1999 Grand Final: The Call of the Millennium

Title:
1999 Grand Final: The Call of the Millennium
NFSA ID:
428413
Year:
1999
Courtesy:
Nine NetworkNational Rugby LeagueIMG
Category:
Access fees

In 1999, the Melbourne Storm were competing in the NRL for only their second season. They started well, winning 8 of their first 11 games and finished third on the ladder, but were beaten convincingly by the St George-Illawarra Dragons 34–0 in the quarter finals. They managed to scrape through to the grand final after narrow victories over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (24–22) and the Parramatta Eels (18–16). Nevertheless, St George were red hot favourites to take the title.

The score at half-time was 14–0 to the Dragons and they understandably seemed to have the premiership in the bag. Nothing seemed to be going right for the Storm but early in the second half the momentum swung their way following a fumble over the try line by Dragons player Anthony Mundine. The Storm piled on 14 points, keeping their hopes alive.

With the score 18–14 to the Dragons and only minutes left in the game, one of the most dramatic moments in any grand final occurred. Ten metres out from the Dragons' try line, Storm halfback Brett Kimmorley kicked high to the opposite corner. Storm winger Craig Smith raced through and caught the ball on the full over the try line. He only had to place the ball on the ground to score the winning try. But as he did so, Dragons centre Jamie Ainscough took Smith in a head high tackle, causing Smith to fumble the ball. Referee Harrigan had little choice but to refer the incident to the video ref. After reviewing the footage, Harrigan heard the video ref through his earpiece say, 'This is going to be the call of the millennium'. The Storm were awarded a penalty try and, effectively, the premiership.