To Be The Greatest: Hazem El Masri
These are some of the great action snapshots that have made the NRL Finals so memorable, with each and every one etched into Rugby League’s rich folklore.
Keep coming back as NRL.com takes a trip down memory lane to remember some of the greatest moments in NRL Finals.
It was going to be one of the greatest individual tries ever scored in NRL Finals – but then came an astonishing try-saving tackle from Bulldogs winger Hazem El Masri.
In the 2003 Final between the Storm and Canterbury, Melbourne’s Steven Bell was given the ball flat-footed inside his own half, with his team trailing 4-0 in the 16th minute.
Bell was confronted with a fast-closing Matt Utai, but the Storm centre managed to shrug off Utai’s would-be tackle before stepping off his right foot to beat forward Steve Reardon cold.
As Bell speared through a gap and commenced a long, swerving run right through the heart of the Bulldogs’ defence, he skipped past a desperate ankle tap and then stepped off his left foot to go straight by fullback Luke Patten, who was left off balance and floundering on the turf due to the change of direction.
Bell skipped out of another tackle and was on his way to the try line. Glory beckoned.
But then a desperate Hazem El Masri came from seemingly nowhere to latch hold of Bell from the waist; in the same motion he managed to turn Bell onto his back and prevent him putting the ball down as the pair slid into the in-goal.
It was a miraculous tackle that changed the course of the game – The Bulldogs would go on to claim a 30-0 victory.