One punter’s pain is another’s pleasure. To promote the launch of the New Bookie Bag’s Game Saver product, Jason Oliver has dug up the NRL archives to find his top 10 classic comebacks and crazy capitulations. You can bet punters on the wrong side of these wish they had a Game Saver up their sleeve.
2015 Grand Final: Cowboys 17 def. Broncos 16
You wouldn’t think anybody in Brisbane needs reminding about this one, but they do. Most Broncos fans have wiped the 2015 NRL Grand Final from their memory.
Up 16-12 going into the final minute, the Provan-Summons Trophy was within reach. One more tackle would have won it. However, the Cowboys threw the ball around on the last tackle. Turning the Broncos left edge inside out in the process, Kyle Feldt ended up over in the corner.
While Johnathan Thurston couldn’t knock down the sideline conversion to win, it wasn’t long before he was presented with a game-winning opportunity in Golden Point.
Cowboys win: 17-16
The 2018 Canberra Faders
The Raiders’ 2018 season was defined by blown leads. Finishing up 10th on the ladder, they would have been Top 8 certainties if games ended after 70 minutes.
The trend for the season was set early as the Raiders blew leads in Round 1, 2 and 3.
The Raiders had Round 1 in the bag before back-to-back errors in the 77th and 78th minute. Ahead 28-24 at the time, the Raiders couldn’t stop Konrad Hurrell from crashing over in the 79th minute, earning the Titans an unlikely 30-28 win.
Leading 28-20 after 64 minutes against the Knights, the Raiders conceded two tries in ten minutes to lose 28-30.
Ahead of the Warriors by seven with five minutes to play, the Raiders conceded a try and two field goals in three consecutive sets to lose 19-18.
— Jason Oliver (@JasonNRL) July 13, 2019
Take your pick of heartbreakers from the 2018 Raiders season.
2011 Round 14: Tigers 26 def. Warriors 22
It’s Benji Marshall at his best.
Faced with a 22-4 deficit in the 63rd minute against the Warriors, Benji snapped into action.
The recipient of an unreal Gareth Ellis offload, Marshall scored to cut the Warriors lead to 22-10. He hung one up for Wade McKinnon to collect two minutes later; the erstwhile Warrior scoring one against his former club. When future Warrior, Blake Aysford, returned a kick 45 metres before sending Marshall over again, the score had all of a sudden become 22-all.
With one more hand to play in this one, Marshall produced a fend to give himself space before floating a pass to Beau Ryan. The Tigers winger crossed over in the corner to score the winner in the 74th minute.
Tigers win: 26-22.
2010 Qualifying Final: Roosters 19 def. Tigers 16
This one isn’t such a good memory for the Tigers.
A place in the 2010 Preliminary Final was no more than a regulation scrum and 32 seconds away before disaster struck.
Frank-Paul Nu’uausala somehow ended up with the ball at the back of the Tigers scrum. Still, the Roosters were scrambling. Searching for the winner, Todd Carney was levelled by what looked like the match-winning tackle. But after a quick shift to the left and cut back in-field, Anthony Minichiello shoveled the ball to Braith Anasta.
He middled the drop-kick; straight between the posts as time expired. The field goal produced the first-ever NRL finals match decided by Golden Point.
Shaun Kenny-Dowell eventually secured the 19-16 win for the Roosters after 100 minutes.
2018 Round 11: Broncos 28 def. Roosters 22
We’re used to the Broncos and Roosters producing thrillers, but this one was something else.
The Roosters got through to the final ten minutes with a 22-16 lead thanks to a Boyd Cordner try.
Gus Gould’s “wow, wow, wow, wow, wow” is the only way to describe Jimmy The Jet’s equaliser, though. It’s a try only he could score.
Remarkably, Jamayne Isaako arguably bettered Roberts’ effort only minutes later.
Initially looking at a field goal, Isaako put on a right foot step, sold a dummy, goose-stepped between two defenders and bamboozled Cooper Cronk to score an incredible match-winning try. The Roosters, meanwhile, were left to rue a poor finish and fairly simple missed conversion earlier in the game.
2018 Round 11: Panthers 28 def. Sea Eagles 24
It’s the latest an NRL team has ever left it to come back from 18 points down.
As the Sea Eagles entered the final 20 minutes 24-6 ahead of the Panthers, the result seemed a formality. The clock kept ticking through to the 67th minute before Josh Mansour scored what most thought would be a consolation try when Nathan Cleary couldn’t land the conversion.
But the Sea Eagles capitulated. Frank Winterstein, in particular, had a horror five-minute spell ‘defending’ on Manly’s right edge.
Manly in the last 15 minutes of #NRLManlyPanthers:
– 4 errors
– 3 penalties
– Conceded 3 linebreaks, 4 tries and 18 points
That's not very good.
— Jason Oliver (@JasonNRL) July 28, 2018
The Panthers followed up Mansour’s try with three more in four minutes. They had wiped away the 18 points and pushed 28-24 in front with five minutes to spare.
In another surprising twist, it was Panthers coach Anthony Griffin sacked just a week later. Although, Trent Barrett’s time at the Sea Eagles also ended shortly after.
2015 Round 15: Cowboys 36 def. Eels 30
The Eels faithful know heartbreak better than most. They’ve suffered plenty over the years. But this one is special – even for them.
When Chris Sandow kicked a penalty goal to put the Eels 30-6 in front after 53 minutes, that should have been it.
Should have been…
57th minute: Cowboys score (30-10)
59th minute: Cowboys score (30-18)
64th minute: Cowboys score (30-24)
66th minute: Cowboys score (30-30)
68th minute: Cowboys score (30-36)
A Gavin Cooper six-minute hattrick sandwiched in between tries to Matthew Wright and Kane Linnett created a nightmare for the Eels and their shattered fan base.
2008 Round 16: Rabbitohs 29 def. Cowboys 28
The Cowboys and Sandow are no strangers to thrillers. This time, it was Sandow leaving the field victorious.
Cruising out to a 28-4 lead, the Cowboys were in control after 50 minutes. However, three Rabbitohs tries in six minutes turned the game on its head. Fetuli Talanoa, Craig Wing, and Beau Champion all crossed the line in quick succession to pull Souths to 28-22 after 58 minutes.
Needing until the 75th minute to get level at 28-all, the Bunnies didn’t have long to find the winner. Even when Sandow chipped over the field goal to leave the Cowboys 15 seconds, the game wasn’t over.
Sandow spilt the kickoff…
A differential penalty and last-gasp field goal attempt after time had expired threatened to ruin the comeback. However, Anthony Watts had his attempt charged down from just 15 metres out.
The Bunnies come back and hold on to win – just.
2014 Round 16: Sharks 24 def. Broncos 22
It’s not often the Broncos lose at Suncorp Stadium.
It’s even rarer to see them blow a lead – especially one of 22 points.
The Sharks hadn’t scored a point for 324 minutes before Jacob Gagan scored in the 53rd minute to make it 24-6. With three consecutive losses to nil across five weeks, the Sharks came into this game in some of the worst form in NRL history.
But as Gagan crossed the line, it sparked something…
The Sharks ran in another two tries in five minutes before Sosaia Feki scored the match-winner four minutes from time. This 24-22 win inspired another over the Roosters – who won the minor premiership – the following week. Although, they did end the season holding the wooden spoon.
2016 Round 17: Raiders 29 def. Knights 25
The 2016 Knights are one of the worst teams in NRL history. With only a single win all season, Round 17 could have doubled their season total.
It looked as though they would grab a second win after racing out to a 22-0 lead in as many minutes. The Mata’utia brothers, Jake Mamo and Korbin Sims all crossed the line early as the Knights stunned the Canberra crowd.
Those that hung around in the stands were rewarded, though.
A Blake Austin try just before halftime got the ball rolling before the Raiders ($1.05 favourites) ran in three second-half tries to level the scores. With Austin and Trent Hodkinson trading field goals to see the game through to Golden Point, Jordan Rapana finally iced the game in the 85th minute.
It’s the one that got away for the Knights. Losers of their next eight, the spooners only kept to within single-digits twice more all season.