Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
And when you?re not, you resemble the rabble that was the Brisbane Broncos last Saturday night in Melbourne. The clinical disposal of a Broncos side (that had similarly dispatched a quality Roosters outfit the week before) by a red hot Melbourne Storm team by a massive 50-4 score line, was so impressive that NSC has decided to look back at some recent games where one team clicked and it appeared the other didn?t know where the switch was.
2003 Qualifying Final
New Zealand Warriors 48 defeated Bulldogs 22
WOW. That is the only word that comes to mind when you recall the sheer razzle dazzle dominance of the Warriors in the semi final at the Sydney Showground in 2003. Although the Warriors had earned a 16-4 halftime lead with some regulation football, the Dogs finally found their feet just after halftime and for a brief moment tied the game at 16-all after 47 minutes. It was the last time the Dogs would look the Warriors equal as the gap between the teams widened beyond belief as Francis Meli (the 5 try hero), Clinton Toopi, Brent Webb and Sione Faumuina turned it on to send the favoured Bulldogs crashing to a 26 point defeat. To earn the ?hot tag? the Warriors piled on five tries in only 14 minutes to leave the 18,312 in attendance breathless and the Bulldogs awestruck.
2001 Semi Final
Sharks 52 defeated Bulldogs 10
One of the most lopsided Finals matches in recent times played out on the turf of the SFS when the Sharks put the regular season?s second seed through the ringer with a comprehensive pounding of the Bulldogs 52-10. Dally M Award winner Preston Campbell proved to any doubters that he deserved his accolade with another performance that proved the small man can move mountains with a double and Adam Dykes turned on the class with a performance that justified his own Dally M Five-eighth award. With their big men Martin Lang, Jason Stevens and Chris Beattie powering the ball up field the Sharks served a warning that the eventual 2001 premier would have to go through them to win the title. Unfortunately for the Sharks faithful, the Newcastle Knights did just that.
2001 Grand Final
The score line suggests this game was a close see-sawing affair, but anybody who watched this Grand Final unfold will tell you the Knights first 40 minutes were unbelievable and the Eels were never in this game. Everything the rank outsiders touched turned to gold as they raced to 24-0 lead after 32 minutes. The minor premiership winning Eels were shell-shocked and did well to reduce the deficit in the second half but they simply had no answer to the Knights opening assault. The disbelief on the faces of the Parramatta players when Newcastle scored try after try in the first half said it all; Parramatta - the red hot favourites for the title after a record breaking season, had shown up to fulfill their destiny only for the Knights to shatter their dream with a perfect half of football.
2001 State of Origin, Game 3
QLD 40 defeated NSW 14.
Outside of the fact the little general Allan Langer made a triumphant return to Australia after his self imposed exile in 1999, the 2001 decider began amazingly enough with a Blues try! I remember sitting in my loungeroom with a couple of mates and the moment Ryan Girdler went over after only 39 seconds a good judge sitting next to me goes ?we?ll lose now, the last thing we wanted to do was fire Queensland up...?. His concern was spot on as Langer and Man of the Match Darren Lockyer combined to rip the Blues to shreds on the edges (will anyone forget Langer easing past Michael Vella effortlessly to seal the deal?) and seal the series 2-1 just over 12 months after State of Origin was declared dead following the 2000 decider.
2000 State of Origin, Game 3
?Anyone got a calculator handy??
NSW 56 defeated QLD 16
If any Blues fan was asked to nominate the night when they were absolutely positively convinced that Queensland were dead and buried with 10 minutes to go it was the 2000 decider at Stadium Australia. As the Blues swept the series for the first time since 1996, the records tumbled starting with Ryan Girdler?s match haul of 3 tries and 10 goals for 32 points. Queensland had already lost the series but they were rarely found wanting in dead rubbers but this game proved the exception. The Blues raced in 9 tries in all to annihilate the Cane Toads and cast doubts (in the fickle media at least) over the future of the series.
1994 Grand Final
?Go Big Fella!?
Canberra Raiders 36 defeated Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 12
There have been some dominant Grand Final wins before but rarely do two evenly matched sides (who had fought out a Major Semi Final epic only two weeks prior) come together for such a form reversal in the decider. Canberra delivered perhaps the most comprehensive dismantling of high quality opposition in a Grand Final since the twin Grand Final deciders of the late 1970s when Parramatta and Cronulla were held scoreless in the replays. The writing was on the wall for the Bulldogs when Martin Bella knocked on off the kick-off and before Canterbury had composed themselves Paul Osbourne had laid on a pair of magical tries to break the game wide open. Canberra went from strength to strength as the rattled Bulldogs struggled to keep up with the mighty Green Machine. In his final game Mal Meninga swooped on an pass from Jason Smith and with Paul Vautin riding him home secured the Raiders third premiership and a place in Rugby League folklore as arguably the most one-sided Grand Final in recent history.
Other games considered: 1989 State of Origin Game 1 ? QLD 36 def NSW 6 2000 Round 5 ? Storm 70 def Dragons 10 And there are a lot more, some of which clearly deserve a place on this list.
Do you have a game that stands out in your memory when your team just blew their opposition off the park? If you do email firstname.lastname@example.org and a collection of responses will be featured in From the Couch next Thursday when FTC returns.