Croker’s miss: Wests Tigers survive after late Raiders kick sends Canberra packing out of 2010 finals series



The 2010 NRL Finals will forever be remembered as the season the St George Illawarra Dragons won their maiden premiership as a joint venture and the first title for long-suffering St George supporters since 1979 and the first taste of glory for former Steelers fans.

If it isn’t that – it is what happened in the opening round of the finals at the Sydney Football Stadium between the Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers.

In one of the greatest finals matches you could ever imagine; the Roosters and Wests Tigers went deep into the night with several moments etched into the memories of both clubs.

Simon Dwyer’s shot on Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

The push on the scrum for the Roosters to get the footy back.

Braith Anasta’s field goal.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s intercept to win the game in extra-time.

Forgotten in all this was 7th place Canberra’s shock 24-22 victory over the Panthers in Penrith which set them up for a home semi-final in week two against Wests Tigers.

Ticket sales in Canberra exploded and fans lined up before kick-off for more than three hours to get a seat.

The expectation was, the tired Wests Tigers were in trouble after their classic 100-minute marathon against the Chooks at the SFS, against the fairytale Raiders who were now on a seven-game winning streak.

Helping the Wests Tigers were the late inclusions of superstar Benji Marshall and eventual Kangaroo Chris Lawrence who broke his jaw just three weeks earlier.


While the deadly 2005 Wests Tigers were known for their small pack and incredible off the cuff play, this version also included hulking forwards like Keith Galloway, Gareth Ellis and Andrew Fifita. And it didn’t take long for the visitors to show their power when Galloway trampled Raiders defenders within seven minutes. A quick play-the-ball to Robbie Farah then saw him link with Robert Lui who changed direction and tossed a ball back across-field to a hot-handed Chris Heighington who quickly tipped to Marshall and after beating several defenders, served up a signature flick pass back to Heighington for the opening try of the night.


With the scores locked at 6-all, two of the great modern players extended Wests Tigers to 18-6 with Gareth Ellis running a perfect line to give the visitors the lead once more before Lote Tuqiri streaked away on a fifty-metre run after a trick shot play from a scrum inside Wests Tigers half.

Wests Tigers celebrate in Canberra


Canberra was roaring back late in the match and with gun half Terry Campese out of the contest with a serious knee injury, Raiders centre Jarrod Croker had a kick to equal the scores at 26 and send it into extra-time. From thirty metres back and twenty metres from touch, this was a goal Croker should have slotted. Instead, he hooked to the right.


Share this: