After 12 years of service and 250 matches for the Brisbane Broncos, prop Shane Webcke hopes his last game will be his best Sunday night's grand final against the Melbourne Storm in Australia's National Rugby League.
Webcke, who also played 20 test matches for Australia, said Friday he was glad to leave behind the hype of his home city when the team flew to Sydney for the final.
"I'm not sorry to be away from it, to be honest," Webcke, 32, said. "Albeit I'm very respectful it's something I'm very flattered by and humbled by, so I don't mean to be disrespectful, but it wears you down a bit.
"More has been made in the media of my retirement than has been in the team," he said. "I'm very grateful ... but it's also a large distraction for me personally."
While the Broncos remained in Sydney after Thursday's grand final breakfast, the Storm flew back to their home base in Melbourne to continue training.
The Storm will return to Sydney on Saturday afternoon a one-hour flight but coach Craig Bellamy says that's business as usual.
"It's just routine for us," Bellamy said. "Throughout the year we've always come up the day before the game so that's what we're doing this time.
"I suppose the other thing is it takes the danger out of some of our younger players who are up here for four days sitting around, just eating big meals all the time because it's out there in front of them."
Melbourne will go into the game as favorites, having finished in first place during the regular season to claim the minor premiership with a 20-4 record. Brisbane finished third at 14-10.
Betting agencies say wagers are about 5 to 1 in favor of a Melbourne victory.
The Storm beat the Broncos in both matches this year, and holds a 3-0 edge over Brisbane during the postseason. Both 2006 matches were close 18-12 in Brisbane and 10-4 in Melbourne, reports AP.
The Broncos are perfect in grand finals, having won all five they have contested in 1992, 1993, 1997 when they played in the Super League, 1998 and 2000. Melbourne has also won its only grand final in 1999.
Webcke is among four Broncos players in their third grand final captain Darren Lockyer, Brad Thorn and Tonie Carroll are the others.
The grand final marks the first championship match in 99 years between two teams not from the traditional rugby league hotbed of Sydney.
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