NRL pays tribute to retiring players

The NRL will pay tribute to 21 retiring players during a star-studded build-up to the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final between South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.

Premiership winners, State of Origin and Test stars will officially hang up their boots following the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership. They include Sydney Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello, who last lifted the NRL Telstra Premiership Trophy on Grand Final day. Minichiello, who bowed out playing his 302nd match for Sydney Roosters in the Preliminary Final against South Sydney, will be joined in retirement by fellow 300-game player John Morris (Cronulla Sharks).

Also retiring at the end of the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership season are North Queensland Cowboys, Queensland and Australian representative Brent Tate, Gold Coast Titans’ representative pair Ashley Harrison and Luke Bailey, and internationals Brett White (Canberra Raiders), Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta Eels), Luke O’Donnell (Sydney Roosters), Jerome Ropati (Warriors), Braith Anasta (Wests Tigers) and Jharal Yow Yeh (Brisbane Broncos).

“We will say goodbye to some true greats and some real characters this year,” NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg said.

“The game will miss their on-field talents, but thankfully their commitment and compassion in the work they do off it will continue in retirement.

“Anthony Minichiello debuted at the turn of the millennium and was still going strong up until last weekend at the same club, while Brent Tate, Braith Anasta and Luke Bailey have been wonderful servants in playing more than 200 matches in the NRL, and representing both state and country.”

Penrith Panthers hooker Kevin Kingston will have the chance to retire following a victory on Grand Final Day. Kingston will captain the Panthers in the inaugural NRL State Championship against Intrust Super Cup side the Northern Pride.

Ben Smith (Parramatta Eels), Anthony Quinn (Newcastle Knights), Matt Hilder (Newcastle Knights), Jason King (Manly Sea Eagles), Beau Ryan (Cronulla Sharks), Nathan Merritt (South Sydney), Joe Picker (South Sydney), Liam Fulton (Wests Tigers) and Matt Utai will be honoured alongside players leaving the NRL including Ashton Sims (North Queensland Cowboys), Willie Tonga (Parramatta Eels), Mark Minichiello (Gold Coast Titans) and Ben Roberts (Melbourne Storm).

The retiring players ceremony will be a high point of a full day of entertainment, which will also include performances by international music acts Train and Slash.

From the moment fans arrive at ANZ Stadium they will enter a free Grand Final entertainment precinct, which from 11am will feature rides, team bars, food stalls, family-friendly activities and a merchandise marquee.

The Australian Women’s Touch team will kick off the day inside ANZ Stadium in their friendly match against the Media. The first decider will feature the New Zealand Warriors and the Brisbane Broncos in the 2014 Holden Cup Grand Final at 1:50pm, followed by the battle of the states in the 2014 inaugural NRL State Championship Grand Final between the Panthers and the Pride.

The Grand Final pre-match show will then take centre stage, lighting the stadium up with a spectacular pyrotechnic show and performances by from international US artists, Train and legendary guitarist, Slash. 

Train will perform a medley of their hits including ‘Hey Soul Sister’ and ‘Drops Of Jupiter’, as well as their new single ‘Angel In Blue Jeans’, taken from their new album Bulletproof Picasso. Slash will make a solo appearance to perform his new single ‘Bent To Fly’.

Simon Gleeson, lead act of legendary musical LES MISÉRABLES, will perform the national anthem to lead us into the much anticipated 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final.

All NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final tickets include travel on public transport to and from ANZ Stadium with major event travel services operating throughout the day and night.

Four special services will depart Sydenham and travel through Belmore and Bankstown and make a number of additional stops to take thousands of Bulldogs fans to Sydney Olympic Park, while a number of services will travel from Central, through Redfern and Strathfield for the masses of Rabbitohs supporters. 

For more information on Transport options please visit: http://www.transportnsw.info/sites/en/transport-status/events/2014/10/2014-NRL-Grand-Final.page or http://www.anzstadium.com.au/whats-on/2014/nrl-premiership-grand-final/

11:00am   Precinct opens 

1:25pm    ANZ Stadium gates open 

1:30pm    Australian Women’s Touch team v Media Touch Footy Game

1:50pm    2104 NRL Holden Cup U20’s Grand Final: New Zealand Warriors v Brisbane Broncos

3:50pm    2014 Inaugural NRL State Championship Grand Final: Penrith Panthers v Northern Pride

5:50pm     Live On-Field Coin Toss

6:10pm     2014 Victor Sports Grand Final Relay 

6:40pm     Retiring players tribute

6:50pm     Pre-Match Entertainment, including Slash, Train

7:20pm     National Anthem with Simon Gleeson (LES MISÉRABLES)

7:22pm     2014 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final Sydney Kick Off