triumphant in an exhilarating showpiece, scoring two tries in the second stanza to win by three.

Emotions were high as Canterbury’s loyal captain Steve Price was forced to miss the biggest game of his career through injury, with a young Johnathan Thurston giving Price his premiership ring.

Stand-in and future captain Andrew Ryan pulled off one of the all-time great desperation tackles after the siren on a runaway Michael Crocker to potentially save a try and confirm the Dogs’ first premiership in nine years.

2. Melbourne Storm 20-18 St George Illawarra Dragons | 1999 Grand Final

Has a team ever blown a certain Grand Final triumph as much as the Dragons in 1999 when they came up against a Storm team in only their second season in the NRL?

Played in front of a record 107,999 fans at Stadium Australia, St George Illawarra were cruising 14-0 after 30 minutes, but then Anthony Mundine bombed a certain try that could have propelled the Dragons out of reach. Instead, it was the catalyst for an almighty Melbourne comeback that culminated with one of the most dramatic finishes in history.

Storm halfback Brett Kimmorley put up a bomb in the corner with and chaos ensued – Craig Smith was taken out with a high tackle by Jamie Ainscough and Melbourne were awarded a penalty try that ultimately won them their first ever premiership.

1. North Queensland Cowboys 17-16 Brisbane Broncos | 2016 Grand Final

Easily the best and most thrilling Grand Final in the NRL era and possibly ever between fierce Queensland rivals. The Broncos put up a heroic effort to deny the Cowboys for almost 40 minutes after leading 16-12 at half-time, but Kyle Feldt’s strip on Ben Hunt with 60 seconds remaining produced a finish for the ages.

Feldt would end up crossing in the corner off a miracle pass from Michael Morgan, giving Johnathan Thurston the chance to kick the winning conversion from the sideline. Thurston ended up hitting the post, but the Cowboys wouldn’t have to wait long for another chance after Hunt shockingly dropped the ball from the kick-off in golden point. Thurston would go on to slot the field goal seconds later to secure North Queensland a historic first NRL premiership.

Biggest NRL Grand Final Wins

Manly hold the record for the biggest winning margin in the Grand Final after their crushing 40-0 demolition of Melbourne in 2008. Brent Kite was the Clive Churchill Medalist, while Steve Menzies famously crashed over for a try in his record-equalling 349th and final NRL game.

Margin Premiers Score Runners Up Year
40 Manly Sea Eagles 40-0 Melbourne Storm 2008
38 Eastern Suburbs Roosters 38-0 St. George Dragons 1975
32 North Sydney Bears 35-3 Glebe Dirty Reds 1922
29 Balmain Tigers 33-4 South Sydney Rabbitohs 1939
28 South Sydney Rabbitohs 42-14 Manly Sea Eagles 1951
28 Melbourne Storm 34-6 North Queensland Cowboys 2017

Lowest Scoring NRL Grand Finals

Balman’s 3-0 victory over Souths in 1924 remains the lowest-scoring Grand Final in the history of Australian rugby league. Three-point tries were awarded in those days, with Balmain leading 3-0 at half-time and both sides failing to score in the second stanza. More recently in 1986, the Eels conquered fierce rivals Canterbury 4-2 courtesy of two Mick Cronin penalty goals.

Total Points Premiers Score Runners Up Year
3 Balmain Tigers 3-0 South Sydney Rabbitohs 1924
6 Parramatta Eels 4-2 Canterbury Bulldogs 1986
8 Newtown Bluebags 4-4 South Sydney Rabbitohs 1910
8 Balmain Tigers 5-3 South Sydney Rabbitohs 1916
10 Canterbury Bulldogs 6-4 Parramatta Eels 1984

Which club has won the most NRL Premierships?

South Sydney holds the record for most premierships won with 21, although they’ve only claimed one since 1974. Melbourne Storm also had two premierships taken away due to salary cap breaches in 2007 and 2009.

Team Years In Competition Premierships
South Sydney Rabbitohs 1908-1999, 2002-present 21
Sydney Roosters 1908-present 15
St. George Dragons 1921-1998 15
Balmain Tigers 1908-1999 11
Manly Sea Eagles 1947-1999, 2003-present 8
Canterbury Bulldogs 1935-present 8
Brisbane Broncos 1988-present 6
Western Suburbs Magpies 1908-1999 4
Parramatta Eels 1947-present 4
Melbourne Storm 1908-1999 4
Newtown Jets 1908-1983 3
Canberra Raiders 1967-present 3
North Sydney Bears 1988-present 2
Penrith Panthers 1967-present 2
Newcastle Knights 1988-present 2
Cronulla Sharks 1967-present 1
North Queensland Cowboys 1995-present 1
St. George Illawarra Dragons 1999-present 1
Wests Tigers 2000-present 1

NRL Grand Final Winners since 2000

Sydney Roosters have been the most successful NRL team since the start of the 21st century, winning four premierships and finishing runner-up on four other occasions. Melbourne Storm prevailed in five Grand Finals, but two were stripped in 2007 and 2009 due to salary cap breaches.

Year Premiers
2020 Storm
2019 Roosters
2018 Roosters
2017 Storm
2016 Sharks
2015 Cowboys
2014 Rabbitohs
2013 Roosters
2012 Storm
2011 Sea Eagles
2010 Dragons
2009 Storm (stripped due to salary cap breaches)
2008 Sea Eagles
2007 Storm (stripped due to salary cap breaches)
2006 Broncos
2005 Tigers
2004 Bulldogs
2003 Panthers
2002 Roosters
2001 Knights
2000 Broncos

Multiple Clive Churchill Medalists

Norm Provan is the only player to have won three Clive Churchill Medals for being man of the match in the Grand Final. Billy Slater is the only player to have claimed multiple Clive Churchill Medals in the 21st century.

Medals Player Team Year
3 Norm Provan St George Dragons 1957, 1958, 1963
2 Graham Eadie Manly Sea Eagles 1976, 1978
2 Brett Kenny Parramatta Eels 1982, 1983
2 Bradley Clyde Canberra Raiders 1989, 1991
2 Billy Slater Melbourne Storm 2009, 2017

Clive Churchill Medal Winners since 2000

Only twice has the Clive Churchill Medal been awarded to a player in the losing Grand Final team since the turn of the century, with Daly Cherry-Evans claiming the medal in 2013 and Jack Wighton in 2019.

Various legends of rugby league have won the Clive Churchill Medal since 2000, including Darren Lockyer, Andrew Johns, Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston and Sam Burgess.

Burgess is also the only non-Australian player to win the prestigious medal.

Brent Kite was the 2008 Clive Churchill Medalist when Manly thumped Melbourne 40-0 in the biggest ever Grand Final winning margin, while Billy Slater is the only man to have won multiple awards, doing it eight years apart in 2009 and 2017. Ryan Papenhuyzen won the Clive Churchill Medal as the Storm beat the Panthers last season.

Year Winner Team Position
2020 Ryan Papenhuyzen Storm Fullback
2019 Jack Wighton Raiders Five-Eighth
2018 Luke Keary Roosters Five-Eighth
2017 Billy Slater Storm Fullback
2016 Luke Lewis Sharks Second-Row
2015 Johnathan Thurston Cowboys Halfback
2014 Sam Burgess Rabbitohs Lock
2013 Daly Cherry-Evans Sea Eagles Halfback
2012 Cooper Cronk Storm Halfback
2011 Glenn Stewart Sea Eagles Lock
2010 Darius Boyd Broncos Fullback
2009 Billy Slater Storm Fullback
2008 Brent Kite Sea Eagles Prop
2007 Greg Inglis Storm Five-Eighth
2006 Shaun Berrigan Broncos Hooker
2005 Scott Prince Tigers Halfback
2004 Willie Mason Bulldogs Prop
2003 Luke Priddis Panthers Hooker
2002 Craig Fitzgibbon Roosters Second-Row
2001 Andrew Johns Knights Halfback
2000 Darren Lockyer Broncos Fullback

NRL Grand Final Tickets

All ticketing information surrounding the NRL Grand Final can be found on the official NRL website | Click here to purchase tickets.

NRL Grand Final FAQ’s

When is the NRL Grand Final

The Grand Final will be played on Sunday October 3rd, 2021 at 7.30pm AEDT.

Where is the NRL Grand Final

The NRL Grand Final has moved from Sydney to Brisbane, with the iconic Suncorp Stadium playing host to the Panthers and Rabbitohs.

What time is the NRL Grand Final

The NRL Grand Final will kick off at 7.30pm AEDT at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

How to get NRL Grand Final tickets?

The NRL Grand Final is close to a sell-out, but there are still some tickets available. Go to the NRL website for more information.

What teams are in the NRL Grand Final?

The Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs face off in the 2021 NRL Grand Final.

How to watch the 2021 NRL Grand Final?

The NRL Grand Final will be broadcast live on Channel 9.

What time is the NRL Grand Final in New South Wales?

The NRL Grand Final starts at 7.30pm in New South Wales.

What time is the NRL Grand Final in Victoria?

The NRL Grand Final starts at 7.30pm in Victoria.

What time is the NRL Grand Final in Queensland?

The NRL Grand Final starts at 6.30pm in Queensland

What time is the NRL Grand Final in South Australia?

The NRL Grand Final starts at 7.00pm in South Australia.

What time is the NRL Grand Final in Tasmania?

The NRL Grand Final starts at 7.30pm in Tasmania.

What time is the NRL Grand Final in Northern Territory?

The NRL Grand Final starts at 7.00pm in Northern Territory.

What time is the NRL Grand Final in ACT?

The NRL Grand Final starts at 7.30pm in ACT.

What time is the NRL Grand Final in Western Australia?

The NRL Grand Final starts at 5.30 in Western Australia.