To be the Greatest: Brad Fittler
As the 2013 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series hits fever pitch ahead of the NRL Grand Final, NRL.com looks back at some of the greatest moments in the history of post-regular season playoffs.
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 this week as NRL.com takes a trip down memory lane to remember some of the greatest moments in NRL Finals.
The Grand Final contested by Penrith and Canberra in 1991 is best remembered for Royce Simmons’ second try near fulltime which secured the Panthers their first ever Premiership.
But a moment in the first half between two legendary players should never be forgotten.
With the scores locked at 6-all in the 24th minute, fate pitted a Rugby League icon against the next big thing.
Raiders legend Mal Meninga caught an impromptu kick ahead from Panthers fullback Greg Barwick inside the Canberra 10-metre line, turned and in a flash sprinted clear down the eastern touchline. It was the stuff of nightmares for opposition players – the thought of Big Mal in wide open spaces and charging towards the tryline.
Meninga appeared to have two defenders covered for pace, but as he pulled away, young centre Brad Fittler made a bee-line across the field.
Meninga attempted to put out a belated right-hand fend, but the youngster would have none of it, cutting down the Raiders giant in a copybook, try-saving tackle around the waist.
The commentary of the moment was telling. “The young bull against the old bull, 19 years of age in his second Grand Final and he brings down the king.
“Brad Fittler’s a freak... and freaks can do anything!”
The Panthers went on to claim their maiden Premiership since their 1967 inception with a 19-12 win and Fittler went on to become one of the game’s greats, captaining NSW and Australia and winning a second premiership with the Sydney Roosters in 2002.
Penrith coach Phil Gould offered this gem when asked to describe the moment; “great tackle, a legend, tackled by a kid, who became a legend.”