The try that won the first Grand Final
In 1998, nobody knew quite what to expect from a Grand Final. Far from the dramatic end to the season it promised, it could have been an anti-climax.
What it needed was a dominant image that summed up the all-or-nothing nature of the new system. In the 37th minute, it got it. JASON ROBINSON came hunting on the inside, beat three Leeds defenders and scored the try that set up Wigan’s 10-4 win over the Rhinos.
The first hat-trick
Considering how long it took for the first hat-trick at Wembley, the first in a Grand Final came before we were ready for it.
If anyone had the right to be called Mr Grand Final in the early years of the showpiece, it was surely Bradford’s MICHAEL WITHERS. His treble against Wigan in 2001 pointed the way to a 37-6 thrashing.
Of his three first-half efforts, his second was the best, with Scott Naylor and Tevita Vaikona starting an attack from half-way and Withers supporting to finish.
The prodigal son returns
STUART REARDON had spent much of the 2003 season on loan from Bradford to Featherstone and Salford, but long-term injuries saw him recalled.
Midway through the second half of a tight game, the massive Joe Vagana made the crucial break. Reardon was there in support and staggered over the Wigan line after stumbling.
The 2004 Grand Final between Leeds and Bradford was a nail-biter, only settled five minutes from time when DANNY MCGUIRE exchanged passes from the base of the scrum with Keith Senior and dived over. It was the last and most important try of the season for McGuire, who was at the height of his try-scoring powers.
When Leeds thrashed St Helens in the 2007 Grand Final, there was no single try to match some of the previous ones for match-winning significance. What it did have was arguably the most spectacular score so far seen at Old Trafford. The man primarily responsible was SCOTT DONALD, who performed the difficult party trick of slowing down the defence and then dismantling it with his trademark swerve.
The team effort
If it’s great team tries you’re looking for, it’s hard to look past MARTIN GLEESON in 2010.
The Wigan full-back, Sam Tomkins, was initially sent away by Tommy Leuluai, who figured twice in the move before Paul Deacon completed it with the pass to Gleeson.