The Brisbane Broncos are still very much alive in the NRL finals, while the Sydney Roosters are picking up the pieces from a disappointing season.
The glamour clubs have forged an absorbing rivalry over the last 28 years, featuring a Grand Final in 2000 and preliminary finals in ’98 and ’02, along with a string of regular-season classics. In one of their meetings in 2014, the defending premier Roosters broke Broncos hearts at Suncorp with two tries in the final five minutes to snatch a 30-26 victory.
Too Good Tuesday this week relives that 2000 decider.
Brisbane’s relentless professionalism and big-game experience told in a 14-6 win over the Sydney Roosters in the 2000 NRL grand final in front of 94,277 fans at Stadium Australia.
The Broncos fielded 10 survivors of the club’s 1998 triumph, while just two Roosters, captain Brad Fittler and forward tyro Craig Fitzgibbon, had appeared in a decider.
In a dour affair, it was the opposing fullbacks that provided the highlights. After having an early try disallowed, Brisbane custodian Darren Lockyer displayed guile and pace to get around Roosters centre Ryan Cross and send Lote Tuqiri over for the opening four-pointer. Roosters No.1 Luke Phillips was inspirational throughout, pulling off four try-saving tackles in the first half and providing attacking thrust from the back. Lockyer was later awarded the Clive Churchill Medal, while Phillips would have been a shoe-in for the gong had the Roosters won.
The Broncos led 14-2 heading into the latter stages courtesy of a Wendell Sailor try earlier in the second half, but the match sprung into life when Fitzgibbon crashed over in the corner with 10 minutes to go. Fitzgibbon attempted the conversion that would have reduced the deficit to a converted try but, agonisingly, the ball thudded into the crossbar, confirming Brisbane’s fifth premiership triumph.