Over the last ten years we have seen a handful of unbelievable NRL Grand Finals, and with great Grand Finals invariably come moments that we won’t forget for many years to come. From Johnathan Thurston’s 2015 field goal to James Tedesco’s game-winning try in 2019, these are the best NRL Grand Final moments from the past decade.
1. Thurston wins it for the Cowboys
In the eyes of virtually all who were lucky enough to witness it, this was one of the best NRL Grand Finals in the history of the game, if not the best. It was filled to the brim with extraordinary moments, from what would have been a game-winning conversion by Thurston in the throes of the final whistle cannoning into the upright, to Ben Hunt’s dropped catch from the kick-off in the opening seconds of Golden Point. But we’re here to focus on the good stuff, not the mistakes. The best moment – at least for Cowboys fans – came a couple of minutes later, when Thurston redeemed himself for what was admittedly a very difficult conversion attempt in regular time by slotting a field goal to bring the NRL Premiership to North Queensland for the first time in history.
2. Tedesco’s game-winning try
The Sydney Roosters headed into the 2019 Grand Final as the relatively comfortable favourites against Canberra, but the Raiders proved to be a far more difficult assignment than many had anticipated. It was a gruelling, low-scoring affair, and entering the final ten minutes the scores were locked together at eight apiece. With the Raiders deep in attack, they were on the wrong end of an extraordinary piece of refereeing, and in the very next play the Roosters combined for a beautiful passage of play which culminated with Dally M Medallist James Tedesco scoring a try, securing the Roosters their second Premiership in as many years in the process.
3. The Sharks finally break their Premiership duck
It took 49 years for them to do it, but in 2016 the Cronulla Sharks finally won their first ever Premiership in one of the most memorable Grand Finals in recent memory. They took on the perennially successful Melbourne Storm, and things were looking good when they headed into the half-time break with an 8-0 lead. Unfortunately, that lead didn’t last long. Jesse Bromwich scored for the Storm just five minutes into the second half while Will Chambers did the same 14 minutes later, and with Cameron Smith – of course – converting them both, suddenly the Storm were up 12-8 and with all the momentum. Just a few minutes later, however, Andrew Fifita was behind the most memorable moment in the Sharks’ history, bursting his way through five defenders to score a try which, when converted by James Maloney, would ultimately prove to be the difference between the two sides.
Not every NRL Grand Final in the past ten years has been a thriller – who could forget (or perhaps more accurately, who can remember?) the 2014 snoozefest which saw the Rabbitohs win 30-6 over the Bulldogs, or the Storm’s 34-6 drubbing of the Cowboys three years later. Sandwiched in between these games, however, were a handful of games for the ages, and the above three moments helped to shape these incredible victories.