Six Of The Best: Dramatic Rugby League Finales

For this week’s edition of Six of the Best, we’ve been asking you on social media for the most dramatic endings to a Rugby League game. Many Rugby League games often have finishes that aren’t exactly chaotic and eye-catching, but there have been some games down the years that have captured the imagination with the dramatic style in which they have finished.

It’s often a late try or a late goal that settles the outcome in these dramatic finales, but sometimes, there can be even more controversial circumstances surrounding the games in question. We received a huge amount of interest from you on social media this week, with plenty of you keen to suggest some very high-profile games. As well as that, we also received some lesser known nominations that are very interesting indeed – so we’ve gone for a sprinkling of the well known and the more obscure. We hope you enjoy it!

Academy Grand Final 2006 – Hull 0-1 Leeds
Thanks to @lawrielee on Twitter for this suggestion – he said it’s the best game of Rugby League he’s ever seen! The 1-0 scoreline in Rugby League is almost unheard of at any point during a game, let alone at the final whistle! But that’s exactly what we got at the Academy Grand Final back in 2006, as Leeds took the U21 title in incredible fashion. Leeds’ side included current Super League stars such as Nick Scruton and Luke Gale, and it was Gale who kicked the only point of the game in the 75th minute!

Castleford 36-31 Wigan – March 2014Luke-Dorn-wigan-celebration
Unsurprisingly, a fair few Castleford Tigers fans proposed this particular result for inclusion in our Six of the Best this week! Perhaps the most incredible result of 2014 so far came all the way back at the start of the season, as the Tigers maintained their then-perfect start to Super League 2014 in dramatic fashion. Matty Smith’s drop goal with just over a minute left on the clock nudged Wigan into a 31-30 lead, but Cas weren’t done. A superb sweeping move eventually saw Luke Dorn cross for the Tigers and steal victory from the jaws of defeat.

Huddersfield 25-24 Bradford – July 2008
Quite a few Huddersfield fans asked us for this one, so we simply felt we couldn’t leave it out! This was a fiery tempered West Yorkshire derby between bitter rivals Bradford and Huddersfield – in which referee Steve Ganson sent four players to the sin bin throughout the game! Bulls boss Steve McNamara called the game a “pantomime” afterwards, but it was Chris Thorman’s injury-time drop goal that sealed an incredible win. Bradford had tied it up at 24-24 in the 79th minute – after Huddersfield initially trailed 22-12, but Thorman sealed the most incredible of victories with this last-ditch effort.

New Zealand 20-18 England – World Cup 2013 semi-final
Unfortunately we had so many nominations for this on social media, we simply had to include it. Apologies for raking it to the front of your memory again (if you’re an England fan, that is!), but the moment Shaun Johnson broke English hearts couldn’t be left out of a list like this. England looked destined to be heading for the World Cup final after an incredible showing against the reigning champions at Wembley, with Sam Burgess leading the English charge in some style. However, the Kiwis struck so late that England didn’t even have a chance to kick-off, as Johnson’s try – and his subsequent conversion – sent New Zealand through.

Wigan 20-19 Bradford – August 2000
The game that had the second most amount of nominations came all the way back in 2000, as Wigan snatched a dramatic win against Bradford Bulls. The two sides had shared the points in a 12-12 draw earlier in the season, but this would prove to be even more chaotic. Wigan had trailed since the very first minute of the game, but when Kris Radlinski crossed in the dying seconds – after Bradford had been reduced to 11 men after two yellow cards – it gave Andy Farrell the chance to kick a tricky conversion to win it. He succeeded, and the DW Stadium erupted.

St Helens 16-11 Bradford – September 2000
We don’t feel we can do this one justice explaining it via written text. Therefore, everything you need to know is right here:

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