4 days to go – LGIAsuper counts down to the NRL Grand Final
Will he or won’t he play? With speculation surrounding the selection of Matt Scott in the North Queensland Cowboys’ side for Sunday’s big game, we take a look at 4 of rugby league’s biggest Grand Final selection stories. The countdown to the big one is on! Stay tuned to LGIAsuper’s Facebook page for further updates.
Number 4 – On a wing and a prayer
Pat Richards may be best remembered for scoring that try in the 2005 NRL Grand Final between the Wests Tigers and North Queensland Cowboys but few people recall just how close he was to missing the match.
The big winger badly injured his ankle just six days earlier in the preliminary final against the Dragons and was considered a long shot of playing by many – including the man himself.
‘I just thought that is it... the game’s over... season’s over. I was absolutely devastated.’
After a week of extensive rehab and treatment, Richards defied the odds to take the field and star in the joint venture’s first ever Grand Final win.
Number 3 – Ozzie steals the show in ’94 blow-out
When Canberra prop John Lomax was ruled out of the 1994 Grand Final due to suspension, Brett Hetherington or David Westley seemed the most likely replacement options for coach Tim Sheens. But the 4-time premiership winner had other ideas, opting for the left-field selection of Paul Osborne.
‘Ozzie’ didn’t disappoint, setting up the first two tries of the match with sublime offloads to David Furner and Ken Nagas. His brief but brilliant cameo proved crucial in the Raiders’ 36-12 win over the minor premiers, the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Number 2 – Joey rises from canvas to deliver first title to the Hunter
‘He could die.’
With Australian rugby league doctor Nathan Gibbs’ pre-match warning ringing in his ears, Andrew Johns made himself available for the 1997 Grand Final against Manly.
In one of the greatest Grand Finals in history, ‘Joey’ overcame a punctured lung to deliver Newcastle’s first ever premiership. His daring blindside raid in the final seconds led to Darren Albert’s match-winning try.
Number 1 – The white boots affair
Coloured boots in 2017 – no problem. Coloured boots in 1975 – instant ridicule, particularly if you’re wearing them during the worst game of your life.
When Graeme Langlands took the field for the Dragons’ in the 1975 Grand Final against Arthur Beetson’s Roosters side, not only was he sporting a pair of flashy white boots, but a troublesome groin injury that required the assistance of a painkilling injection.
There was just one problem: the injection hit a nerve, sending his entire leg numb. It effectively removed one of St George’s key attacking weapons and their goal-kicking ace.
The final scoreline: 38-0 to the Roosters.
LGIAsuper is proud to be the Official Superannuation Partner of the North Queensland Cowboys. We will continue our countdown to the 2017 NRL Grand Final tomorrow when we look at 3 of the biggest turning points in Grand Final history.