SOME associated with rugby league have been critical of the ARL Commission, saying little has changed since the new governing body of the game came to power earlier this year.
But next Sunday we will witness the two best and most consistent teams in 2012 contest the grand final. And for that - ostensibly - we can thank the commission.
One of the first decisions made by John Grant and his seven fellow commissioners was to introduce a new finals system which favoured teams that finished higher on the ladder. Under the previously-led David Gallop regime, seemingly that was never going to happen.
Bulldogs and Storm, the teams that finished first and second on the ladder - will play the grand final. During the 26 rounds of the competition only the Cowboys scored more points than the two grand final combatants, but the Bulldogs and Storm had by far the best defensive records and points differential.
But even more appropriate is the fact both teams go in to the premiership decider having been unbeaten during the finals, which has not always been the case in the past. And, both teams are in brilliant form with their respective winning margins at the weekend the widest of any through the final series.
Last year teams one and five - Sea Eagles and Warriors - played the grand final. But the most unpalatable statistic for fans to digest was that the fifth-placed Warriors had been smashed 40-10 in the first week of the finals, yet under that former system were still given a second chance.
While form at season's end is obviously paramount, consistency over the 26 weeks of the competition should also be rewarded. John Grant and his commissioners - rightly so in my opinion - viewed that as a priority.
And while the two best teams of 2012 are in the grand final, so are the two best modern-day coaches - statistically, that is.
Since Des Hasler and Craig Bellamy assumed their first NRL senior coaching appointments, the teams they have coached have missed the finals just once. And in the case of Bellamy at Melbourne, even that record is not totally appropriate.
During the salary cap rorting fiasco of 2010 the Storm played for no points and finished last. Had that not been the case, they would have finished sixth and Bellamy's record would read 10 successive finals appearances since he became Melbourne coach in 2003. And he has turned those in to five grand finals and two premierships, albeit the grand finals wins were withdrawn because of the salary cap issue.
Hasler's record is similarly imposing. He took over at Manly in 2004, has missed the finals once and has taken the Sea Eagles to three grand finals for two premierships.
Now it's down to a simple case of the best team, and the best man, winning.
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