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1993 grand final rewind: Benny's brilliant Broncos go back-to-back

In the latest instalment in a series of fresh looks back at the grand finals of yesteryear, revisits the 1993 decider between a star-studded Broncos outfit chasing back-to-back titles and a St George team out to make amends for a loss the previous year. has gone into the vault to find footage of the grand finals from the pre-NRL era dating back to 1966 and will be showcasing these games, including a full replay, a mini version, match highlights and great moments from these memorable encounters.

Having collected the club's maiden premiership in 1992 with a dazzling 28-8 win over St George at the SFS, the Broncos returned in '93 looking to go back-to-back and again their opponents were the men in the famous Red V.

The Dragons had finished the regular season in second place and advanced to the big dance courtesy of convincing wins over Canberra and Canterbury.

The defending champs had come from fifth, surviving sudden-death clashes against Manly, Canberra and Canterbury to move into their second successive grand final.

After Tina Turner brought the crowd to its feet with a sensational pre-game rendition of the league anthem 'Simply The Best' it was down to business and the Dragons had the worst possible start when prop Jason Stevens suffered a horrific thumb injury in the opening exchanges.

The 20-year-old had enjoyed a fine season for St George and was a key part of their plans to combat Brisbane's powerful pack but it was over in the blink of an eye as Stevens badly dislocated his thumb and left the field in agony.

With Glenn Lazarus, Mark Hohn, Alan Cann and Trevor Gillmeister laying the platform it was only a matter of time before Brisbane's backline clicked into gear and it was Kevin Walters who left Tony Priddle and David Barnhill grasping at thin air to set up Chris Johns for the opening try.

Walters was at it again when he laid on a sweet inside ball for Terry Matterson to score and make it 10-0 for Brisbane.

A penalty goal to Ian "Chook" Herron in the shadows of half-time pulled the Saints back to within eight and two more penalty goals after the break made it 10-6 and the Dragons were well and truly in the hunt with 18 minutes to go.

Full Match Replay: Dragons v Broncos - Grand Final, 1993

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After such a tight tussle the decisive try to Broncos winger Willie Carne seemed almost too easy as Herron raced in off his wing to try and shut down Andrew Gee but the interchange foward got a ball out to Carne who crossed in the right hand corner untouched.

Brisbane became the fourth team in a decade to claim back-to-back premierships, following on from Parramatta (1981, '82, '83), Canterbury (1984-85) and Canberra (1989-90).

Tina Turner gets in on the celebration with the Brisbane Broncos.
Tina Turner gets in on the celebration with the Brisbane Broncos.

Play of the day

The Broncos' backline boasted Allan Langer, Kevin Walters, Steve Renouf, Julian O'Neill and Chris Johns but it was one of their hard-working forwards who delivered the final pass for the match-sealing try. Andrew Gee's composure and skill were on show as he got a perfect ball away to Willie Carne for his 17th try of the season.

Carne gets another Broncos try

Best player

Dragons back-rower Brad Mackay grabbed a little piece of history when he became the second player after Canberra's Brad Clyde in 1991 to win the coveted Clive Churchill Medal in a beaten side.

Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans (2013) and Raider Jack Wighton (2019) have since joined that group of players who would no doubt swap their personal medal glory for a premiership shared with their mates.

Mackay was a constant threat scouting wide in attack and worked his heart out in defence and was a deserving winner of the Churchill while Kevin Walters stood out for the Broncos with two superb try assists in the first half.

Match Highlights: Dragons v Broncos

The quote

"The virus really came to a head through Saturday night. On Sunday morning he was a very crook little bloke. The virus was in his throat and and upper chest and he struggled in those vital last few hours before kick-off. For him to play as he did, and lead the boys like he did, suffering as he was, just typifies what a fierce competitor the guy is." - Broncos trainer Kelvin Giles revealing the duress Allan Langer was under during the grand final.

The what-if moment

Given how even the match was for 65 minutes and how bravely the Dragons forwards fought, the loss of Stevens so early was a hammer blow. Had Stevens been on hand to battle Lazarus and co then perhaps the result could have been different.

Remarkably, 18 hours after the game, as he sat alone in hospital, Stevens told Rugby League Week that no-one from the club had checked on his welfare. "I've haven't had any contact except from my family. As far as I know, no-one from the club has called to see how I am and no-one has been in. I'm dirty that no-one cared."

Kevvie sets up Johns

Unsung hero

No-frills Broncos lock Terrry Matterson was long odds to take his place in the side after dislocating his shoulder in the preliminary final against Manly just a week earlier. Not only did he play but Matterson scored a crucial try and got through a power of defence as Brisbane kept the Dragons tryless.

Matterson underwent a shoulder reconstruction a week after the decider so he could be ready for the '94 campaign.

Matterson on the inside

The following year

After winning five of their first six matches to sit second on the ladder St George lost seven of their next eight. They finished the year with just nine wins and finished 11th.

The Broncos again finished fifth and got through week one of the finals against Manly before being knocked out by North Sydney 15-14 in an epic minor semi.

Extended Highlights: Dragons v Broncos

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