With the NRL’s blueprint for the future effectively putting an end to the NYC Under-20s premiership in its current format – instead moving towards a state-based age-group competition – Throwback Thursday relives the incredible grand final of the competition’s inaugural 2008 season.
Brisbane and Canberra faced off in that maiden decider – and both teams fielded several players that would become NRL superstars in ensuing seasons.
The Broncos’ line-up, coached by Anthony Griffin and captained by Alex Glenn, contained the likes of Ben Hunt (who was the NYC’s Player of the Year), Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Mitchell Dodds, Jharal Yow Yeh, Josh Hoffman and Dunamis Lui. The Shaun Fensom-led Raiders boasted Josh Dugan, Jarrod Croker, Daniel Vidot, Justin Carney, Jarrad Kennedy, Michael Picker and Drury Low.
The sides played out a captivating decider at ANZ Stadium, locked 24-all at the end of 80 minutes after Yow Yeh and Picker grabbed doubles for their respective sides. Yow Yeh’s second try, a 40-metre effort from a one-on-one steal, levelled the scores with 12 minutes remaining.
But after seven frantic minutes of golden point action, the Raiders conjured an extraordinary title-winning try. Picker chipped over the top of the defence near halfway and Croker gathered it in on the full, before finding backrower Kennedy backing up in the inside. Kennedy outlasted the Broncos’ cover for the decisive score.
Dugan, who scored a try and four goals, won the inaugural Jack Gibson Medal as man-of-the-match.
For Hunt, Glenn, McCullough and Dodds – along with injured squad member McGuire – the pain of this year’s extra-time defeat in the NRL grand final would have entailed an extra pang of devastation after enduring this heartbreaking loss eight years earlier.