Penrith finishes off NRL fairytale - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Penrith finishes off NRL fairytale

By Brent Read 05/10/2003 09:54:30 PM Comments (0)

The Penrith fairytale had a happy ending at Telstra Stadium.

The underdog Panthers, facing arguably the most intimidating side of the past decade, stunned the defending champion Sydney Roosters in the National Rugby League grand final with an 18-6 victory.

At one stage this season the Panthers were 100-1 outsiders to win the grand final.

Even after they won the minor premiership and surged into the decider on the back of finals victories over Brisbane and the New Zealand Warriors, few rated them a chance of upsetting the Roosters.

But they did just that - before more than 80,000 hardy fans to clinch only the second premiership in the club's 36-year history.

The Panthers played the final 20 minutes with only three interchange players after centre Ryan Girdler was forced off with a leg injury while captain Craig Gower finished the match with a closed right eye.

But the Penrith players kept picking themselves up and throwing themselves into battle.

John Lang's side was full of heroes, with hooker Luke Priddis winning the Clive Churchill Medal, winger Luke Rooney scoring two tries and lock Scott Sattler, playing his final game for the club, pulling off one of the great grand final tackles to stop Todd Byrne from scoring with the match locked at 6-6.

"You hopefully just don't give up and hopefully they run out of puff," Sattler said.

Byrne did, the Panthers didn't.

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