1994 NSWRL season

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1994 New South Wales Rugby League
Teams 16
Premiers Canberra colours.svg Canberra (3rd title)
Minor premiers Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown (6th title)
Matches played 182
Points scored 7416 (total)
40.747 (per match)
Attendance 2,732,389 (total)
15,013 (per match)
Top point scorer(s) Canterbury colours.svg Daryl Halligan (270)
Top try scorer(s) Brisbane colours.svg Steve Renouf (23)

The 1994 NSWRL season (known as the 1994 Winfield Cup Premiership due to sponsorship from Winfield) was the eighty-seventh season of professional rugby league football in Australia. Sixteen clubs competed for the J J Giltinan Shield during the season, which culminated in a grand final match for the Winfield Cup trophy between the Canberra Raiders and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.[1]

Season summary[edit]

On the first of June, the previous season's premiers, the Broncos played in the 1994 World Club Challenge match in Brisbane against British champions Wigan. Wigan defeated the Broncos 20 to 14 at ANZ Stadium in front of 54,220 spectators. On 14 July the North Sydney Bears were fined $87,000 for breaching the salary cap.[2] In total, twenty-two regular season rounds were played from March till August, resulting in a top five of Canterbury-Bankstown, North Sydney, Canberra, Manly-Warringah and Brisbane who went on to battle it out in the finals. The 1994 season's Rothmans Medallist was North Sydney forward David Fairleigh. The Dally M Award went to Manly-Warringah's five-eighth, Cliff Lyons who was also named as Rugby League Week's player of the year. 1994 was the last premiership season to be administered by the New South Wales Rugby League. At the end of the season control of the Winfield Cup would be passed on to the Australian Rugby League and re-branded as such, as part of the move to become a more national competition. This season was also the last in the Premiership for future Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame inductee and coach, Mal Meninga. At the end of the 1994 season a squad of players from the NSWRL Premiership went on the 1994 Kangaroo tour.


The lineup of teams remained unchanged from the previous season, with sixteen clubs contesting the premiership, including five inner Sydney-based foundation teams, another six from greater Sydney, two from greater New South Wales, two from Queensland, and one from the Australian Capital Territory.

Balmain Tigers
87th season
Ground: Leichhardt Oval
Coach: Wayne Pearce
Captain: Ben Elias
Brisbane Broncos
7th season
Ground: ANZ Stadium
Coach: Wayne Bennett
Captain: Allan Langer
Canberra Raiders
13th season
Ground: Bruce Stadium
Coach: Tim Sheens
Captain: Mal Meninga
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Canterbury home jersey 1966.svg
60th season
Ground: Belmore Oval
Coach: Chris Anderson
Captain: Terry Lamb
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
28th season
Ground: Endeavour Park
Coach: John Lang
Captain: Dan Stains
Eastern Suburbs Roosters
87th season
Ground: Sydney Football Stadium
Coach: Mark MurrayArthur Beetson
Captain: Craig Salvatori
Gold Coast Seagulls
7th season
Ground: Seagulls Stadium
Coach: John Harvey
Captain: Craig Coleman
Illawarra Steelers
13th season
Ground: Wollongong Stadium
Coach: Graham Murray
Captain: John Cross
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
48th season
Ground: Brookvale Oval
Coach: Bob Fulton
Captain: Geoff Toovey
Newcastle Knights
Newcastle Knights home jersey 1988.svg
7th season
Ground: Marathon Stadium
Coach: David Waite
Captain: Mark Sargent
North Sydney Bears
87th season
Ground: North Sydney Oval
Coach: Peter Louis
Captain: Jason Taylor
Parramatta Eels
48th season
Ground: Parramatta Stadium
Coach: Ron Hilditch
Captain: Paul Dunn
Penrith Panthers
28th season
Ground: Penrith Stadium
Coach: Phil GouldRoyce Simmons
Captain: John Cartwright
South Sydney Rabbitohs
87th season
Ground: Sydney Football Stadium
Coach: Ken Shine
Captain: Dean Schifilliti
St. George Dragons
74th season
Ground: Kogarah Oval
Coach: Brian Smith
Captain: Mark Coyne
Western Suburbs Magpies
87th season
Ground: Campbelltown Stadium
Coach: Wayne Ellis
Captain: Paul LangmackJim Serdaris


In 1994 the League and its advertising agency Hertz Walpole returned to the original 1989 recording of "The Best" by Tina Turner to underscore the season launch ad. Footage had been shot of Turner's performance at the 1993 Grand Final and a studio bluescreen shoot also took place during that visit ensuring a store of images that could be used in flexible adaptations for the final two years of Turner's association with the competition and the Winfield Cup.

The 1994 advertisement used the performance and superimposed studio footage of Turner into crowd and stadium scenes that replicated the Sydney Football Stadium. The closing scenes of the commercial made it appear that Turner was singing the song high up in the Sydney Football Stadium's stands in front of its identifiable stretched-sail roofing.


Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
1 Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 22 18 0 4 537 340 +197 36
2 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Bears 22 17 1 4 517 291 +226 35
3 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders (P) 22 17 0 5 677 298 +379 34
4 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 22 16 1 5 605 311 +294 33
5 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 22 13 1 8 544 316 +228 27
6 Illawarra colours.svg Illawarra Steelers 22 11 3 8 484 387 +97 25
7 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 22 12 0 10 432 401 +31 24
8 Panthers colours.svg Penrith Panthers 22 10 2 10 404 448 -44 22
9 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 9 1 12 401 569 -168 19
10 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Knights 22 9 0 13 427 458 -31 18
11 St. George colours.svg St. George Dragons 22 9 0 13 386 497 -111 18
12 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels 22 7 1 14 350 474 -124 15
13 Western Suburbs colours.svg Western Suburbs Magpies 22 6 2 14 439 650 -211 14
14 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Roosters 22 6 1 15 344 513 -169 13
15 Gold Coast Chargers colours.svg Gold Coast Seagulls 22 5 1 16 363 618 -255 11
16 Balmain colours.svg Balmain Tigers 22 4 0 18 303 642 -339 8


Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue Referee Crowd
Qualifying Finals
North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Bears 12-26 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders 3 September 1994 Sydney Football Stadium Bill Harrigan 33,641
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 4-16 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 4 September 1994 Sydney Football Stadium Greg McCallum 34,891
Semi Finals
North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Bears 15-14 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 10 September 1994 Sydney Football Stadium Bill Harrigan 36,011
Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 19-18 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders 11 September 1994 Sydney Football Stadium Greg McCallum 41,865
Preliminary Final
Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders 22-9 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Bears 18 September 1994 Sydney Football Stadium Greg McCallum 41,941
Grand Final
Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12-36 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders 25 September 1994 Sydney Football Stadium Greg McCallum 42,234


  Qualifying/Elimination Final Major/Minor Semi Final Preliminary Final Grand Final
1  Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury 19  
     Canberra colours.svg Canberra 18          Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury 12
2  North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 12      Canberra colours.svg Canberra 22    Canberra colours.svg Canberra 36
3  Canberra colours.svg Canberra 26        North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 9  
 North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney 15
4  Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly 4    Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane 14  
5  Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane 16

Grand Final[edit]

Canterbury-Bankstown Posit. Canberra
Scott Wilson FB Brett Mullins
Jason Williams WG Ken Nagas
Steven Hughes CE Mal Meninga (c)
Jarrod McCracken CE Ruben Wiki
Darryl Halligan WG Noa Nadruku
Terry Lamb (c) FE Laurie Daley
Craig Polla-Mounter HB Ricky Stuart
Darren Britt PR Quentin Pongia
Jason Hetherington HK Steve Walters
Martin Bella PR Paul Osborne
Dean Pay SR David Furner
Jason Smith SR Jason Croker
Jim Dymock LK Bradley Clyde
Matthew Ryan Reserve Brett Hetherington
Steve Price Reserve David Westley
Simon Gillies Reserve
Mark Brokenshire Reserve
Chris Anderson Coach Tim Sheens

The Canberra Raiders were confident in the lead up, despite their one-point loss to the Bulldogs in the Major Semi-final, and everything played into their hands from the whistle. Canterbury veteran prop Martin Bella dropped the ball from the kick-off and before too long Canberra had posted two tries.

Canberra legend Mal Meninga was given a champion's farewell as his "Green Machine" swamped the Bulldogs.[3] Canberra's Paul Osborne also enjoyed a fairytale day. On the outer for most of the year, Osborne won a reprieve, playing at Prop after team-mate John Lomax was suspended for a high tackle in the Preliminary Final against North Sydney. Osborne, playing in his 135th and last career game before retirement, rose to the occasion by setting up the first two Raiders tries in the opening sixteen minutes.

Meninga's 166th and final match for the Raiders ended perfectly when he scored the last try of the day after intercepting a pass from Jason Smith. Meninga then outlasted the cover defence, running almost 40 metres and palming off his opposite Centre Jarrod McCracken to score the try beside the posts, sending the 42,234 strong crowd at the Sydney Football Stadium into raptures. Despite being a goal kicker for most of his career, Meninga declined to take what would have been an easy conversion of his own try, instead leaving the kick to regular team kicker, Clive Churchill Medallist David Furner.

The Canberra Raiders had claimed their third premiership, amassing the highest score in a Grand Final since Eastern Suburbs defeated St. George 38-0 in 1975. It was the highest-scoring Grand Final since 1951 when South Sydney defeated Manly 42-14 (though tries then were worth only three points).

Canberra Raiders 36
Tries: Nagas 2, Furner, Daley, Nadruku, Croker, Meninga
Goals: Furner 4/7

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12
Tries: Williams, Hetherington
Goals: Halligan 2/2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1994 J J Giltinan Shield and Winfield Cup at rleague.com
  2. ^ AAP (22 April 2010). "Melbourne Storm salary cap quotes". The Roar (Australia: The Roar Sports Opinion). Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  3. ^ "NRL Finals in the 1990s". sportal.com.au. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  4. ^ D'Souza, Miguel. "Grand Final History". wwos.ninemsn.com.au. AAP. Retrieved 8 September 2013.