Golden point’s place in the NRL is still up for debate, with many purists eager to go back to the humble draw for matches tied after 80 minutes while others are pushing for a ‘golden try’ rule to supersede the current format, eliminating the field goal shootouts that have made extra-time such an eyesore in recent seasons.
But there is no question that golden point, introduced in 2003, has produced some of the greatest moments of the modern era, from clutch field goals to sensational tries that have won regular season classics, finals matches, Origins and Tests.
The Book of NRL Lists, by Commentary Box Sports’ own Will Evans and Rugby League journalist Nick Tedeschi and published in September by Slattery Media Group, is a treasure trove of the best, worst and most obscure players, matches and moments in the code’s history – 200-plus passionately-compiled top 5s, 10s and 20s about everything rugby league, packed into 672 pages.
Check out this exclusive excerpt from The Book of NRL Lists – the Top 10 golden point plays from 2003 to 2013.
TOP 10 GOLDEN POINT PLAYS
1. Farrell’s third a debut match-winner
Souths staged one of great fight-backs of the NRL era in 2010 when they recovered from a 28-12 second half deficit against Wests Tigers to force extra-time at 30-all, with 19-year-old debutant centre Dylan Farrell scoring two tries. After seven unsuccessful field goal attempts, the match appeared headed for a draw. But with time ticking inside the final 10 seconds of golden point, Rabbitohs fullback Rhys Wesser made a stunning 25-metre break, before floating a speculator to a wide-running Shaune Corrigan. The interchange offloaded inside as he was tackled for Farrell, who crashed over in the corner for his hat-trick and an after-the-siren match-winner.
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2. Darren Lockyer sparks 50-metre try
Battling a virus in the lead-up to the match, Darren Lockyer climbed out of his sickbed to inspire a golden point triumph over the Titans late in the 2008 season. With the scores tied at 21-all in the third minute of extra-time, Lockyer shifted the ball to Joel Moon on the last tackle on the halfway line when the Titans rushed up to shut down a field goal attempt. Moon found space before linking again with Lockyer, who sent burly backrower Greg Eastwood over for a sensational match-winner.
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3. Thurston’s show-and-go
The 2006 Tri-Nations final between Australia and New Zealand in Sydney was one of the great Test matches, locked 12-all after 80 hard-fought and pulsating minutes. In the seventh minute of golden point extra-time, Kangaroos halfback Johnathan Thurston threw a dummy and shot through an opening 35 metres out from his own line, striding into Kiwi territory before finding his captain Darren Lockyer backing up on the inside. Lockyer outlasted the New Zealand cover in a 25-metre sprint to score under the posts and reclaim the Tri-Nations trophy for Australia. The ‘show-and-go’ would become a trademark and regular match-winning play in Thurston’s career.
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4. SKD’s intercept
The epic Sydney Roosters-Wests Tigers qualifying final in 2010 went into golden point at 15-all, and was not decided until Tricolours centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s all-or-nothing intercept at the 99-minute mark. Kenny-Dowall plucked Tigers backrower Liam Fulton’s pass out of the air 35 metres out from the Roosters’ try-line and 15 metres in from the right-hand touchline. He made a beeline for the left-hand corner and outlasted Simon Dwyer and Lote Tuqiri on a thrilling run to claim the win.
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5. Broken face hero
Darren Lockyer’s last act as a Brisbane player was arguably his most memorable. Felled by friendly fire inside the last 10 minutes of a tense semi-final against St George Illawarra in 2011, the skipper battled on with what was later revealed to be a fractured cheekbone. The sudden-death match went into golden point courtesy of a late Dragons try, but Lockyer stepped up in the second minute of the added period, taking a flat pass from dummy-half to snap a low 27-metre field goal attempt over the crossbar under heavy defensive pressure. Lockyer was mobbed by his teammates as the packed house at Suncorp went berserk, but he was forced out of the following week’s preliminary final with the facial injury.
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6. ‘Shrek’ under the posts from Roberts magic
The Bulldogs fought back from 16-0 down to force their 2006 clash with the Warriors into extra-time at 18-all. In the first period of golden point, stand-in halfback Ben Roberts – playing in his fourth NRL game – received the ball flat-footed on the last tackle 30 metres out from the Warriors’ line. He stepped brilliantly past two defenders and, confronted by the fullback, produced a left-handed flick pass for burly prop Mark O’Meley to dive under the crossbar for the match-winner.
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7. Sandow’s 49-metre stunner
South Sydney halfback Chris Sandow landed a pressure conversion with four minutes remaining to send the 2011 clash with the Sydney Roosters into golden point, before winning the game with one of the great field goals. Sandow kicked a booming 49-metre one-pointer in the 87th minute to seal the come-from-behind victory.
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8. Timmins’ history-maker
State of Origin’s maiden instalment of golden point came in the series-opening encounter of 2004 – but the match-winning play came from an unlikely source. After NSW halfback Craig Gower missed with several attempts to break the 8-all deadlock, makeshift five-eighth Shaun Timmins stepped up in the third minute of extra-time to hammer a brilliant 37-metre field goal between the posts to snatch victory for the Blues.
9. Locky’s field goal hits both uprights
A classic derby between Brisbane and the fledgling Gold Coast in 2007 went into golden point at 18-all, but Broncos talisman Darren Lockyer need just 50 seconds of added time to grab victory with a remarkable field goal. Lockyer launched from 40 metres out, and the ball bounced off both uprights and before dropping over the crossbar in front of a rapturous Suncorp Stadium throng.
10. Todd Carney twin long-range efforts
Burgeoning Canberra playmaker Todd Carney produced two stunning golden point field goals during 2006. In Round 12, Carney nailed a 40-metre attempt in the 87th minute to sink North Queensland. He proved the match-winner again in Round 23 against Wests Tigers, scraping a low field goal attempt over the bar from 38 metres out with just 10 seconds remaining.
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