2003 NRL Grand Final

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from 2003 NRL grand final)
Jump to: navigation, search
2003 (2003) NRL Grand Final  ()
1 2 Total
PEN Panthers colours.svg 6 12 18
SYD Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 0 6 6
Date 5 October 2003
Stadium Telstra Stadium
Location Sydney, Australia
Clive Churchill Medal Luke Priddis, (PEN)
National anthem Troy Cassar-Daley
Referees Bill Harrigan
Attendance 81,166
Broadcast partners
← 2002
2004 →

The 2003 NRL Grand Final was the conclusive and premiership-deciding match of the 2003 NRL season. In what was a contest of Sydney's east versus west, defending premiers the Sydney Roosters played against minor premiers the Penrith Panthers.[1][2] The first grand final since 1996 to feature two Sydney-based teams was played on the night of Sunday, 5 October at Stadium Australia in the inner western suburb of Sydney Olympic Park. Domestically, live free-to-air television coverage was provided by Nine's Wide World of Sports. The match was also broadcast live in the United States by Fox Soccer.[3]


The 2003 NRL season was the 96th season of professional rugby league football in Australia and the sixth run by the National Rugby League. Fifteen teams (14 from Australia and 1 from New Zealand) competed for the Telstra Premiership, with the top eight teams entering a play-off finals series to determine the grand finalists.

Penrith Panthers[edit]

The 2003 Penrith Panthers season was the 37th in the club's history. Coached by John Lang and captained by Craig Gower, they finished the regular season in 1st place.

Sydney Roosters[edit]

The 2003 Sydney Roosters season was the 96th in the club's history. Coached by Ricky Stuart and captained by Brad Fittler, they finished the regular season in 2nd place.

Match details[edit]

The Roosters were seen as favourites. Of all the Panthers players, only Luke Priddis had grand final experience, having defeated the Roosters with the Broncos in the 2000 NRL season's decider. It was Scott Sattler's last game with Penrith, having signed with the Wests Tigers for the following season.

Penrith Panthers Position Sydney Roosters
1 Rhys Wesser FB 1 Anthony Minichiello
2 Luke Lewis WG 2 Todd Byrne
3 Paul Whatuira CE 3 Ryan Cross
4 Ryan Girdler CE 4 Shannon Hegarty
5 Luke Rooney WG 5 Chris Walker
6 Preston Campbell 5/8th 6 Brad Fittler (c)
7 Craig Gower (c) HB 9 Craig Wing
8 Joel Clinton PR 8 Jason Cayless
9 Luke Priddis HK 14 Michael Crocker
10 Martin Lang PR 10 Ned Catic
11 Joe Galuvao SR 11 Adrian Morley
12 Tony Puletua SR 12 Craig Fitzgibbon
13 Scott Sattler LF 13 Luke Ricketson
14 Ben Ross Int. 7 Brett Finch
15 Trent Waterhouse Int. 15 Andrew Lomu
16 Shane Rodney Int. 16 Chad Robinson
17 Luke Swain Int. 17 Chris Flannery
John Lang Coach Ricky Stuart

81,166 spectators turned out at Telstra Stadium for the game.[4] Pre-match entertainment featured performances by Meat Loaf, the Hoodoo Gurus and American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson.[5] Troy Cassar-Daley then sung the Australian national anthem just before Bill Harrigan, refereeing his 7th consecutive grand final and 10th overall, blew time on and the Roosters kicked off.

First half[edit]

Rain started falling only a few minutes into the match and continued throughout. After thirty minutes of play, the Roosters' defence was the first to give when Penrith hooker Luke Priddis, still within his team's side of the field, ran from dummy-half and into open space, finally passing to winger Luke Rooney coming through in support to cross untouched on the left for the opening try.[6][7] Ryan Girdler kicked the conversion so the Panthers were leading 6–0.[8] No more points were scored for the rest of the half so this remained the score at the break.

Second half[edit]

In the eighth minute, and after repeat sets of six had brought the Roosters close to Penrith's try-line, forward Jason Cayless crossed it beneath the uprights, but the ball was held up by the defence. On the very next play, the ball went through the hands out to Shannon Hegarty to score on the left hand side of the field. Craig Fitzgibbon's conversion, which bounced through off an upright,[9] evened the scores at 6–6. Eight minutes later Sydney winger Todd Byrne received the ball on his own forty-metre line and ran into open space along the left edge of the field. Panthers lock forward Scott Sattler was chasing and twenty metres from the try-line tackled Byrne, pulling him out of the field in what would become one of the most famous plays in grand final history.[10][11][12] In the sixty-sixth minute the Panthers had made their way up to within five metres of the Roosters' try line where Luke Priddis again ran from dummy-half and scored, stretching out of the tackle to touch down beside the uprights.[13] Preston Campbell kicked the extra two points so Penrith were now leading 12–6. In the seventy-third minute, Panthers halfback Craig Gower attempted a field goal but it was charged down. Penrith re-gathered the ball and continued towards the Roosters line and four tackles later had reached perfect field-goal kicking position. Priddis, at dummy-half again, instead decided to dummy and run left, throwing a long cut-out pass to Rooney on the wing to score untouched in the corner.[14] Campbell converted the try[15] and the Panthers lead 18–6 with six minutes left to play, but no further points ensued so this remained the score at full-time.

Penrith Panthers 18 Sydney Roosters 6
3 Tries:
Luke Rooney (2)
Luke Priddis
1 Try:
Shannon Hegarty
2nd try-scorer
3 Goals:
Preston Campbell (2/2)
Ryan Girdler (1/1)
1 Goal:
Craig Fitzgibbon
2nd goal-scorer

Luke Priddis was awarded the Clive Churchill Medal as man-of-the-match[16] before the Prime Minister of Australia John Howard presented Panthers captain Craig Gower with the premiership trophy. At the Penrith Leagues club approximately 10,000 people celebrated the victory with the Panthers.[17] The grand final attracted a bigger audience in Melbourne than the AFL grand final did in Sydney the previous weekend.[18]

Four members of Penrith's premiership winning team have subsequently played in other premiership teams – Paul Whatuira was part of the Wests Tigers team that triumphed just two years later in 2005, Joe Galuvao and Shane Rodney won a second premiership together as part of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles team that won in 2011, and Luke Lewis was part of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks team that won their first premiership in 2016.

World Club Challenge[edit]

Having won the premiership, the Penrith Panthers were to travel to England the following February to play the winners of the upcoming 2003 Super League Grand Final in the World Club Challenge.


  1. ^ Solly, Ross (3 October 2003). "Battlers vs silvertails: NRL Grand Final". abc.com.au. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  2. ^ AAP (2 October 2003). "Coaches' verdicts". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Sports, Business & Entertainment Editors (2003-10-03). "National Rugby League Grand Final, Live on Fox Sports World This Sunday". Business Wire. Los Angeles: Gale Group. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  4. ^ "NRL Grand Final: Syd v Pen". Events. austadiums.com. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Alex Brown, Malcolm Brown and Jacqueline Maley (6 October 2003). "Fairytale of the year: Panthers pluck Roosters". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Sutton, Christopher (29 September 2009). "Penrith v Sydney Roosters, 2003". Fox Sports. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Halloran, Jessica (6 October 2003). "Mates can't believe the ending". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "NRL Grand Final as it happened". BBC Sport. 5 October 2003. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Masters, Roy (6 October 2003). "Once upon a time .." The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  10. ^ The Grill Team (28 September 2010). "5 Greatest NRL Grand Final Moments". triplem.com.au. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Jane, Aubrey (10 November 2003). "2003: Sattler's tackle of the decade". wwos.ninemsn.com.au. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "Top 5 ANZ Stadium Moments – The Run, Our Flame, One Kick, The Farewell & That Tackle". anzstadium.com.au. ANZ Stadium. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  13. ^ Gould, Phil (6 October 2003). "And they're only going to get better". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  14. ^ Mascord, Steve (6 October 2003). "Panthers climb their mountain". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  15. ^ Mascord, Steve (6 October 2003). "Fairytale win for Panthers". The Age. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  16. ^ Massoud, Josh (2 September 2010). "St George Illawarra hooker Luke Priddis to retire at end of season". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  17. ^ AAP (6 October 2003). "Penrith fans celebrate all night". The Age. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  18. ^ Evans, Chris (7 October 2003). "Rugby League rates in AFL state". The Age. The Age Company. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 

External links[edit]