To me, Brisbane v Canberra reminds we of one thing: the first match of rugby league I ever saw as an eight-year-old. It was an absolute classic by any measure, and I was hooked thereafter.
In what then shaped as a grand final preview, a sell-out Lang Park crowd witnessed a top-shelf clash between competition front-runners Brisbane and Canberra midway through the 1990 season.
The Broncos raced out to an 18-2 lead after 22 minutes with Kevin Walters – who had returned to Brisbane after being part of Canberra’s ’89 premiership triumph – playing an integral role, before the Raiders clawed back with three tries to lead 20-18 midway through the second half on the back of a titanic performance by captain Mal Meninga.
But the home side rallied and snatched a 22-20 victory via a brilliant 50-metre try to rookie fullback Paul Hauff, giving Brisbane the outright premiership lead.
The Raiders would later demolish the Broncos 32-4 in the preliminary final, however, on their way to a second straight title.
The gangly Hauff represented Queensland and Australia the following season, but the remainder of his career was plagued by injuries and he missed out on the Broncos’ 1992-93 grand final triumphs.