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Flashy, freakish, fabulous and... ultimately fruitless.

That's the unfortunate fate of memorable grand final tries lost in the gloom of defeat, like Rabbitoh Cody Walker's first-half dazzler from 30 metres out against the Panthers in Sunday's spectacular showpiece.

After taking a pass from his playmaking partner Adam Reynolds, the instinctive Walker stepped through a Kurt Capewell tackle, disposed of Nathan Cleary with a powerful fend and weaved past Dylan Edwards to etch his name in grand final folklore with a try for the ages.

Sadly for Walker, he also produced another pivotal moment in the second term when his long pass was swooped on by Stephen Crichton and the Panthers winger raced away for the game-clinching try.

After a gallant defensive effort that belied their two 50-point capitulations earlier in the season, the Rabbitohs eventually came up short and Walker's try was destined for the ranks of grand final pearlers that went unrewarded alongside these six beauties:

Stacey Jones 2002

The 2002 decider was still very much in the balance when the inspirational Warriors skipper took a pass off PJ Marsh and went exploring for a gap in a watertight Roosters defence that had given up nothing for the first 45 minutes.

With 38 metres between him and the tryline, Jones fooled Craig Wing with a dummy and then bamboozled Bryan Fletcher and Jason Cayless before dancing around fullback Luke Phillips to level the scores at 6-6 and give the Warriors belief they could upset the more fancied Roosters and make off with their first premiership.

In the end the Roosters ran away with the contest and the Warriors are still chasing that elusive title but the diminutive Jones had left an indelible mark on the decider.

Jones carves up the Roosters

Nathan Blacklock 1999

The man they call 'Tingha' hadn't enjoyed the happiest start to the big one but his sizzling solo effort through the heart of the Storm defence had to be seen to be believed.

When Melbourne No.7 Brett Kimmorley tried a chip over the top on the halfway line the last thing he expected was for Blacklock to attack the ball at a million miles an hour and use his blinding speed to take the ball 70 metres for the Dragons' second try.

A prolific tryscorer, Blacklock already had 23 four-pointers beside his name in the joint venture's debut season and his 24th showcased the rare blend of anticipation and athleticism that made him a cult hero among the Dragons Army.

At 14-0 the Dragons looked to have one hand on the trophy but the Glenn Lazarus-inspired Storm charged home in the second half to win 20-18 on the back of the famous penalty try awarded to Craig Smith.

Blacklock explodes through the Storm

Paul Sironen 1989

Big Sirro in full cry was a sight to behold... for everyone except Raiders lock Bradley Clyde, who was trying to stop the rampaging Tiger from 10 metres out.

The movement began on Balmain's side of halfway with Ben Elias scheming out of dummy half and finding Steve Roach whose cutout pass put Englishman Andy Currier away down the right touchline.

As he was being herded towards the sideline Currier kicked ahead and a wicked bounce eluded Raiders No.1 Gary Belcher and landed in the arms of James Grant, who had earlier opened the scoring for the Tigers.

Grant found Currier backing up and the centre offloaded to Sironen, who powered 22 metres to the line despite Clyde's best efforts to derail the runaway train.

Sironen in full flight is a sight to behold

History records that the Raiders came back from the dead to win in extra-time and Sironen's classic was destined to run a distant second to Steve Jackson's miraculous match-sealer for Canberra as the most famous try in a famous decider.

"It’s funny to have your best moment and your worst moment over a 14-year career in the one game but to score a try before half-time was probably one of the greatest moments of my career and then 50 minutes later in extra-time I just sat there and could feel the game slipping away," Sironen told in 2020.

Corey Oates 2015

On a balmy October night at ANZ Stadium it was the Broncos running hot early as a long range penalty goal to Corey Parker was followed up with a 90-metre try that started wth an Adam Blair offload and finished with Oates covering 65 metres in eight seconds flat to leave a posse of Cowboys in his wake.

Taking the odds to an offload just 10 metres out from his own line early in the tackle count, Blair found Anthony Milford in support and the five-eighth picked up 10 metres before sending the ball to centre Jack Reed.

Broncos strike from long range through Oates

Once Reed had delivered the ball to Oates it was a case of put down the glasses as the towering 20-year-old scorched the turf to rack up his 14th try of the season.

With 10 seconds to play in a pulsating grand final it seemed the Broncos had done enough but Michael Morgan's magical offload put Kyle Feldt in to tie the scores and Johnathan Thurston did the rest in golden point as the Cowboys claimed their maiden title.

"You don't get a script for every fairytale," Blair told Rugby League Week. "We have a lot of young boys that have never been here before, but they'll learn from this experience.

"We'll build next year and hopefully we'll get an opportunity to be here again."

Six years later, the wait goes on for the Broncos.

Chris Walker 2004

Combine Brad Fittler's speed between the ears with Chris Walker's speed over 15 metres and you've got the recipe for a ripper Roosters try.

Just 14 minutes into the '04 decider, 'Freddy' took the ball to the line and, rather than passing long or grubbering for the in-goal, he opted to pop the ball over the top with a delicate left foot chip kick.

Such was Fittler's mastery he was able to screw the kick away from the posts where Canterbury fullback Luke Patten was expecting the ball to come and the flying Walker caught it on the full and slid across for the game's opening try.

Canterbury forwards Willie Mason and Andrew Ryan could only look on in disbelief as the ball sailed over their heads and into the arms of the Roosters winger.

Fittler kicks for Walker

In the end it was another winger who would have the final say, with Hazem El Masri bagging the 100th try of his career in the 53rd minute to give Canterbury a 16-13 lead they never relinquished.

Fuifui Moimoi 2009

Cult heroes don't come much bigger than Fuifui Moimoi, whose 201 games across 11 seasons earned him a special place in the hearts of the Eels faithful.

After making an emotional charge from eighth place all the way to the grand final in 2009 the Eels looked to have finally hit the wall when they trailed the Storm 22-12 with eight minutes to play.

Fuifui Moimoi with an enormous effort

Enter big Fui with a destructive diagonal charge to the left hand corner which left Melbourne defenders strewn on the turf and gave Parra fans a whiff of a miracle.

A questionable penalty for a leg pull and a late Greg Inglis field goal would seal the Eels' fate but not before the Tongan torpedo had brought the house down.


The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.

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