NRL Grand Final
|Locale||Sydney, New South Wales|
|Most wins||Souths, 17|
The NRL Grand Final, which determines the Australian rugby league football season's premiers, is one of Australia's major sporting events and 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. 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.
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 AEDT. 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. However In 2015 the breakfast was cancelled
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 Provan-Summons Trophy, the NRL's official premiership 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. 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 Provan-Summons Trophy to the winning captain.
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 finals 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.
The NRL Grand Final is held in Sydney since it has the most clubs in the NRL and the current venue for the Grand Final, Stadium Australia is the second highest capacity stadium in Australia, after the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
|Sydney||Sydney Football Stadium||1998|
Qualification for World Club Series
The winners of the Grand Final qualify to play the winners of the Super League Grand Final in the World Club Challenge. The runners up qualify to play the Super League minor premiership winners in the second game of the World Club Series.
Trophy and Awards
The Provan-Summons Trophy is the NRL's main prize, awarded to the team that wins the premiership. Its sculptured design is similar to the Winfield Cup trophy, which was introduced for the 1982 NSWRFL season. It is a three-dimensional cast of a famous photo called The Gladiators, which depicts a mud-soaked Norm Provan of St. George and Arthur Summons of Western Suburbs embracing after the 1963 NSWRFL season's Grand Final. It was not officially named the Provan-Summons Trophy until 2013, the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Grand Final. The trophy is awarded following each grand final to the captain of the winning club.
Each player from the premiership winning side are also awarded Premiership Rings.
Clive Churchill Medal
The Clive Churchill Medal is the award given to the player judged to be man-of-the-match in the National Rugby League's annual Grand Final. The award was created to honour Clive Churchill, one of the greatest rugby league players in Australian history, following his death in 1985. A prestigious honour in the NRL, The medal's recipient is chosen by the selectors of the Australian national team and announced and awarded to the player judged best and fairest on the ground at every post-grand final ceremony.
The Clive Churchill Medal has been awarded ever since the 1986 NSWRL season when its first recipient was Parramatta's Peter Sterling. The only player to have won the award more than once is Canberra's Bradley Clyde (1989 and 1991). In 2010, the Melbourne Storm were stripped of the 2007 and 2009 premierships due to salary cap breaches exposed by the NRL, however the Clive Churchill Medallists from those years still continue to be recognised.
||3||1998, 2000, 2006|
- Wins in 2007 and 2009 were subsequently annulled
|3pm||1908 - 2012|
|7pm||2007*, 2014 - present|
The 1997 Super League Grand Final was a night time match*
Notable grand finals
1909 - South Sydney win the premiership by forfeit over Balmain. There was an agreement that both sides would forfeit the match, however Souths showed up, kicked off to an imaginary opponent, scored a try and were declared premiers.
1963 - St. George beat Western Suburbs 8-3 in a match famous for the iconic 'Gladiators' photo of Norm Provan and Arthur Summons covered in mud. It is also notable for a controversial try scored by Dragons winger Johnny King. Wests players tackled him and believed him to be held, however the referee rules play on.
1965 - A then record crowd of 78,056 packed into the Sydney Cricket Ground to see St. George captain Norm Provan play his last NSWRFL game. It was also St. George's 10th straight premiership.
1966 - St. George win their 11th straight premiership, at the time a world record in any football code.
1989 - Known by many as the best grand final ever, Canberra come from 14-2 down to beat Balmain 19-14 in extra time. Canberra became the first team outside of NSW to win the competition.
1997 - Brisbane defeat Cronulla for their third premiership in the Super League grand final. This was the first night grand final, the first (and currently only) top level rugby league grand final to be played outside of Sydney before a record crowd for any sporting event in Queensland of 58,912.
1999 - A world record crowd of 107,999 watch the two newest clubs Melbourne Storm and St. George Illawarra battle it out. St. George Illawarra lead 18-14 before a late penalty try to Melbourne winger Craig Smith gives the Storm a 20-18 win to become the first Victorian team to win a NRL premiership and the quickest NRL club to win their first ever premiership in only their second season.
2005 - Wests Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall throws a magic flick pass to winger Pat Richards as the Tigers become the first joint venture to win the premiership, 30-16 over the North Queensland Cowboys.
2015 - The first all-Queensland NRL Grand Final sparked talk of a Grand Final being held in Queensland in the near future. It was also notable as Brisbane Broncos ended their biggest drought from a Grand Final since entering the competition and it was Bennett's first year back since leaving the Broncos. It was also notable for North Queensland Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt scoring a try after the full-time siren to level the game at 16-all. After Jonathan Thurston missed the sideline conversion, he kicked a golden point field goal to win the Cowboys their first ever premiership in the first golden point grand final. It also ended Brisbane's undefeated streak in grand final's having won all six previous games.
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.
Early NRL Grand Finals featured a halftime show consisting of marching bands but as the popularity of the game increased, a trend where popular singers and musicians performed during its pre-game ceremonies and the halftime show, or simply sang the Advance Australia Fair, emerged.
- "Aussie Stadium". Australian Stadiums. Retrieved 22 January 2007.
- "NRL to host a twilight Grand Final". ABC News. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
- "Fellowship of the rings". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 March 2005.
- Australian Associated Press (8 June 2010). "NSW to retain NRL grand final". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
- "The Gladiators". St George Leagues Club. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
- "NRL Trophy named after Provan and Summons". nrl.com. National Rugby League. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2014.