The last decade of NRL Grand Finals has thrown up all kinds of different results. There have been one-sided demolitions and Golden Point thrillers, drought-breaking wins and back-to-back victories. These are some of the NRL Grand Final records from the past ten years of action.
This one is a tie, with both the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters saluting three times each between 2011 and 2020. The Storm snared their first in 2012, when Cameron Smith and Billy Slater led them to what was technically their first Premiership since 1999, after they were stripped of their 2007 and 2009 flags for salary cap breaches. In 2017 they did it again as the careers of their ageing superstars began winding to a close, before they finished off the decade with a final Premiership to round out what has been an incredible era for Melbourne’s only club.
The Roosters’ first win of the decade came in 2013, when they beat the Sea Eagles in front of 81,491 fans for just their second Premiership since 1975. Despite making three Preliminary Finals over the next four years they couldn’t find their way into another Grand Final, but that all changed in 2018 when they dominated the finals series en route to a second flag of the decade. They rounded it out with another the very next year, holding off the Raiders in a tight, low-scoring Grand Final.
This one once again goes to the Storm, who in 2017 put up the highest Grand Final score of the decade and the second highest of the century – the highest, incidentally, came in 2008 when Manly demolished the Storm themselves in a 40-0 drubbing. The 2017 score was 34-6, with Melbourne smashing the Cowboys from pillar to post over the course of the 80 minutes.
Three converted tries in the first half saw them take an 18-0 lead into the main break, and they didn’t take the foot off the gas in the second stanza. An early try to the Cowboys closed the gap a little, but the Storm scored three tries in ten minutes soon after to sew up a dominant Grand Final win.
Anyone who follows the NRL will instantly know which Grand Final was the closest of the past decade. In fact, the 2015 decider was the closest ever, and remains the only Grand Final in the history of the league to be decided by the golden point. The North Queensland Cowboys won the first Premiership in the club’s history in the 17-16 win over the Broncos, with superstar Johnathan Thurston claiming the Clive Churchill Medal for best afield in a match which is viewed as among the best, if not the best, Grand Final ever played.
Thurston, of course, had a chance to stop the game going to extra time at all with a conversion attempt following a late, game-tying try, but his shot from the edge of the pitch cannoned into the upright. It took just a few minutes for him to repay the faithful though – after Ben Hunt infamously dropped the Cowboys’ kick-off, Thurston nailed a field goal on the fifth tackle to secure a famous victory.
It’s been an entertaining decade of the NRL, and many of the Grand Finals played throughout delivered in a big way. It was a ten-year period dominated by the Storm and the Roosters, and if the 2021 NRL Premiership odds are anything to go by, there could be more silverware on the way for those teams in the years to come.