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Memorable Matches From The Biff Era


Posted by... quigs eraofthebiff - on ... Friday, May 04, 2012





Get some more beers, or make another coffee, take your time and have some fun.

from Quigs "As mentioned previously, I am not a rugby league historian, a rugby league expert. I am just a lover of this era of Rugby League." ... This is a recollection of some of the battles, and the trench warfare that I, and others watched over time. Some are matches that I was told about, or read about.

MATCH SUMMARY A number of league writers refer to this as the greatest Grand Final ever;

You Tube Video clips from the game - click the link http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=aGpfea1rN6c




Gary Belcher FB Garry Jack
Matthew Wood
Mal Meninga (c)
Laurie Daley
John Ferguson
Chris O'Sullivan
Ricky Stuart
Brent Todd
Steve Walters
Glenn Lazarus
Dean Lance
Gary Coyne
Bradley Clyde
Paul Martin
Kevin Walters
Steve Jackson
Tim Sheens


Garry Jack
S O'Brien
Tim Brasher
Andy Currier
James Grant
Mick Neil
Gary Freeman
Steve Roach
Benny Elias
Steve Edmed
Paul Sironen
Bruce McGuire
Wayne Pearce (c)
Kevin Hardwick
Michael Pobjie
S Edwards
Warren Ryan

CANBERRA -v- BALMAIN 1989 Grand Final

A number of league writers refer to this as the greatest Grand Final ever; whether so or not, Canberra displayed extraordinary focus and self belief to snatch a last minute victory.

Canberra were making their second Grand Final appearance and bidding to become the first non-Sydney side to win the premiership. They were also looking to win from a finals fourth spot which had never before been done. Balmain had been bridesmaids in the 1988 decider, boasted a Test strength pack and were favourites to win.

Balmain led 12-2 at half time having scored two tries against the run of play. The first, an intercept by winger James Grant after Raiders prop Brent Todd lost possession in a heavy tackle. The second was a great team effort with Paul Sironen steaming over under the posts after lead-up work from English import Andy Currier and Grant all starting from a kick ahead by Currier after he had received a perfect offload from Steve Roach.

Canberra had looked marginally the better side in the first half and coach Tim Sheens spoke effectively to his players at the break stressing that they could be considered unlucky to be trailing. Fifteen minutes into the second half "Chicka" Ferguson set up the Raiders first try when he escaped an attempted tackle by Currier, passed to Belcher who also beat Currier to score. The gap was narrowed to 12-8.

Twice in the last twenty minutes Balmain nearly wrapped up the match. Michael Neil was ankle tapped five metres from the line in a desperate dive by Mal Meninga. Then the Tigers captain Wayne Pearce lost the ball with the line wide open and Tim Brasher unmarked.

Warren Ryan's decision with fifteen minutes left to firstly replace the enforcer Roach with defender Kevin Hardwick and then Sironen with Michael Pobjie may have been the turning point in the game. Ryan effectively set out to defend a six point lead, a tactic which ultimately backfired. Benny Elias' field goal attempt hit the cross bar, after he'd earlier had one charged down by Meninga. However with 90 seconds to go and it seemingly all over for the Raiders, the evergreen Ferguson scored the try of his life. Chris O'Sullivan sent up a searching bomb, Laurie Daley was there to palm the ball to Ferguson who stepped back inside past three converging defenders to score close to the posts, enabling a easy conversion for Meninga to level.

With Canberra's confidence mounting the game became the first Grand Final to go to same day extra time. At this point the Sironen/Roach replacements became crucial with neither able to resume the field for the extra period.

Garry Jack knocked on two minutes into the third period and from the scrum Canberra's five eighth O'Sullivan kicked a field goal. Minutes from the finish Raiders replacement Jackson received the ball fifteen metres from the line, beat two men and then carried a further three with him and as he was being brought down reached out to place the ball one handed on the line.

Canberra's first ever premiership; the first Grand Final won by an out-of-Sydney club; the first that went to extra time. The nineteen year old Bradley Clyde was a deserved man of the match.

Canberra 19 (Tries: Belcher, Ferguson, Jackson; Goals: Meninga 3; Fld Goal: O'Sullivan 1)

Balmain 14 (Tries: Grant, Sironen; Goals: Currier 3 )

Clive Churchill Medal: Bradley Clyde (Canberra)


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