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The 2010 NRL Grand Final was the conclusive and premiership-deciding game of the 2010 NRL season. Played on Sunday, 3 October at Sydney's ANZ Stadium, the match was contested by the St. George Illawarra Dragons and the Sydney Roosters. It was the first time the two sides met in a grand final. They had played each other twice before during the season, with St. George Illawarra winning on both occasions. The Dragons finished the season as minor premiers as they had the previous season. The Roosters were the previous year's wooden-spooners and only after playing and winning for five consecutive weeks were able to reach the 2010 decider.

2010 (2010) NRL Grand Final  ()
2010 Grand Final logo
12 Total
SGI St. George colours.svg 626 32
SYD Eastern Suburbs colours.svg 80 8
Date3 October 2010
StadiumANZ Stadium
LocationSydney, NSW, Australia
Clive Churchill MedalDarius Boyd (SGI)
National anthemJessica Mauboy
RefereesTony Archer
Shayne Hayne
Paul Holland (Touch Judge)
Jeff Younis (Touch Judge)
Broadcast partners
← 2009
2011 →

In the grand final, the Dragons trailed by 2 points at halftime, but broke the shackles in the second half, keeping the Roosters scoreless while adding 26 points to their score.[1] The game finished with a 24-point margin in favour of the Dragons, claiming their first premiership as a joint-venture club.


The 2010 NRL season was the 103rd season of professional rugby league football club competition in Australia, and the thirteenth run by the National Rugby League. The season commenced on 12 March with sixteen teams competing for the 2010 Telstra Premiership whilst the third season of the National Youth Competition was also in progress. The 2010 season was marred by the Melbourne Storm's admission in April of systematically breaching the salary cap. As part of the NRL's imposed penalties, the Storm were deducted all 8 competition points earned at the time of the announcement, and were barred from receiving points for the rest of the season, guaranteeing them the wooden spoon.

Dragons Roosters
Rd.1 Eels Rabbitohs
Rd.2 Bulldogs Tigers
Rd.3 Cowboys Bulldogs
Rd.4 Storm Broncos
Rd.5 Broncos Panthers
Rd.6 Titans Raiders
Rd.7 Roosters Dragons
Rd.8 Cronulla Tigers
Rd.9 Sea Eagles Cowboys
Rd.10 Bulldogs Knights
Rd.11 Raiders Bye
Rd.12 Eels Titans
Rd.13 Warriors Sharks
Rd.14 Bye Storm
Rd.15 Sharks Bye
Rd.16 Tigers Warriors
Rd.17 Panthers Raiders
Rd.18 Bye Rabbitohs
Rd.19 Rabbitohs Bulldogs
Rd.20 Titans Broncos
Rd.21 Broncos Eels
Rd.22 Roosters Dragons
Rd.23 Sea Eagles Sharks
Rd.24 Raiders Titans
Rd.25 Knights Sea Eagles
Rd.26 Rabbitohs Cowboys
QF Sea Eagles Tigers
SF DNP Panthers
PF Tigers Titans
Key:   Win   Loss

St. George Illawarra DragonsEdit

The Dragons qualified for the Grand Final having defeated the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the Wests Tigers in the finals series. The club had finished the regular season as minor premiers for the second consecutive season.[2] The Dragons suffered a poor record in finals matches, having been knocked out of the finals series in straight sets in 2009, and having qualified for a Grand Final only once (in 1999, their first year as a joint venture) in eight finals appearances since the joint venture came into existence. It had been 31 years since the St. George Dragons side of the joint venture last won a premiership, while the Illawarra Steelers club had never won a premiership or qualified for a Grand Final.[3]

Sydney RoostersEdit

The Sydney Roosters entered the Grand Final from a markedly different path to that of the Dragons. The Roosters had finished the 2009 season on the bottom of the ladder. Under new coach Brian Smith, and having signed troubled star Todd Carney, the Roosters improved to finish sixth on the ladder in 2010, before consecutive finals series victories against the Wests Tigers, the Penrith Panthers and the Gold Coast Titans launched the club into the Grand Final. The Roosters were thus in a position where they could become the first club since the Western Suburbs Magpies in 1934 to win a premiership after finishing last in the previous season.[4]

Grand final day scheduleEdit

Australian rock band You Am I headlined the pre-match entertainment, which also featured Jessica Mauboy, Australian dance act Justice Crew, an ensemble of the Sydney Children's Choir, the Gondwana National Indigenous Children's Choir and the Glebe Public School Choir and a tribute to the NRL's retiring players.[5] The 21 Australian soldiers killed in the war in Afghanistan also received a tribute that concluded with the traditional arrival of a Blackhawk helicopter.[6]

  • 11:45am Gates Open
  • 12:00pm NSW Cup Grand Final Kick Off – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Windsor Wolves
  • 1:45pm NSW Cup Grand Final official presentation
  • 2:00pm Toyota Cup Grand Final Kick Off – South Sydney Rabbitohs v New Zealand Warriors
  • 3:15pm Coin Toss
  • 3:50pm Toyota Cup Grand Final official presentation
  • 4:25pm Telstra Premiership Grand Final teams highlight package
  • 4:36pm Presentation to 300-game and Retiring Players
  • 4:45pm Ken Stephen Medalist, Andrew Ryan, and Toyota National Volunteer of the Year, Greg Carey, deliver Telstra Premiership Grand Final Trophy via the Telstra Child Flight helicopter
  • 4:50pm Pre-game entertainment – Justice Crew, Jessica Mauboy and You Am I with Dan Sultan and Phil Jamieson
  • 5:18pm National Anthem performed, both in Dharawal indigenous language and in English, by Jessica Mauboy with Sydney Children's Choir, Gondwana National Indigenous Children's Choir and Glebe Public School Choir
  • 5:20pm 2010 Telstra Premiership Grand Final – 1st half – St George Illawarra Dragons v Sydney Roosters
  • 6:05pm Blackhawk arrival and Defence tribute
  • 6:20pm 2010 Telstra Premiership Grand Final – 2nd half
  • 7:03pm Telstra Premiership Grand Final official presentation

Match detailsEdit

The Grand Final commenced at approximately 5.15pm, following the grand finals of the NSW Cup between Windsor Wolves and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the Toyota Cup between South Sydney Rabbitohs and New Zealand Warriors. The weather was overcast, 13 degrees Celsius, with light rain which meant the two earlier matches had caused the centre of the field to become muddy. A crowd of 82,334 was in attendance for the match.[7]

First halfEdit

St. George Illawarra
Posit. Sydney Roosters
1. Darius Boyd FB 1. Anthony Minichiello
2. Brett Morris WG 2. Joseph Leilua
3. Mark Gasnier CE 3. Kane Linnett
4. Matt Cooper CE 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
5. Jason Nightingale WG 5. Sam Perrett
6. Jamie Soward 5/8th 6. Todd Carney
7. Ben Hornby (c) HB 7. Mitchell Pearce
8. Neville Costigan PR 8. Jason Ryles
9. Dean Young HK 9. Jake Friend
10. Michael Weyman PR 20. Lopini Paea
11. Beau Scott SR 11. Nate Myles
12. Ben Creagh SR 12. Mitchell Aubusson
13. Jeremy Smith LF 13. Braith Anasta (c)
14. Nathan Fien Int. 10. Frank-Paul Nu'uausala
15. Trent Merrin Int. 14. Martin Kennedy
16. Matt Prior Int. 15. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
17. Jarrod Saffy Int. 16. Daniel Conn
Wayne Bennett Coach Brian Smith

After a sixth-minute penalty to the Dragons helped them up into good field position, Jamie Soward from the ten-metre line kicked the ball over into the Roosters' in-goal and Mark Gasnier, racing through from the right side, leapt to catch it on the full and put it down just inside the dead ball line.[8] The video referee Bill Harrigan awarded the try and Soward's conversion was successful, so St. George Illawarra were leading 6-0 after eight minutes. However, video replays showed that in the lead up to the try, Dragons winger Brett Morris had passed the ball with a foot outside the touch-line so play should not have been allowed to continue.[9] Later, in the sixteenth minute, the Roosters had made their way up into better field position when Todd Carney, twenty metres from the opposition try-line's right side, kicked high to the left corner. His winger Joseph Leilua caught the ball, crashed over the try-line, and while attempting to put it down had it knocked from his outstretched hand by Jamie Soward's knee, but Roosters captain Braith Anasta was there to ground it.[10] The video referee was again called upon to award the try, and with Carney's kick going wide the score was 6-4 in favour of the Red & Whites. Less than two minutes after the restart of play St. George Illawarra knocked on in their own half and the Tricolours, after getting within fifteen metres of the try-line, moved the ball through the hands from the left side of the field to the right where Mitchell Aubusson crashed over near the corner.[11] Carney again missed the conversion but his side was now in the lead 8-6 with a quarter of the match gone. In the twenty-sixth minute the Dragons were awarded a penalty in a goal-kicking position but Soward missed.[12] At the thirty-minute mark St. George Illawarra prop Michael Weyman was helped off the field after getting a swinging arm to the head from Daniel Conn which was placed on report.[13] The third quarter of the match was played in both ends of the ground with neither side able to turn their opportunities into points, so the teams left the field with the Sydney Roosters leading 6-8.[14]

Second halfEdit

Less than six minutes after the break and having forced the Roosters to do a goal-line drop-out, St. George Illawarra got their first try of the half. On the second tackle and twenty metres out, the ball made its way through their hands to right winger Jason Nightingale who stepped around his defender and dove over in the corner.[15] Soward's kick from the sideline added the extra two points, so the Dragons led 12 - 8. The rain had started falling heavily when the Red & Whites scored another similar try, with a long cut-out pass going to ground but Nightingale was able to pick it up and cross in his corner again.[16] Soward again kicked the extras, pushing his side's lead out to 18 - 8 with a quarter of the match remaining. About two minutes later St. George Illawarra had again worked the ball up into an attacking position when Nathan Fien, less than ten metres from the uprights, darted ahead from dummy half before passing to Dean Young who juggled the ball as he crashed through the defence and over the line.[17] The video referee awarded the try 'benefit of the doubt' and with Soward adding the extras the Dragons were now leading 24 - 8. The Roosters, still unable to get the ball out of their danger zone conceded another penalty in front of their posts and Soward added another two points for his team, making it 26 - 8. Further errors from the Tricolours led to another White & Red attacking wave and another close-range try, with Fien pushing through the goal-line defence from dummy half. After another simple kick for Soward, St. George Illawarra lead 32 - 8, and with no more points in the remaining eight minutes this was the full-time score.[18]


St George Illawarra Dragons
Tries 2 Nightingale (46', 60')
1 Gasnier (8')
1 Young (63')
1 Fien (70')
Goals 6/7 Soward
(9', 47', 61', 64', 67', 71')


Sydney Roosters
Tries 1 Anasta (16')
1 Aubusson (20')
Goals 0/2 Carney


-8th: Dragons 6–0 (Try: Gasnier, Goal: Soward)
-16th: Roosters 6-4 (Try: Anasta)
-20th: Roosters 8-6 (Try: Aubusson)
-46th: Dragons 12-8 (Try: Nightingale, Goal: Soward)
-60th: Dragons 18-8 (Try: Nightingale, Goal: Soward)
-63rd: Dragons 24-8 (Try: Young, Goal: Soward)
-67th: Dragons 26-8 (Penalty Goal: Soward)
-70th: Dragons 32-8 (Try: Fien, Goal: Soward)

It was the third time in the 2010 season that the Dragons had trailed the Roosters at halftime before keeping them scoreless in the second half to win. St. George Illawarra fullback Darius Boyd was judged by Australian selectors to be awarded the Clive Churchill Medal for man of the match.[19] Boyd became the fourth fullback to win the Clive Churchill, after Newcastle's Robbie O'Davis (1997), former Broncos teammate Darren Lockyer (2000) and Melbourne's Billy Slater (2009). Boyd had a hand in both of Nightingale's tries and made 111 metres from 13 hit-ups.[20] This was Boyd's second premiership win, having won with the Brisbane Broncos in his debut year of 2006.


Australia's national television audience for the match was over 3.1 million and up on the previous year's decider in Sydney and Brisbane.[21] A further 197,000 people watched the game live in New Zealand.[22]

Telecast DetailsEdit

2011 World Club ChallengeEdit

Having won the NRL grand final, St. George Illawarra had earned the right to play against 2010's Super League XV Champions, the Wigan Warriors in the following February's World Club Challenge, which they won 21-15.


  1. ^ Proszenko, Adrian (4 October 2010). "Grand final at a glance". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
  2. ^ Webster, Andrew (27 September 2010). "St. George Illawarra Dragons steeled by the lessons of last season". News Limited. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  3. ^ Riccio, David (25 July 2010). "Chokers tag is suffocating Dragons". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  4. ^ Barrett, Chris (22 September 2010). "The wooden spoon to premier gold? Roosters run recalls league history". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  5. ^ "NRL Telstra Premiership GF Day schedule". 2 October 2010. Archived from the original on 4 October 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Australian soldiers to be honoured at GF". 2 October 2010. Archived from the original on 6 October 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  7. ^ Wilson, Andy (3 October 2010). "St George Illawarra Dragons beat Sydney Roosters in NRL Grand Final". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  8. ^ Crawford, Adrian (4 October 2010). "Dragons romp to sweet 16th". ABC News. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  9. ^ Read, Brent (4 October 2010). "Wayne Bennett's Dragons blow away critics to end 31-year drought". The Australian. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  10. ^ Madame H (3 October 2010). "Bennett's Boys End Finals Drought". Triple M Sport. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  11. ^ Jancetic, Steve (4 October 2010). "Dragons break drought with huge win". Coolum & North Shore News. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  12. ^ Wang, Chris (3 October 2010). "Dragons rain on Roosters grand final parade". Wide World of Sports.
  13. ^ Nicolussi, Christian (3 October 2010). "Rooster says Weyman may have conned ref". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
  14. ^ "Dragons burn Roosters". Sky Sports. 3 October 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
  15. ^ Robertson, Greg (3 October 2010). "Dragons NRL champs: winner, winner chicken dinner". 3 News. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  16. ^ Russell, Glenn (3 October 2010). "NRL GF: Score by Score". Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  17. ^ Brent, Read (3 October 2010). "Tears flow as Dragons break drought with win over Roosters in NRL grand final". The Australian. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  18. ^ AP (3 October 2010). "St. George Illawarra wins NRL". IBN Live News. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  19. ^ Chammas, Michael (4 October 2010). "2010 Clive Churchill winner Darius Boyd". Illawarra Mercury. Australia: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  20. ^ Badel, Peter (3 October 2009). "Unwanted Boyd inspired to perform". The Daily Telegraph.
  21. ^ "NRL grand final telecast attracts 3.1 million viewers". The Courier-Mail. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  22. ^
  23. ^ America One|[permanent dead link] October 2010