NRL Grand Final Tips 2023 | Best Bets & Predictions

Andrew Hendrie:

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

NRL Tips for Grand Final – A blockbuster showdown awaits in the 2023 NRL Grand Final as the Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos collide for the ultimate prize  – 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 $1.62 favourites with bet365 to make it a historic three-peat of premierships, while the Broncos are $2.30 outsiders to claim their first premiership since 2006.

NRL Grand Final H2H Tips

There’s no doubt the Panthers deserve to start as favourites, but I’m keen to fade them here for a number of reasons against an electric Broncos outfit.

For starters, there’s a reason no team has won three straight premierships for 40 years. It’s just so difficult to keep turning up and doing the little one percenters consistently. And that makes all the difference in a Grand Final. The Panthers have already won two Grand Finals on the bounce – will they be just as desperate to make that diving goal-line tackle fatigued with two minutes remaining? Brisbane are young, fresh, enthusiastic and almost all of their players are competing for a first premiership – they will no doubt leave everything out there. Think of the great Roosters, Storm and even Broncos sides from the late 90s and early 00s. None of them could win three in a row. Is this Panthers side really superior?

Secondly, the Broncos have firepower all over the park and have the unique ability to disrupt the Panthers’ rhythm and structure. We saw the Eels rip apart Penrith towards the end of the regular season with numerous offloads and ad-lib footy. Brisbane had a whopping 23 offloads against the Warriors last week, along with 11 line breaks. Payne Haas, Pat Carrigan and Tom Flegler can lay the foundation through the middle, allowing the brilliant Adam Reynolds and underrated Ezra Mam to throw some early ball to the edges, where Herbie Farnworth and Kotini Staggs have been on fire. And that’s not even mentioning Reece Walsh, who can basically win this game on his own for the Broncos and Selwyn Cobbo’s finishing ability out wide.

Brisbane proved they can beat the Panthers earlier this season when they upset them at BlueBet Stadium, while the last 10 meetings have been split at five wins apiece. Even when the Broncos were struggling over the last few years, they were still challenging a peak Penrith outfit.

The Panthers also have some concerns of their own – is Jarome Luai really fit? The five-eighth got through the Storm game okay, but he will be targeted physically here, while Nathan Cleary is under pressure after consistently failing to deliver in State of Origin fixtures. This Grand Final is almost like an Origin game in a way, so not entirely convinced Cleary steps up with his best footy here.

History is also on the Broncos’ side – they’ve won six of the seven Grand Finals they’ve played since entering the competition in 1988. As $2.30 underdogs, they are certainly worth a bet in the H2H market.

NRL Grand Final Best Bets

As for best bets, we’re backing a tight and low-scoring affair, while at the same time allowing us the benefit of either team winning.

Grand Finals are traditionally cagey encounters, with 12 of the last 14 producing Under 40.5 total points and eight of the last 12 producing Under 38.5. The Panthers and Broncos have played twice in 2023, with the Broncos prevailing 13-12 in Round 1 and the Panthers returning the favour with a 15-4 victory in Round 12. That’s a total of 19 and 25 points scored, so we’ve got some breathing room if this game plays out to a similar pattern. And there’s no reason to think it won’t, with the Broncos and Panthers by far and away the two strongest defensive teams throughout the season.

Penrith and Brisbane have also been involved in some extremely close contests in recent times, with four of the last five meetings decided by a 1-12 margin. Seven of the last eight encounters between the teams have also produced Under 38.5 total points.

We’ll be backing Under 38.5 total points as our Best Bet at $1.91 with bet365, while we’ll give ourselves a bit more leeway with our Next Best, backing Under 40.5 total points and either team to win by a 1-12 margin at $2.40.

And for those wanting to back a H2H winner, the Broncos prevailing by a 1-12 margin with Under 40.5 total points is paying a juicy $5.00.

NRL Grand Final Same Game Multi Tips

We’re going to have a stake in two same game multis for the Grand Final. In our first multi (paying $17 with bet365), we will be utilising our best bets, which focuses on total points and margin, rather than a H2H winner. We’ll be adding in two try-scorers in Brian To’o and Selwyn Cobbo, who have been very prolific all season.

For our value SGM (paying $301), we’ll add in the Broncos to prevail, with in-form centres Herbie Farnworth and Stephen Crichton to score a try. You can check out some key stats below to assist you in your selections.

  • The last 10 meetings between the teams have been split at five wins apiece
  • No team has won three premierships in a row in four decades
  • Broncos have won six of the seven Grand Finals they’ve played since 1988
  • Under 38.5 total points has landed in seven of the last eight meetings between the teams
  • Just 19 & 25 total points were scored in the two previous meetings between the teams in 2023
  • Broncos and Panthers were the best defensive teams all season
  • Four of the last five meetings were decided by a 1-12 margin
  • Brian To’o has scored 16 tries in his last 11 games
  • Selwyn Cobbo has scored 10 tries in his last nine games
  • Stephen Crichton has scored a try in three straight Grand Finals and scored eight tries in his last 11 games
  • Herbie Farnworth has scored seven tries in his last nine games
  • Reece Walsh has scored a try in four of his last five games
  • Ezra Mam has scored a try in five of his last six games
  • Nathan Cleary has scored a try in his last four games

NRL Grand Final First Try Scorer Predictions

Successfully jagging the first try scorer can be a bit of a lottery, but if you know where to look and follow recent trends, you give yourself a better shot than most of landing the prize.

Wingers and outside backs are usually the best chance of scoring the first try and we’ve identified one from each team for our two selections for the Grand Final.

Firstly for the Panthers, we’ve got our eye on Brian To’o. The nuggety winger is extremely hard to stop close to the line and he’s been on fire lately, scoring a whopping 16 tries in his last 11 games, including crossing for a hat-trick last week in the preliminary final win over Melbourne.

To’o has also been the first tryscorer in Penrith’s last two games.

Meanwhile, for the Broncos, winger Selwyn Cobbo is always worth a shot. Cobbo has scored 10 tries in his last nine games and is always a dangerous threat and big target out wide, either with his electric speed or leaping ability in the air.

Cobbo also scored a try in his last appearance against the Panthers in Round 12, so good chance he’s targeted early if the Broncos get a chance to attack on the line.

Clive Churchill Medal Winner Predictions

Like the First Try Scorer market, there’s some luck involved when trying to pick the Clive Churchill Medal winner for the best player in the Grand Final.

However, there’s a lot we can do to give ourselves the best chance of landing a winner. First of all, out of the 36 Clive Churchill Medal winners dating back to 1986, only four have been awarded to a player on the losing side (1991, 1993, 2013 & 2018). Therefore, there’s a very good chance the winner is coming from the triumphant team.

Secondly, halfbacks are the most prolific Clive Churchill Medal recipients, followed by fullbacks and locks. You can see the full list of winners by position below:

  • Halfback: 11
  • Fullback: 7
  • Lock: 6
  • Five-Eighth: 4
  • Second Row: 4
  • Prop: 3
  • Hooker: 2
  • Centre: 0
  • Wing: 0

With the above information in mind, we’re targeting three players to be crowned with the Clive Churchill Medal. I know we mentioned Nathan Cleary potentially struggling in an Origin-like game, but he’s obviously the most likely contender considering he’s the halfback on the team paying $1.62 to win the Grand Final, and at $3.40, those are pretty good odds if the Panthers do end up running away with it.

You’ve simply got to have Reece Walsh as a leading contender too. Walsh is in absolutely electric form and has the ability to single-handedly win this game for the Broncos. Those sort of individual match winners are usually winning these sorts of awards. If Walsh plays a hand in the Broncos winning this game, he’s looking good value at $7.00.

And lastly, the old warhorse Adam Reynolds also seems a good shout at $8.00. Reynolds has previous experience of winning a Grand Final with the Rabbitohs and is the glue that keeps this young Broncos team together. His kicking game could prove pivotal in creating sustained pressure with repeat sets and if he controls the game from start to finish, he will be in the Clive Churchill Medal conversation.

Clive Churchill Medal Winner Odds

Nathan Cleary is the dominant $3.40 favourite with bet365 to take out the Clive Churchill Medal for best player on ground, while Reece Walsh Moses is the most favoured Broncos player at $7.00. You can see the full odds below.

2023 NRL Grand Final Date

🇦🇺 Competition: NRL
📅 Date: Sunday October 1
Time: 7.30pm AEDT
🏟 Stadium: Accor Stadium

2023 NRL Grand Final Time

NSW 7.30pm
ACT 7.30pm

Where is the 2023 NRL Grand Final?

Accor Stadium in Sydney will host the 2023 NRL Grand Final on Sunday October 1.

2023 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 1999-present 4
Penrith Panthers 1967-present 4
Canberra Raiders 1967-present 3
Newtown Jets 1908-1983 3
North Sydney Bears 1988-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
2022 Panthers
2021 Panthers
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
2022 Dylan Edwards Panthers Fullback
2021 Nathan Cleary Panthers Halfback
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 1st, 2023 at 7.30pm AEDT.

Where is the NRL Grand Final

The NRL Grand Final will be staged at Accor Stadium in Sydney.

What time is the NRL Grand Final

The NRL Grand Final will kick off at 7.30pm AEDT at Accor Stadium in Sydney.

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 Brisbane Broncos will contest the 2023 NRL Grand Final.

How to watch the 2023 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.

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