Did you know Merewether's own Clive Churchill was the star turn in the first mandatory grand final staged way back in 1954?
Setting up three of South Sydney's five tries against the Newtown Jets, the legendary fullback left an indelible Hunter Valley impression on rugby league history that day. A reverence that reverberates still and not just in the award that bears his name for being the best, on the biggest day.
Some 65 years down the track, the grand final hasn't diminished in the imagination of the paying public. Who will, like the 45,759 that packed the SCG back on that day, come together in a spirit of kinship and anticipation in the hope that they too will have a story to tell, many years from now.
On the field, when the game finally kicks off at 7.30pm, the Roosters of 2019 are raging hot favourites to go back to back. In the green corner, the never-say-die Raiders are a Cinderella story in waiting. Shades of 1997. A precocious one-town team, battlers for years, marauding into the big smoke with hope in their hearts to humble the Bondi silvertails. Compelling stuff.
Not unlike '97, where both sides were unconvincing in their preliminary finals, the Raiders will be "everyone else's" team on Sunday.
Yet it's hard to deny Easts. If fielding one of the all-time great backlines, complemented by a dominant pack of forwards, isn't enough, it's all synchronised by the maestro and his apprentice - Cooper Cronk and Luke Keary. Did I mention Cronk will be playing his ninth grand final, leading a side with wall-to-wall internationals? All in all, the Roosters have been there, done that, so it should be thus.
But will it? What will the hordes from the south bring to the contest? For starters Ricky Stuart knows the enemy of "big and bad" has always been "better", so fighting fire with fire up the middle, on the flanks or with their backs, will be a foundation imperative.
Defensively, after significant improvement this season, confirmed last week defending six line drop-outs, the Raiders turn up for each other to the bitter end. Spiritually led by diminutive English impresario John Bateman, who encapsulates his side's scrappy indifference to on-field reputations, the Raiders have a team that can knock 'em down and drag 'em out, in the trenches, with the best of them.
Still, how do you bottle up James Tedesco or outjump Daniel "The Giraffe" Tupou for 80 minutes? While their defence in 2019 has conceded a mere 11 points per game on average, it's the Roosters' attack that is even more potent. They score more than one try better than the Raiders per game. A statistically significant fact until, of course, one recalls the Storm were even better, yet the Vikings put them to the sword only 13 days ago.
Other than by intervention of the referee or through lack of possession, there are few counters to the Roosters' defensive line speed. It is their most potent weapon.
Consistently, some might say, "up early", they're in your face with energy and intimidation enough to humble any opposition, all night. Do the Raiders do it back, but better, or allow the referee time to exert his influence?
And it's here that the referees will be tested.
Under enormous pressure to get it right on the night, do they not serve competing objectives? If they let the game flow, the players will run riot. If they decide to penalise or worse, the product becomes compromised. Who'd be a ref?
Our current crop of match officials would do well to recall philosophies of the iconic grand final referee of the 1950s and '60s, Col Pearce. As he once said: "The best referees are those nobody notices. They apply the rules, keep the game flowing and stay out of the limelight." Going further he insisted big games were "not a show of rule technicalities but an exhibition of the skill of the players", where spectators are there for the players.
Nonetheless, I'm guessing the Roosters will take all the latitude they're afforded. Jumping the gun in the defensive line, slowing down the ruck, running interference on kick blocks, they do it all, playing comfortably among the blurred lines of legality.
The Raiders, likewise, are far from angels but not really in the same class, excluding their respected ball-stealing exploits. To draw extra inspiration for the fight of their lives, they could do worse than channelling the iconic Balmain grand final no-names of 1969.
On that momentous day, sheer defensive energy and spoiling tactics unseated defending premiers Souths in front of 58,825 packed-in fanatics at the SCG.
It has gone down in folklore as one of the great upsets in league history. Notable was the pivotal role played by English international five-eighth, Dave Bolton. Like Bolton, fellow Pom Josh Hodgson will, 50 years on, be hoping to handle his occasion with similar aplomb.
So, how will the big game open up? After the inexplicable sin-binning last week of Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Siosiua Taukeiaho on the first tackle of the match, even Blues coach Fittler was embarrassed, declaring: "The softening up period has gone soft".
And he's spot-on. It's not that anyone condones gratuitous rough-housing, it's just that after spending 11 months getting one's head into the zone, it's kind of expected, indeed, entirely natural, to open up with everything you've got. A little discretion please, sir.
Raiders by two.
The WNRL grand final will again welcome the Broncos to Sydney in the hope of sealing, like the Roosters, their second consecutive premiership. With 10 players remaining from their 2018 victory, they go into the contest as warm fancies against the Dragons. In just year two of the emergence of women's league at this level, it should be a ripper.
Two more sleeps.