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Can you remember your team’s last victory lap - and what’s the likelihood of them winning Grand Final anytime soon?

Roar Guru
8th February, 2024
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Roar Guru
8th February, 2024
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The 2024 season is rapidly approaching, and like every one that’s gone before, it will ultimately end in disappointment for the fans of every club but one, so it’s important to not only hang on to fond memories of premiership victories while you can, but also hope that more success is just around the corner.

Let’s quickly revisit the last time your club held the trophy aloft and consider the likelihood of them winning another premiership in the next decade.

Now obviously, if you support the Warriors, Titans or Dolphins you can probably switch to the Roar Cricket page right now, and Parramatta and Canberra fans under the age of 40 might also find something better to do, or perhaps find someone old enough to still remember the glorious 1980s and 1990s.

For the rest of you though, let’s hope the memory of your club’s last premiership success remains fresh in your mind, and that another victory is just around the corner.

Panthers – Let’s start with the elephant, or should I say the Panthers, in the room. Surely no Penrith fan will have forgotten a single minute of their club’s three consecutive victories, while I many Souths, Parramatta and Brisbane fans will be hoping that their own memories of those games fade sooner rather than later.

Premiership in the next decade? Unbackable odds, time for the Panthers to invest in a bigger trophy cabinet.

Roosters – Strangely, their fans will forever associate their most recent successes in 2018 and 2019 with one of Melbourne’s greatest ever players in Cooper Cronk, for without him it’s highly unlikely that they’d have won either decider. Cronk was a grand final specialist and was not only instrumental in getting the Roosters to the decider in both years, but his absence from the Melbourne team in 2018 certainly didn’t improve the Storm’s chances of winning back-to back premierships. Cronk is still off Cameron Smith’s Christmas card list.

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Premiership in the next decade? A safe bet, particularly while ever Uncle Nick has any brown paper bags left.

Storm – Melbourne’s last premiership was in 2020 when they were the last side to defeat Penrith in a grand final, thanks to a first-half blitz that saw them lead 22-0 at the break, and under the calm leadership of Cameron Smith, they withstood Penrith’s late comeback to win 26-20 with just 11 men on the field, as Jahrome Hughes and Brandon Smith watched on from the sin bin.

That was Cameron Smith’s last game, and perhaps he quietly closed Melbourne’s premiership window behind him as he left. Now, with super-coach Craig Bellamy’s imminent departure, perhaps the Storm may spend some considerable time in the premiership wilderness?

Premiership in the next decade? Hmmm maybe, as only the very foolish would ever write off the Storm.

Sharks – Four years earlier in 2016, Cronulla did the seemingly impossible and won their first title after a wait of 50 years, when they just shaded the Storm 14-12. The porch light was finally turned off thanks to a career-best performance from big Andrew Fifita who showed just what it takes to win a decider, if not a Clive Churchill Medal. With a solid roster and a clever coach in Craig Fitzgibbon, the Sharks just need to learn how to win finals games again.

Premiership in the next decade? I do like their chances as they are gaining momentum, but I’ve been wrong before.

Michael Ennis celebrates the try to Andrew Fifita during the 2016 NRL Grand Final. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

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Sea Eagles – It’s been just over a dozen years since Manly fans last watched their team run a victory lap when they downed the Warriors in the 2011 decider. Manly finished second on the table that year and breezed through the finals. Brett and Glenn Stewart both scored grand final tries and Daly Cherry-Evans was in the first year of his Manly tenure.

DCE would like another premiership ring before he retires, and if the past is an indicator of the future, he could well get his wish if he hangs around long enough, as Manly have won a premiership in every decade since winning their first four in the 1970s.

Premiership in the next decade? A safe bet, particularly if Turbo manages an injury-free season or two, and you can trust in the lessons of history.

Rabbitohs – Ask any Souths supporter and they’ll proudly tell you that they’re the greatest rugby league club of all time, having won the most premierships, blah blah blah, but gee it was a long time between their last two titles. After dominating the game in the late 1960s and early 1970s, they had to wait 44 years for their next premiership when they creamed Canterbury 30-6 in 2014, with lock Sam Burgess emulating the great Souths warrior in John Sattler when he bravely played the whole game with a broken face. Souths fans won’t want to wait another 44 years for their next title, but after letting club icon Adam Reynolds leave the club a couple of years ago, they’ve certainly gone backwards.

Premiership in the next decade? A ten to one chance at best but will blow out significantly when Cody Walker leaves.

Bulldogs – Speaking of Canterbury, they’ve got to go back 20 years to 2004 for their last premiership, so only fans of a certain age will recall that narrow victory over the Roosters. Canterbury’s forwards, including the likes of Andrew Ryan, Mark O’Meley, Roy Asotasi, Sonny Bill Williams and Clive Churchill Medal winner Willie Mason were the difference that day, and they’re going to need a far better pack of forwards than their current line-up if they hope to win another title anytime soon. Perhaps Gus Gould will recruit two or three Penrith forwards next year.

Premiership in the next decade? I don’t like their chances, nor the odds of coach Cameron Ciraldo seeing out his contract.

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Dragons – St George Illawarra nearly won a title in their inaugural season in 1999 but then had to wait until Wayne Bennett turned up to show them the way in 2010. No doubt they were aided to by the fact that the Storm weren’t playing for points that year, they just scraped in against the Tigers in the preliminary final thanks to a Jamie Soward field goal, but the grand final coaching showdown between Bennett and Brian Smith was never in doubt as Bennett doesn’t lose the games that count, and Smith doesn’t win them.

The Dragons haven’t looked like challenging again since Uncle Wayne departed, and I’m going to need pretty good health from here on in if I’m to see them win another premiership in my lifetime.

Premiership in the next decade? Don’t make me laugh, they’re still to hit rock-bottom, and just look at their recruitment this year.

Andrew Johns for the Knights

Knights Immortal Andrew Johns. (Getty Images)

Knights – Newcastle fans have to look all the way back to 2001 for any premiership joy when their greatest player in Andrew Johns led the team to victory against their more fancied opponents in Parramatta. The Eels didn’t handle their strong favoritism well and seemed shell-shocked as Newcastle ran in four unanswered first half tries to lead 24-0 at the break. Parramatta rallied in the second half, notching 24 points of their own in the last quarter, but it proved to be too little too late as the Knights won by six.

The Knights haven’t made it to a GF since, and there’s no reason to expect them to get there again anytime soon.

Premiership in the next decade? Odds of 20 to one for mine, unless Kalyn Ponga can finally show that he’s worth the huge money he’s on.

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Cowboys – North Queensland’s famous victory back in 2015 was a game of high drama, one that got away from Brisbane, and notable for key moments from opposing halfbacks in the Broncos’ Ben Hunt and North Queensland captain Johnathan Thurston. With just minutes to go and Brisbane in the lead, Ben Hunt was penalised for a lifting tackle and then had the ball stripped leading to Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt scoring a try to even the scores up right on full-time.

Thurston’s conversion attempt to win the game hit the upright to take the game to extra time, then Ben Hunt inexplicably dropped the Cowboys’ kick-off in extra time, handing over possession to the opposition for Thurston to then land the winning field goal. Cowboys coach Todd Peyton has a young and very talented squad at his disposal, and if they can just build a little more consistency, they could challenge for a title in the next few years.

Premiership in the next decade? A good bet, as they’re building a very useful squad up in FNQ.

Wests Tigers – After an eight-game winning streak in the latter half of the 2005 season, Wests looked to be fading after losing their last two games to Melbourne and Penrith, but they rallied strongly in the finals to dispose of the Cowboys, Broncos and Dragons to reach the merged club’s first grand final. After the Tigers put the Cowboys away to the tune of 50-6 in the qualifying final, it was expected that they’d easily repeat the dose in the decider, but the Cowboys got within eight points late in the match before Todd Payten sealed the win with a converted try right on full-time.

Much of Wests’ success that year as due to their exciting young spine in Brett Hodgson, Benji Marshall, Scott Prince and Robbie Farah, and perhaps the presence of Marshall and Farah in the coach’s box together with the imminent arrival of star five-eighth Jarome Luai will see them climb off the bottom of ladder soon?

Premiership in the next decade? Don’t hold your breath Tigers’ fans, as there’s no strong evidence yet that this club isn’t still a basket case.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: Ezra Mam of the Broncos celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the 2023 NRL Grand Final match between Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos at Accor Stadium on October 01, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Ezra Mam celebrates with teammates after scoring in the GF. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

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Broncos – Brisbane followed the Tigers to premiership glory in 2006 to take out their third NRL premiership in nine years, defeating a salary cap breaching Melbourne who were very strong favorites having lost just four games during the season and finishing with a points differential double that of the Broncos. It was a tight affair and with both sides scoring two tries, goal kicking proved the difference, with Darren Lockyer and Corey Parker landing three of their four attempts at goal, with Lockyer also landing a field goal late in the game, while both Melbourne tries went un-converted.

Premiership in the next decade? The Broncos are certainties, and if they can win one, they’re likely to win a couple.

Raiders – Just to put things into perspective, when Canberra won their last premiership in 1994 not only were Western Suburbs, Balmain, Illawarra, St George and the Gold Coast Seagulls still in the competition, but the North Sydney Bears finished second on the table and were just one game away from a grand final.

The Raiders lost their semi-final against Canterbury thanks to a Darryl Halligan field goal, but their star-studded side containing the likes of Brett Mullins, Laurie Daley, Ricky Stuart, Bradley Clyde and Mal Meninga, who was playing his last game, had far too much class for the Bulldogs when they met them in the decider, running in seven tries and winning by 36-12.

Premiership in the next decade? Not a chance, as everyone except Sticky knows that the Raiders are still on the downward slide.

Eels – If you’re old enough to remember Parramatta’s last win back in 1986, then you’ll also recall Kylie Minogue was still acting in Neighbours that year, Bob Hawke was Australia’s Prime Minister and Allan Border had the most prestigious job in the land as Australian cricket captain.

Parramatta celebrated the opening of their new home ground, Parramatta Stadium, by finishing the year as minor premiers, and came up against Canterbury in the decider, having already beaten them to the tune of 28-6 in the major semi-final. The grand final was a rough and tumble affair and points were at a premium, but Parramatta just crept over the line to win a try-less game by 4-2 to send club greats Mick Cronin and Ray Price out as winners.

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The Eels were the dominant side during the early eighties, but they fell right off the cliff after the 1986 decider and didn’t play finals football again for the next decade.

Premiership in the next decade? If any team’s due for a premiership it’s the Eels, but I’m afraid that the computer says “no”.

Titans, Warriors, & Dolphins – Obviously, none of these clubs have won the competition yet although the Warriors actually made it to the grand final in both 2002 and 2011. The Warriors remain winless after 28 seasons, the Titans haven’t even looked like making a grand final since their entry into the competition in 2007, and the Dolphins only joined the fray last season.

Premiership in the next decade? Very, very unlikely, but I’d be prepared to bet that the Dolphins win a premiership before either the Titans or the Warriors.

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