The NRL Match-Up: Biggest comebacks

Thomas Stelzer 13 June 2019 NEWS

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We see which teams are the comeback kings of the NRL.

With the NRL back bigger and better than ever, we thought we'd do what we do best at Finder and start comparing everything NRL. Each week we take a look at one aspect of the game, from the spectacular to the silly, to see who comes out on top.

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The NRL is littered with teams coming back from the dead to clinch unforgettable wins. But who can lay claim to overturning the greatest margins in NRL history? We find out the five biggest comebacks.

Penrith Panthers vs North Queensland Cowboys, May 1998, Penrith Stadium (26 points)

Cowboys came back from 26–0 to win 36–28

We have to go all the way back to the inaugural NRL season to find what is still the biggest comeback win in NRL history.

Down 26–0 at half-time, the Cowboys mounted the mother of all comebacks to defeat the Panthers 36–28. What made it all the more impressive was that the Cowboys were fresh off a five-match losing streak.

But it wasn't enough to turn their season around and they finished in 16th after managing only 1 win in their last 7 games.

Penrith Panthers vs New Zealand Warriors, August 2009, CUA Stadium (26 points)

Panthers came back from 32–6 to draw 32–32

They may have been on the receiving end of the NRL's biggest ever comeback win, but the Panthers made history of their own when they came back from being 32–6 down at half-time against the Warriors to draw the game 32–32.

The comeback didn't even start until the 53rd minute, meaning the Panthers were just 1 point shy of scoring at a point-a-minute during their miraculous recovery.

2004 NRL Round 25 - St. George Illawarra Dragons v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Jubilee Oval, 2004-08-30. Digital image by  © NRL Photos

St. George Illawarra Dragons vs Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, August 2004, OKI Jubilee Stadium (24 points)

Dragons came back from 34–10 to win 36–34

Looking to cement a top 4 finish, the Dragons found themselves trailing the Sea Eagles by 24 points with 23 minutes remaining. 10 minutes and 4 tries later and suddenly it was game on, before a 77th minute Justin Poore try clinched the comeback win for the resurgent red and whites.

Unfortunately it wasn't enough to secure fourth spot and the Dragons went out in the first round of the finals after finishing fifth.

Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys, June 2015, Pirtek Stadium (24 points)

Cowboys came back from 30–6 to win 36–30

Down 30–6 after 58 minutes, the Cowboys managed the impossible when they put on 30 unanswered points in 22 minutes to see off the Eels 36–30.

The hero of the hour was second-rower Gavin Cooper, who managed a hat-trick of tries in six incredible minutes, with Johnathan Thurston setting up all three with his gifted right foot.

2015 NRL Round 13 - Parramatta Eels v North Queensland Cowboys, Pirtek Stadium, 2015-06-08. Digital image by Mark Nolan © NRL Photos

North Queensland Cowboys vs South Sydney Rabbitohs, June 2008, Dairy Farmers Stadium (24 points)

Rabbitohs came back from 28–4 to win 29–28

With 49 minutes on the clock and having conceded 16 points since half-time, things weren't looking good for the Rabbitohs. But four unanswered tries, all converted by Isaac Luke, gave Souths an unlikely lifeline.

Up stepped rookie Chris Sandow, who had only made his debut a couple of weeks earlier, to slot his field goal attempt in the last minute to give South Sydney their own classic comeback.


Images: NRL

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