Kenny Nagas’ first try in the 1994 grand final is mostly remembered as part of the Paul Osbourne story. That’s how grand finals are. The result determines the story, and the story lives on forever. For Raiders fans that means the moments that are always remembered are Steve Jackson dragging all of Balmain on his journey to legend. Or Big Mal’s fist pump after his intercept and try consecrated his immortality. Unfortunately it means some amazing moments don’t get discussed as much as they should.
But moments like Kenny’s stunning step of Bulldogs fullback Scott Wilson need to be talked about. Look at it, he broke his freaking ankles and changed his direction by 45 degrees in a single movement. It might not be Steve Jackson or Chicka Ferguson scoring. It might not be Mal’s outstretched hand somehow stopping Mick O’Neil. But they matter, so I decided to write some of them down.
Before we get cracking, this list is obviously not exhaustive. I started thinking about it earlier in the day while watching highlights of Kenny stepping Wilson. So if I missed your favourite, I’m sorry. The lesson is, as always, that I’m an idiot.
1. Kenny breaking ankles
It’s smoother than Marvin Gaye wrapped in silk and dipped in honey. Then add the fact that he causally swings the ball hand to hand while basically chilling his way to the line, and you’ve got a supremely cool moment in Raiders history (Shouts to Raiders twitter legend and one time Sportress contributor Dave (Mesut_Ausil) for pointing out that second part). It’s the second try Ossie sets up, and basically confirms the Canberra dominance of the game, following the early Furner try and Mal Meninga eating Terry Lamb’s soul.
2. Mal and Noah change roles
Mal was renowned for a lot of things. Running over people. Running through people. Dragging people with him wherever he went, like suckerfish stuck to a whale. But people sometimes forget how skilled he was. Noah, on the other hand, is remembered as a speedster, but he was also powerful. In this try from the 1994 grand final they play opposite roles, Meninga with quick hands and Noah running over his opposite like the too-big-kid in junior footy.
Shouts another legend of Raiders twitter, @stackerofdays , for that gem.
3. Sticky’s pass in 1990
Look at this glorious thing. It’s magnificent. I’m 100 per cent certain the reason Ferguson didn’t catch it on the full was that he wanted to appreciate it fully. And it resulted in a try for Chicka, mirroring his ’89 meat pie.
3. Laurie Daley kicking the ball back off the kick off in 1990
You can see the footage here. The game these days is so focused on possession. It’s fun to travel back to a time where teams would randomly kick the ball away because sometimes it was thought better not to have it. Like kicking duels. How good were kicking duels.
Ok this is just for me. Everyone remembers the Chicka try. Everyone remembers the Jackson try. Sometimes I reckon people forget Badge going over. And that was the first try, the one that made me believe that the impossible was possible.
5. The way Boxhead jumps when Chicka scores in ‘89
So much to like about it. The height. Four limbs. The repeated jumps. The sadness on Bruce Macguire’s face.
6. The ten minutes of heaven in ‘90
The 1990 grand final is forgotten a lot. It wasn’t the breakthrough of 1989, nor the coronation of 1994. But there’s ten minutes of beauty in there, where suddenly it looks like the future has come to 1990.
7. John Lomax wears jeans
There’s a moment after the 1984 where Laurie is being interviewed with John Lomax, infamously suspended for the grand final. Instead of saying how important the big guy was to the whole shebang, Daley says something along the lines of “I feel so sorry for him [Lomax].” Loz was just trying to say how important John had been but you could tell on Lomax’s face that it hadn’t hit the mark. At all.
Another of those weird things you remember was Lomax’s jeans. His jeans just looked odd. I don’t know why. I can’t remember what I did yesterday, but I remember those jeans.
8. Jack scores
It didn’t how we wanted it to, and maybe if it did this moment would be remembered more fondly. But like Badge’s try in ’89, this was the moment I started to believe.
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