With the 2010 National Rugby League Grand Final on this Sunday evening, I thought this presented a good opportunity to look back on some of the great rugby league Grand Finals that St George or, more recently, St George-Illawarra has been involved in. There are no points for picking the common theme in these matches.
17 September 1927 at Sydney Showground: South Sydney 20 St George 11 – Made the Grand Final after winning the wooden spoon in 1926 but lost to Souths on a quagmire.
4 October 1930 at Sydney Sports Ground: Western Suburbs 27 St George 2 – St George beat Wests 14-6 in the final, but because Wests were minor premiers, they were entitled to a re-match in a Grand final. Prop Harry Flower injured his arm and St George never recovered.
12 September 1942 at Sydney Cricket Ground: Canterbury-Bankstown 11 St George 9 – One year after St George won their first premiership, Canterbury won their second on a muddy SCG. Canterbury’s winning conversion just scraped over the crossbar. All of St George’s points were scored by Lindwalls (Jack and Ray).
14 September 1946 at Sydney Sports Ground: Balmain 13 St George 12 – St George was minor premier but Ray Lindwall missed four conversions to hand Balmain the title. There was an all-in brawl after full time.
12 September 1953 at Sydney Cricket Ground: South Sydney 31 St George 12 – St George bombed three tries in the first half and then conceded four after lock Billy Wilson was sent off for fighting with Souths centre Martin Gallagher.
18 September 1971 at Sydney Cricket Ground: South Sydney 16 St George 10 – Souths led 1-0 at half time thanks to a field goal from Eric Simms. They led 11-0 in the second half before St George fought back to trail 10-11. A late try from Bob McCarthy sealed the title for the Rabbitohs.
20 September 1975 at Sydney Cricket Ground: Eastern Suburbs 38 St George 0 – Easts scored a grand final record eight tries. Graeme Langlands had his right leg numbed by a pre-match pain-killing injection.
29 September 1985 at Sydney Cricket Ground: Canterbury-Bankstown 7 St George 6 – Steve Mortimer spent the 80 minutes putting up bombs and trapping St George in their in-goal. The next year, the laws were changed to allow a 22m restart.
27 September 1992 at Sydney Football Stadium: Brisbane 28 St George 8 – 16 of Brisbane’s 17 players either had or would play State of Origin football. John Plath was the odd man out.
26 September 1993 at Sydney Football Stadium: Brisbane 14 St George 6 – Brad Mackay won the Clive Churchill Medal but no tries for the Dragons.
29 September 1996 at Sydney Football Stadium: Manly 20 St George 8 – St George made the grand final from 7th place but never recovered after Manly scored a controversial try before half time.
26 September 1999 at Stadium Australia: Melbourne 20 St George-Illawarra 18 – Led 14-0 at half-time before conceding a penalty try in the 77th minute and with it the premiership.