Which player has the most tries in a GF? Those are the kind of stats every League fan should know about this September. Here’s our NRL Grand Final stats guide.
At the beginning of each season, every NRL fan marks September in the calendar.
Some, like Bulldogs and Tigers fans, do it in hope their side pulls together a season from the gods to be there at the season’s pointy end, others, like those who barrack for the Penrith Panthers, do it in confident expectation.
This season’s iteration looms as one of the most exciting in recent memory. Recent history suggests Penrith remain the team to beat but Brisbane is an exciting new team on the block with dynamite in Reece Walsh, poise with Adam Reynolds, and power with Patrick Carrigan and Payne Haas.
Ahead of the big dance on Sunday October 1st, here are the NRL Grand Final stats every fan needs to know.
The key NRL Grand Final stats all fans should know
Here are several NRL Grand Final stats we suggest fans get across. Who knows… one or two of them might be broken on the first Sunday in October!
The highest team total in an NRL Grand Final
In 1951, a South Sydney side boasting Clive Churchill went on a rampage in the NSWRL. Losing just one of 18 matches that season, Souths finished 11 points clear of second place Manly in the regular season and were a strong favourite for the premiership. And they lived up to the hype.
A crowd of 28,000 packed the old Sydney Sports Ground to watch Souths put Manly to the sword on a sunny September day, scoring 42 points – the highest of any side in rugby league history. The Bunnies second rower, Bernie Purcell, kicked seven goals on his way to man-of-the-match.
With 56 total points – Manly scored 14 on the day – the match is also the highest scoring grand final in rugby league history.
Highest number of tries in an NRL Grand Final
South’s 1951 record-breaking Grand Final victory also saw Johnny Graves set the record for most tries in a grand final. Of the 79 tries the winger scored in his career, none were more important than the four he scored against Manly that day to help Souths win back-to-back premierships.
In 2008, Manly’s Michael Robertson went close to matching Graves’ monumental feat after he crossed for a hat-trick in Manly’s 40-0 embarrassment of the star-studded Melbourne Storm.
Most Grand Final appearances by a player (10)
Norm Provan: Immortalised as a mud soaked warrior consoling Western Suburbs Magpies captain and five-eighth, Arthur Summons, at the conclusion of Provan’s St George won the 1963 Grand Final, 8-3. Famously, the pair are now coated in a different shade of bronze on the Provan-Summons trophy hoisted high into the Sydney sky each year by the NR grand final winners.
Brian Clay: Another staple of St George’s immortalised side of the 1950s and 1960s, Clay was a tough defending lock who was capable of dabbling in five-eighth if need be.
Modern day player closest to breaking this record? The obvious answer is Nathan Cleary. Penrith’s halfback has already featured in three, with a fourth looking increasingly likely.
Most consecutive premierships
Between 1956 and 1966, the indomitable St George side, guided by leaders such as Norm Provan and Brian Clay, won an astonishing 11 Premierships in a row, an achievement quite unlike anything ever seen in Australian sport. During this inconceivable run, St George’s closest winning margin was just three points — a 9-6 win against Western Suburbs in 1962. The Red V juggernaut scored over 20 points in more than half their big dance appearances during this era.
In the modern game, the closest comparison to St George’s remarkable feat is the Penrith Panthers and even then, the two sides aren’t in the same universe. Ivan Cleary’s men have featured in the last three deciders, winning the 2021 edition against Souths and last year’s game against arch-enemies Parramatta. Ironically, the Panthers are looking to become the first team since the Eels of the early 1980s to win three Premierships in a row. Back then, Parramatta boasted the likes of Peter Sterling, Ray Price, and Brett Kenny – men whose stature at the club is unlike any other.