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History was made as the beaten 2020 finalists Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs lined up to contest the first ever NRL Grand Final to be held in Brisbane’s  Suncorp Stadium.

This was the finale of an Australian rugby league season which had moved lock, stock and barrel to Queensland as part of strict Covid protocols, although Minor Premiers Melbourne Storm were notable by their absence from the match between the teams who finished second and third on the competition ladder after 24 regular rounds.

The Panthers had the best of the early exchanges, and successfully challenged a knock-on ruling from referee Gerard Sutton at the end of their second set.

Souths, on the other hand, were finishing too many sets from their own half and were forced to concede the first and second drop-outs of the game after five minutes and six minutes.

But the Bunnies fought their way back into the game after an audacious ball-steal and by the 10th minute the game was looking more even.

In fact it wasn’t until the 17th minute that Matt Burton opened the scoring for the Panthers, running through a gap in the Souths line after a beauty of pass from Jarome  Luai. Nathan Cleary converted from the touchline to give Penrith a 6-0 advantage.

The Rabbitohs struck back through five-eight Cody Walker, beating the Penrith line with a show and go then sprinting free to score by the posts. Adam Reynolds duly converted to level the scores at 6-6 with 21 minutes gone.

The Panthers were the next to score against a visibly tiring Bunnies team, after just 30 minutes, who gave away a penalty at the play-the-ball which was no problem for captain Cleary to kick.

The Rabbitohs managed to hold on until half time without conceding anything more, but the Penrith team were clearly the dominant side going into the break.

Souths looked fresher when play restarted and pressed the Panthers line in an opening set that eventually came to nothing with a pass into touch.

But they soon got a penalty for Penrith shepherding, which Reynolds kicked from 20m out to square the game up at 8-8.

Penrith thought they’d hit back on 46 minutes when Viliame Kikau crossed the line, but the final pass to him from Cleary, out of a tackle, was loose and forward.

They  continued to pressurise the Rabbitohs line but 20 minutes into the half, their only reward was another Souths drop-out.

The relentless Panthers pressure eventually told though when winger Stephen Crichton intercepted an unnecessary pass from Souths centre Dane Gagai and sprinted 40m to ground the ball, just when Souths were finally getting into their attacking game.

Cleary kicked the conversion to put the Panthers in control at 14-8, with less than 12 minutes to go.

As the clock ticked down, Souths rediscovered their attack game. And off the back of a penalty for interference at the ruck, Alex Johnston touched down to make it  14-12 with a kick to come.

But Reynolds pushed it wide.

Souths kept up their own pressure in the final five, pushing for the score that would win the title for them. Their final play was to try for a two-point drop goal from outside the 40m mark, but while Reynold’s kick was on target and had the legs, it didn’t have the height to get over the bar.

And that, as they say, was the ball game. Last year’s losing grand finalists Penrith Panthers were duly crowned Premiers.

Score Progression: 0-0, 4-0, 6-0, 6-4, 6-6, 8-6. HT. 8-8, 12-8 14-8, 14-12. FT

Half Time: 8-6.

Full Time: 14-12

Penrith Panthers: Edwards, Crichton (T), Momirovski, Burton (T), To’o; Luai, Cleary (2G, P), Leota, Korosau, Fisher-Harris, Capewell, Martin, Yeo. Interchange: Kikau, May, Sorensen, Lenui.

South Sydney Rabbitohs: Taafe, Johnston (T), Gagal, Graham, Paulo; Walker (T), Reynolds (G, P), Cook, Tatola, Koloamatangi, Su’A, Murray. Interchange: Marshall, Host, Burgess, Arrow.

Referee: Gerard Sutton.

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.




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Posted by tb on Sun 3rd Oct 2021 11:32 AM | Views : 5107 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
National Rugby League 2021 ROUND : 25
 PLDFADIFFPTS
Melbourne 24 815 316 499 42
Penrith 24 640 280 360 42
Souths 24 775 453 322 40
Manly 24 744 492 252 32
Sydney 24 636 475 161 32
Parramatta 24 566 457 109 30
Newcastle 24 428 571 -143 24
Gold Coast 24 568 553 15 20
 
Cronulla 24 512 556 -44 20
Canberra 24 481 578 -97 20
St.George 24 474 616 -142 16
NZ Warriors 24 453 624 -171 16
Wests 24 500 714 -214 16
Brisbane 24 446 695 -249 14
NQL Cowboys 24 460 748 -288 14
Canterbury 24 340 710 -370 6
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Super League XXVI ROUND : 25
 PLDFADIFFPTSDIFFWP%
Catalans 23 688 398 290 38 172.86 82.61
St.Helens 21 548 229 319 32 239.30 76.19
Warrington 21 588 354 234 31 166.10 73.81
Wigan 25 387 385 2 30 100.52 60
Leeds 24 556 440 116 26 126.36 54.17
Hull KR 20 497 458 39 20 108.52 50
 
Castleford 23 439 552 -113 22 79.53 47.83
Hull FC 21 409 476 -67 17 85.92 40.48
Huddersfield 24 460 516 -56 18 89.15 37.50
Wakefield 24 482 548 -66 18 87.96 37.50
Salford 22 402 586 -184 14 68.60 31.82
Leigh 22 356 870 -514 4 40.92 9.09
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
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 PLDFADIFFPTSDIFFWP%
Toulouse 13 616 112 504 26 550 100
Featherstone 19 817 254 563 34 321.65 94.74
Halifax 19 512 323 189 26 158.51 68.42
Bradford 18 483 455 28 24 106.15 66.67
LondonB 18 504 499 5 21 101 63.89
Batley 19 525 370 155 24 141.89 63.16
 
Whitehaven 20 447 496 -49 21 90.12 52.50
York 19 470 455 15 16 103.30 42.11
Widnes 19 458 509 -51 15 89.98 39.47
Newcastle 18 381 521 -140 13 73.13 36.11
Sheffield 18 382 553 -171 13 69.08 36.11
Dewsbury 19 308 570 -262 13 54.04 34.21
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Swinton 20 354 719 -365 3 49.24 7.50
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
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 PLDFADIFFPTSDIFFWP%
Barrow 17 596 275 321 27 216.73 79.41
Workington 15 471 310 161 21 151.94 70
Doncaster 18 503 400 103 24 125.75 66.67
Keighley 19 640 399 241 25 160.40 65.79
Crusaders 18 553 438 115 22 126.26 61.11
Hunslet 19 572 466 106 20 122.75 52.63
 
Rochdale 17 505 488 17 17 103.48 50
Coventry 17 407 460 -53 12 88.48 35.29
LondonS 18 292 577 -285 7 50.61 19.44
West Wales 18 208 896 -688 1 23.21 2.78
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Womens Super League 2021 ROUND : 9
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St.HelensW 7 370 36 334 12 1,027.78 85.71
WiganW 6 222 64 158 10 346.88 83.33
YorkW 6 186 102 84 8 182.35 66.67
CastlefordW 6 166 96 70 8 172.92 66.67
BradfordW 8 158 264 -106 6 59.85 37.50
Hudds W 7 104 288 -184 4 36.11 28.57
 
Wire W 8 150 334 -184 4 44.91 25
FeatherstoneW 8 122 338 -216 4 36.09 25
LeedsW 7 364 38 326 14 957.89 100
WakefieldW 7 50 332 -282 0 15.06 0
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