After New South Wales defeated Queensland on 11 April 1997 it was possible for New Zealand to make the final if they defeated New South Wales. This commercially disastrous final looked like becoming a reality when New Zealand winger Sean Hoppe scored a try in the dying minutes of the 14 May match against New South Wales, but the try was controversially disallowed.
New South Wales defeated Queensland 23–22 (ANZ Stadium, Brisbane, 19 May 1997. Attendance: 35,570)
The Tri-series final was held on 19 May 1997, and won by New South Wales, who defeated Queensland 23-22 at ANZ Stadium in the longest-ever game of first class rugby league. After 80 minutes, the scores were locked at 18-18, and a further 20 minutes were played. At the end of this time, the scores were 22-22, and Queensland captain Allan Langer is said to have asked the referee, "Should we toss a coin to see who wins?" The game then moved into golden point extra time, and after 104 minutes, Noel Goldthorpe kicked a field goal for New South Wales, and won the match.