LEAGUE COACHES SPLIT
By BILLY FREEMAN
SYDNEY (AAP). ? National Rugby League coaches not involved in Sunday's grand final between the Roosters and the Bulldogs are split right down the middle on which way it will go.
Thirteen coaches were surveyed to get their tips for the grand final, finding an even split.
Five tipped the Roosters, five went with the Bulldogs and three thought it was too close to call and sat on the fence.
Most of the coaches who tipped the Roosters cited the team's desire to send out retiring skipper Brad Fittler on a high note as their main reason.
Wests Tigers assistant coach Royce Simmons said Fittler will be fired up for a big one, which should be enough to get them home.
"I'm going the Roosters ... defensively they have been the best all year and they are the second best attacking side," Simmons said.
Those who tipped the Bulldogs were mostly conditional on whether injured captain Steve Price played, but they also acknowledged that the blue-and-whites had superb depth.
"With the suspension of (Luke) Ricketson ... and the possible omission of (Chris) Flannery with injury, I think the Roosters might do it tough," said Manly coach Des Hasler.
St George Illawarra assistant David Barnhill, who played at the Roosters, said Fittler and Adrian Morley up front would be the key players.
"I think the Roosters will get up only because of Freddie (Fittler) and Adrian Morley," he said.
Newcastle coach Michael Hagan, who won a premiership with the Bulldogs in 1988, said his former club would win by four to six points.
"They've been very impressive last two weeks."