Stats Insider: Who are the 'Comeback Kings'?
We all love a comeback story… when a team gets up off the canvass and finds a way to fight back into a match that appears gone, then goes on to win.
The Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers both produced stunning comeback victories in Round 4 to give their coaches and fans heart palpitations, but neither topped the club’s previous best comebacks.
If you’ll excuse the pun, and understand no blasphemy intended, it was a weekend for resurrections, as the Wests Tigers came back from 24-4 against the Raiders, while the Panthers roared back against Newcastle despite trailing 24-6 at halftime.
In both instances it was a rocket from senior players and coaches that helped instill more pride in performance.
But just what is your club’s best comeback? How far have they fallen into the hole in matches, yet been able to crawl out of the darkness to sweet relief?
The Wests Tigers’ overall best came in 2001 when they trailed by 24 points to the Knights. The side had fallen back 24-0 after 26 minutes before storming home to win 36-32.
The Panthers, who overcame 18 points against the Knights on Easter Monday, have recovered from a 23-point deficit before. In one of the best comeback stories of all time, the home-side Panthers trailed the Wests Tigers 31-8 after 57 minutes in 2000, only to magically conjure a 32-31 miracle.
The all-time record belongs to the Cowboys, who defied all the odds in a match against Penrith back in 1998. Despite being a below-average side, the boys from North Queensland trailed Penrith 26-0 at halftime that season, in Penrith, and somehow managed to win 36-28.
Other extremely impressive comebacks have come from both St George Illawarra and South Sydney, who each recovered from 24 points down on separate occasions.
The Dragons dusted up the Sea Eagles 36-34 during the 2004 season, despite trailing 34-10 at Kogarah with 57 minutes gone. After scores of home fans walked out early, the Red V went ballistic and scored four times in the final quarter of the match to steal a memorable win.
The Rabbitohs’ moment of glory came just a few years back when in 2008 they trailed the Cowboys 28-4 after 51 minutes in Townsville, but blitzed home to win 30-28.
Melbourne and Parramatta’s best comebacks slot in next on the list, both having salvaged victory from 22-point deficits.
The Eels trailed Canberra 22-0 at halftime back in 1987 and managed a 30-22 win, while the Storm had fallen 22-0 behind to the Sharks in Cronulla after 32 minutes back in season 2003, only to manufacture a 36-32 win.
The Bulldogs’, Manly’s and the Warriors’ best comeback efforts currently stand at 20-point turnarounds.
While ’Dogs fans love to remember their 16- point recovery against the Eels in the 1998 grand final qualifier, they once came from 20-0 down after 23 minutes against the Northern Eagles in 2001.
Manly’s club record comeback came in 2005 when they trailed Penrith 26-6 after 51 minutes at Brookvale, only to prevail 36-26, while the Warriors trailed Newcastle 20-0 after 39 minutes that same year, only to pummel the home side Novacastrians 30-26.
The Broncos’, Raiders’, Sharks’ and Knights’ biggest deficit claw-backs are 18 points (Canberra and Newcastle have done so twice) while the Roosters’ best is just 16 points. The newest NRL franchise, the Gold Coast Titans, have 14 points as their benchmark.
The flip side of course, is your club’s biggest collapses – when victory seems yours for all money, only to see it slip away in a flurry of opposition tries.
The ‘record’ obviously goes to the Panthers for their 26-point surrender against the Cowboys in 1998, but the accompanying table outlines your club’s greatest collapse.
So next time your side either shoots to a big lead, or falls behind by a seemingly insurmountable margin, don’t consider the contest over.
Just about anything is possible in this game.
Your Club’s Greatest Comeback
26 – North Queensland
24 – St George Illawarra; South Sydney; Wests Tigers
23 – Penrith
22 – Melbourne; Parramatta
20 – Canterbury; Manly; Warriors
18 – Brisbane; Canberra (twice); Cronulla; Newcastle (twice)
16 – Sydney Roosters
14 – Gold Coast
Your Club’s Greatest Collapse
26 – Penrith
24 – Manly, Newcastle, North Queensland
23 – Wests Tigers
22 – Canberra, Cronulla
20 – Canterbury, Parramatta
18 – Brisbane, South Sydney (twice), Sydney Roosters
16 – Melbourne, Warriors (twice)
14 – St George Illawarra (three times)
8 – Gold Coast (several times)