St George-Illawara Dragons: 32
Sydney City Roosters: 8
The NRL Grand Final has been won by the St George-Illawara Dragons 32-8. After trailing 8-6 at half time the Dragons produced an almost flawless second half performance. Scoring 4 tries to none they ruined the Sydney City Roosters chances of becoming only the second team to go from last to first in consecutive seasons.
It’s master coach Wayne Bennett’s seventh grand final success, having won six with the Brisbane Bronco’s, and now with the Dragons.
Two of the stars of the match were Kiwi test players winger Jason Nightingale and utility Nathan Fien. Nightingale scored two second half tries, while Fien had an outstanding second half scoring a try, and breaking down the Roosters defense with his incisive attacking game.
The Roosters were held scoreless in the second half as the Dragons ran in 24 unanswered points.
Brian Smith's team made eleven second half errors and couldn’t penetrate the Dragons defense which has been the best of all teams this year in the NRL. Smith has taken 4 teams to the Grand Final and is still to taste success.
Five-eight Jamie Soward had a near perfect goal kicking performance kicking 6/7. Dean Young, who scored a second half try, and Brent Morris matched the performances of their fathers's Craig Young and Steve Morris who also won Grand Finals.
Dragon’s fullback Darius Boyd won the Clive Churchill medal as the man of the match. He thanked the fans and teammates and finished his acceptance speech saying “let’s go party.”
Scorers for St George-Illawara were Mark Gasnier, Dean Young, Nathan Fien, and Jason Nightingale (2), Jamie Soward five conversions and a penalty. Try-scorers for the Sydney Roosters were Braith Anasta, and Mitchell Aubusson.
In the National Youth competition for the under-20’s, the Warriors won their first-ever title in sixteen seasons, beating South Sydney 42-28. Warrior’s five-eighth Carlos Tuimavave won the Jack Gibson medal as the player of the match.