NRL Grand Final

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NRL Grand Final
City or region Sydney, New South Wales
First contested 29 Aug 1908
Number of meetings 98
Most recent meeting 2014
Next meeting 2015
Broadcasters Nine Network (1960s-1970s, 1992-present)
Seven Network (1970s-1982)
Network Ten (1983-1991)
Stadiums Stadium Australia 1999 - present
Sydney Football Stadium 1988 - 1998
Sydney Cricket Ground 1935 - 1987

The NRL Grand final which determines the season's premiers, is one of Australia's major sporting events and is one of the largest attended club championship events in the world. Since 1999 it has been contested at Sydney's Stadium Australia, which was the primary athletics venue for the 2000 Olympic Games.[1] The first year it was held at Stadium Australia, the NRL Grand Final broke the record for attendance at an Australian rugby league game, with 107,999 people attending.[2]

The Grand Final had traditionally been played on Sunday afternoons until 2000, the following year saw the game shifted to an evening start. From 2008, a compromise was reached between official broadcaster Nine Network's preferred starting time of 7 pm and the traditional starting time of 3 pm, with the Grand Final beginning at 5 pm AEST.[3] In 2013 the evening start resumed, the match commencing at 7:15 pm.

Each year the Grand Final Breakfast, a function that is attended by both teams, hundreds of guests and screened live on Australian television is held during the week before the game.

The game itself is usually preceded by an opening ceremony featuring entertainment and the singing of the national anthem by well-known Australasian and international musical acts. After the pre-game entertainment it is traditional for the NRL trophy to be delivered to the field by an Australian Army helicopter shortly before kick off.

At the conclusion of the Grand Final there is a presentation ceremony where the winning team are awarded premiership rings.[4] The player judged to be the man-of-the-match by the Australian national team selectors is awarded the prestigious Clive Churchill Medal and the Prime Minister of Australia is typically on-hand to hand the trophy to the winning captain.

In 2010 the Government of New South Wales secured the grand final for Stadium Australia until 2022 for $45 million.[5]

Game history[edit]

See also: Grand Final

First grade rugby league in NSW began in 1908, the first premiership deciding game was played at the Royal Agricultural Society Showground, with Souths defeating Easts 14-12. From 1912 to 1925, no final system was in place, however in 1916, 1922, 1923 and 1924, a match was played as a tiebreaker to decide the season's premiership winner. From 1926 to 1953, finals were played under the Argus system, which produced a deciding game in two slightly differing ways.

All of these deciding games are now deemed to be grand finals, whether they were referred to as such at the time or not. From 1954 to the present, using a variety of systems, the deciding match has been explicitly termed a grand final, and no distinction is made between grand finals played under the auspices of the various governing bodies.

Kickoff Times[edit]

Time Years
3pm 1908 - 2000
5pm 2008 - 2012
7pm 2001 - 2007, 2013 - 2018

Notable grand finals[edit]

Qualification and prize[edit]

The two Grand Finalists qualify via finals series play-offs at the end of the season. In the current system, the eight teams finishing highest on the ladder after all the home and away rounds qualify for the four-week-long finals series culminating in the Grand Final. The team that finishes the regular season at the top of the ladder is said to have won the minor premiership.

Venue and schedule[edit]

From 1908 to 1951, grand finals were played at three grounds, the RAS Showground, the Sydney Sports Ground (SSG), and the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

The SCG then hosted the game for the following 36 seasons, the final match seeing Manly defeat Canberra in 1987.

The game then shifted to the Sydney Football Stadium, newly constructed on the site of the SSG, from 1988 to 1998. Since 1999, Stadium Australia hosts the match.

The 1997 Super League grand final was played at Brisbane's QE II Stadium


The 1999 NRL Grand Final saw a new rugby league world record crowd of 107,999 was at Stadium Australia for the game. The attendance, which saw 67,142 more people attend than had done so for the 1998 NRL Grand Final at the Sydney Football Stadium, broke the record attendance for a Grand Final, eclipsing the previous record of 78,065 set in 1965 when St. George defeated South Sydney 12-8 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The 2014 NRL Grand Final had a crowd of 83,833 was the largest attendance at a sporting event at Stadium Australia since its 2001 reconfiguration.[6][7]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]