The NRL Match-Up: Most dramatic finals moments

Posted: 25 July 2019 11:30 am News

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We compare the most memorable events in NRL finals history.

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 finals have given us moments of pure madness, magic and mayhem over the last two decades, but there are some that stand out as the most memorable in the game's history. We choose our favourite finals moments in the NRL era.

The contenders

The Sharks' 7-tackle try

Having suffered a similar finals exit at the hands of the video ref a year earlier, the Cowboys found history repeating against Cronulla in the 2013 elimination final.

With the Cowboys up 6-0, Beau Ryan brought the game level with a try that came on the seventh tackle of the set. The Sharks went on to win 20-18, leaving the Cowboys to ponder what they needed to do to catch a break in finals football.

All six match officials were sacked as a result of the gaffe and the Cowboys eventually got their happy ending, winning their first premiership two years later.

2015 NRL Round GF - Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys, ANZ Stadium, 2015-10-04. Digital image by Grant Trouville © NRL Photos

Thurston cements his hero status in the 2015 Grand Final

Seconds after the final buzzer and up against their fierce rivals, Cowboys club legend Johnathan Thurston found himself in a position to seal his status as North Queensland's favourite son.

Having seen his side tie the game up 16-16 in the dying seconds, JT had a chance to win the game after full-time with a conversion from the right sideline, but his kick rebounded out off the upright, sending the game to extra time.

He didn't have to wait long to redeem himself, as Brisbane's Ben Hunt dropped the ball immediately from the Cowboys kick-off, then on the fifth tackle, Thurston slotted his field goal attempt to win his side's first NRL premiership.

Storm penalty try in the 1999 Grand Final

With mere minutes left and the Storm trailing 18-14, Brett Kimmorley put in a bomb, which found teammate Craig Smith on the Dragons' line. As he caught the ball, he was cleaned out by Jamie Ainscough and knocked unconscious, with the ball spilling out in the process.

Having caught him high and clearly denied what was a guaranteed try, referee Bill Harrigan had no choice but to award a penalty try. As Ray Warren described it at the time, it was "one of the biggest calls that's ever been made in 100 years of rugby league".

To compound the drama, Smith remained out cold and unable to take the conversion that would seal Melbourne's maiden premiership. Up stepped Matt Geyer to put the kick over from right in front and ensure the 1999 Grand Final would be one for the ages.

The verdict

Thurston cements his hero status in the 2015 Grand Final

It's hard to go past the defining moment in the career of arguably the game's greatest ever player. The stakes, the instant redemption and the history-making outcome all add up to give us one of the most iconic periods of play in NRL history.

Don't agree with our picks? Have your say below. Read all our Match-Ups here.


Images: NRL

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