1999 NRL season

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1999 National Rugby League
Teams 17
Premiers Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne (1st title)
Minor premiers Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland (2nd title)
Matches played 213
Points scored 8857 (total)
41.582 (per match)
Attendance 3,273,372 (total)
15,368 (per match)
Top point scorer(s) Melbourne colours.svg Matt Geyer (242)
Top try scorer(s) St. George colours.svg Nathan Blacklock (24)

The 1999 NRL season was the 92nd season of professional rugby league football in Australia, and the second to be run by the National Rugby League. With the exclusion of the Adelaide Rams and Gold Coast Chargers, and the merger of the St. George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers, seventeen teams competed for the NRL Premiership during the 1999 season, which culminated in the first grand final to be played at Stadium Australia. The St George Illawarra Dragons, the first joint-venture club to appear in the grand final, played against the Melbourne Storm, who won the premiership in only their second season.

Season summary[edit]

The 1999 National Rugby League season was historic for many reasons. The St George Illawarra Dragons played their inaugural game after forming the League's first joint venture, losing 10-20 to the Parramatta Eels. That game was the second of a double header, which was the first event to be held at Sydney's Stadium Australia, the central venue for the Olympic Games the following year. That game attracted a rugby league world record of 104,583 spectators.

During the season, the members of the Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies voted to form another joint venture, to be named the Wests Tigers. After the conclusion of the season, the South Sydney Rabbitohs and North Sydney Bears were excluded from the premiership. The Bears would later form the game's third joint venture with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, whilst South Sydney would fight a two-year legal battle for reinclusion.

In August the NRL's CEO Neil Whittaker announced that he would resign at the end of the season.[1]

The defending premiers, Brisbane endured their worst ever start to a season, with just one win and a draw from their first ten games, however they would miracuously recover and record 10 wins in a row before hitting a few hurdles along the way, including a draw against Manly in round 24 and a loss against then-bogey team Parramatta at home in round 25. Their champion halfback and captain Allan Langer retired mid-season as a result. The Newcastle Knights also lost an iconic player when 1997 premiership captain Paul Harragon retired mid-season due to a chronic knee injury. The Melbourne Storm's premiership victory saw their captain Glenn Lazarus become the only player to ever win grand finals for three different clubs.

Cliff Lyons, making a comeback from retirement for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, was the oldest player in the NRL in 1999.[2]

Teams[edit]

The exclusion of the Adelaide Rams and Gold Coast Chargers, and the merger of the St. George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers, saw a reduction in the League's teams from twenty to seventeen: the largest reduction in the number of teams in premiership history and the first reduction since the exclusion of Sydney's Newtown Jets at the end of the 1983 season.

New Zealand home jersey 1997.svg
Auckland Warriors
5th season
Ground: Ericsson Stadium
Coach: Mark Graham
Captain: Matthew RidgeJohn Simon
Balmain home jersey 1908.svg
Balmain Tigers
92nd season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Wayne Pearce
Captain: Darren Senter
Brisbane Broncos
12th season
Ground: ANZ Stadium
Coach: Wayne Bennett
Captain: Allan LangerKevin Walters
Canberra Raiders
18th season
Ground: Bruce Stadium
Coach: Mal Meninga
Captain: Laurie Daley
Canterbury Bulldogs home jersey 1997.svg
Canterbury Bulldogs
65th season
Ground: Stadium Australia
Coach: Steve Folkes
Captain: Darren Britt
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
33rd season
Ground: Shark Park
Coach: John Lang
Captain: Andrew Ettinghausen
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
53rd season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Peter Sharp
Captain: Geoff Toovey
Melbourne Storm
2nd season
Ground: Olympic Park Stadium
Coach: Chris Anderson
Captain: Glenn Lazarus
Newcastle Knights home jersey 1997.svg
Newcastle Knights
12th season
Ground: Marathon Stadium
Coach: Warren Ryan
Captain: Paul HarragonTony Butterfield
North Queensland Cowboys
5th season
Ground: Malanda Stadium
Coach: Tim Sheens
Captain: Noel Goldthorpe
North Sydney Bears
92nd season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Peter LouisKeiran Dempsey
Captain: Jason Taylor
Parramatta Eels
53rd season
Ground: Parramatta Stadium
Coach: Brian Smith
Captain: Jarrod McCracken & Nathan Cayless
Penrith Panthers
33rd season
Ground: Penrith Stadium
Coach: Royce Simmons
Captain: Steve Carter
Sydney City Roosters
92nd season
Ground: Sydney Football Stadium
Coach: Phil Gould
Captain: Brad Fittler
South Sydney Rabbitohs
92nd season
Ground: Sydney Football Stadium
Coach: Craig Coleman
Captain: Sean Garlick
St. George Illawarra Dragons home jersey 1999.svg
St. George Illawarra Dragons
1st season
Ground: Kogarah Oval & WIN Stadium
Coach: David Waite & Andrew Farrar
Captain: Paul McGregor
Western Suburbs Magpies
92nd season
Ground: Campbelltown Stadium
Coach: Tommy Raudonikis
Captain: Steve Georgallis

Advertising[edit]

In a move that polarised some fans, the NRL in its 1999 promotional campaign focussed on the game's grass roots supporters who perhaps had been overlooked and pained in the trauma of the Super League war. Sydney advertising agency VCD, in the third year of their four-year tenure with the NRL, produced an advertisement featuring Thomas Keneally reading his poem, "Ode to Rugby League", which had been commissioned by the NRL. It speaks of the innocent excitement that begins each season. The ad was used at season launch and there was minimal media budget to support it throughout the year. Keneally is a longtime supporter of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.

We go to the cupboard, we take out club colours.
And the air sings. The season's close.
Our boys are running up sandhills, their legs pump.
This season, this season, this is our season.
This year we all start equal.
Kids paint signs, and I am seven again.
I know I will see heroes soon.
I feel the excitement.
I have hope in March, and I might share in the glory of September.
Blow that whistle, ref.
Send that ball soaring.
Blow that whistle, ref.

Thomas Kenneally [3]

Ladder[edit]

Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD Pts
1 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 18 0 6 2 586 332 +254 40
2 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels 24 17 0 7 2 500 294 +206 38
3 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm 24 16 0 8 2 639 392 +247 36
4 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney City Roosters 24 16 0 8 2 592 377 +215 36
5 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury Bulldogs 24 15 1 8 2 520 462 +58 35
6 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 24 15 0 9 2 588 416 +172 34
7 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Knights 24 14 1 9 2 575 484 +91 33
8 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 24 13 2 9 2 510 368 +142 32
9 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders 24 13 1 10 2 618 439 +179 31
10 Panthers colours.svg Penrith Panthers 24 11 1 12 2 492 428 +64 27
11 Auckland colours.svg Auckland Warriors 24 10 0 14 2 538 498 +40 24
12 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 10 0 14 2 349 556 -207 24
13 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 24 9 1 14 2 454 623 -169 23
14 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Bears 24 8 0 16 2 490 642 -152 20
15 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Tigers 24 8 0 16 2 345 636 -291 20
16 North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland Cowboys 24 4 1 19 2 398 588 -190 13
17 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs Magpies 24 3 0 21 2 285 944 -659 10

Ladder progression[edit]

  • Numbers highlighted in green indicate that the team finished the round inside the top 8.
  • Numbers highlighted in blue indicates the team finished first on the ladder in that round.
  • Numbers highlighted in red indicates the team finished in last place on the ladder in that round
  • Numbers underlined indicate the team had a bye in that round
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
1 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland 2 4 6 8 10 12 12 14 16 18 20 22 22 24 24 26 26 26 28 30 30 32 34 36 38 40
2 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 2 4 4 6 6 6 8 8 10 12 14 14 16 18 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 34 36 38
3 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne 2 2 4 6 6 8 8 10 12 14 16 18 18 18 18 20 22 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 34 36
4 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney City 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 14 16 18 20 22 22 24 24 24 26 28 30 30 32 32 34 34 36
5 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury 0 2 4 4 6 6 8 10 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 22 22 24 24 26 28 30 32 33 35 35
6 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra 0 0 2 2 4 6 8 8 10 10 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 28 30 30 30 32 34
7 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle 2 2 2 4 6 6 8 9 9 11 13 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 29 29 31 33 33 33
8 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 3 3 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 30 30 32
9 Canberra colours.svg Canberra 2 2 2 4 6 8 8 9 11 11 11 13 13 15 17 17 19 21 21 21 23 25 27 29 29 31
10 Panthers colours.svg Penrith 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 14 16 16 16 18 18 20 20 20 20 20 20 22 24 24 25 27 27
11 Auckland colours.svg Auckland 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 6 6 6 8 8 8 10 10 12 14 14 14 14 16 16 18 20 22 24
12 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 2 4 4 6 8 8 8 8 10 10 12 14 16 16 18 18 20 22 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24
13 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 6 6 8 8 10 10 10 10 12 14 16 18 18 20 21 23 23
14 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 2 4 6 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 12 14 14 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 18 20
15 Balmain colours.svg Balmain 0 2 4 4 6 6 8 10 10 12 12 12 12 12 14 16 16 16 16 16 18 18 18 20 20 20
16 North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland 2 2 2 2 2 2 4 5 7 7 7 9 9 9 9 9 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 13 13
17 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs 0 2 2 2 2 4 6 6 6 6 6 8 8 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10


Finals series[edit]

Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Qualifying Finals
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney City Roosters 8–12 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury Bulldogs 3 September 1999 Sydney Football Stadium Sean Hampstead 23,478
Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm 10–34 St. George colours.svg St George Illawarra Dragons 4 September 1999 Olympic Park Steve Clark 22,053
Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels 30–16 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Knights 4 September 1999 Parramatta Stadium Bill Harrigan 15,653
Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla Sharks 42–20 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 5 September 1999 Shark Park Tim Mander 13,713
Semi Finals
St. George colours.svg St George Illawarra Dragons 28–18 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney City Roosters 11 September 1999 Sydney Football Stadium Bill Harrigan 31,506
Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury Bulldogs 22–24 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm 12 September 1999 Sydney Football Stadium Steve Clark 20,075
Preliminary Finals
Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels 16–18 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm 18 September 1999 Sydney Football Stadium Bill Harrigan 27,555
Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla Sharks 8–24 St. George colours.svg St George Illawarra Dragons 19 September 1999 Stadium Australia Steve Clark 51,827

Grand Final[edit]

Main article: 1999 NRL Grand Final
Sunday, 26 September
Melbourne Storm 20 - 18 St. George-Illawarra Dragons
Tries:
Tony Martin, Ben Roarty, Craig Smith
Goals:
Craig Smith (3/4), Matt Geyer (1/1)
Report Tries:
Nathan Blacklock, Craig Fitzgibbon, Paul McGregor
Goals:
Wayne Bartrim (2/3), Craig Fitzgibbon (1/1)
Telstra Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 107,999[4]
Referee/s: Bill Harrigan
Man of the Match: Brett Kimmorley[5]

References & links[edit]

  1. ^ sportsillustrated.cnn.com (1999-08-13). "NRL boss Neil Whittaker quits". CNN Sports Illustrated (Australia: Reuters). Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  2. ^ Toohey, Barry (2 February 2011). "Still some bite in old Mad Dog". The Daily Telegraph (Australia: News Limited). Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Mahoney, Blair (2009). Poetry Reloaded. Australia: Cambridge University Press. p. 72. ISBN 9780521746618. 
  4. ^ 1999 National Rugby League at rleague.com
  5. ^ D'Souza, Miguel. "Grand Final History". wwos.ninemsn.com.au. AAP. Retrieved 8 September 2013.