Tonight’s clash between Parramatta and St George Illawarra marks end of Monday night football’s 10-season reign in the NRL. We’re taking a look back at some of the most memorable round-closing encounters of the past decade.
Round 17, 2008 – Rabbitohs 34 d. Bulldogs 30
Souths scored a rare success over the Bulldogs in 2008 via an incredible 34-30 golden point victory, coming back from 18 points down to level scores before Luke Capewell dived over for the match-winner in the 87th minute.
Round 1, 2010 – Tigers 26 d. Sea Eagles 22
Lote Tuqiri enjoyed a dream return to the NRL, scoring with his first touch in the Tigers’ thrilling four-point win over the Sea Eagles at the SFS. Manly led 20-4 at halftime, but the Benji Marshall-inspired Tigers scored four unanswered tries in the second stanza to start their campaign off with an upset win.
Round 1, 2012 – Roosters 24 d. Rabbitohs 20
In the opening round of 2012, the Roosters trailed 20-12 but clung to a sliver of hope when Jared Waerea-Hargreaves crashed over with two minutes and 20 seconds to go. From the restart, the Roosters spread the ball from their 30-metre line on the third tackle. Mitch Aubusson found space and passed inside on halfway to backrower Boyd Cordner, who kicked ahead. Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello outpaced the cover to latch onto the ball and score with 20 seconds remaining.
Round 12, 2013 – Warriors 56 d. Broncos 18
The previously out-of-form Warriors emphatically announced their 2013 campaign was not dead and buried, destroying an Origin-depleted Broncos side 56-18 in a spectacular Monday night display. Glen Fisiiahi, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei and Thomas Leuluai each bagged doubles in the 10-try drubbing, which featured the Warriors at their unstoppable offensive best. Both of Leuluai’s first-half tries came from backing up remarkable kick-and-regather efforts, by Feleti Mateo and Kevin Locke respectively, while Vatuvei’s 75-metre runaway try just after halftime was arguably the highlight. Burly prop Russell Packer also scored from close range, but attracted more attention for urinating on the field prior to kick-off in what would be his second-last appearance for the club before an ill-fated move to Newcastle. Two late Warriors tries saw the overpowered Broncos concede 50 points at home for the first time in their history.
Round 6, 2014 – Storm 28 d. Dragons 24
Melbourne scored a 28-24 victory over St George Illawarra at AAMI Park with a miraculous try after fulltime, but the Dragons were left seething by the heartbreaking loss, convinced the Storm had played the ball after the siren sounded. The Saints led 24-10 with 13 minutes remaining, but tries to Will Chambers and Cooper Cronk pegged the Storm back to within two points. The hosts conjured the controversial match-winner after Cronk’s cross-field kick was batted back, with a desperate subsequent six-pass movement eventually seeing rookie winger Young Tonumaipea dive over in the corner. Referees boss Tony Archer admitted Matt Cecchin had made a slight error by allowing play to continue “a split second” after the hooter went off, but there was no restitution forthcoming for the bristling Saints. Ex-Storm five-eighth Gareth Widdop was outstanding for the Dragons in his return to his former home ground.