The Penrith Panthers have become the 2021 NRL premiers, after defeating the South Sydney Rabbitohs at a historic grand final at Suncorp Stadium.
The nailbiter of a match saw the teams separated by just two points at halftime, with the Rabbitohs working hard to keep back some ferocious attacks from the Panthers side.
An intercept by Panthers’ Stephen Crichton saw him power down the field for a try in the second, scoring them the victory.
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FULL-TIME. 1991. 2003. 2021.
— Penrith Panthers (@PenrithPanthers) October 3, 2021
Father and son duo, Ivan and Nathan Cleary, held the Provan-Summons trophy for the first time since Martin and John Lang in 2003.
Coach Ivan Cleary says it was even more special to share the win with his son, who also took out the Clive Churchill medal.
“When the siren went and I saw him out there, it was all about.. yeah.. he’s still my boy,” Cleary said in the post-game interview.
Nathan Cleary says any of his teammates could have won the medal, but it’s a moment he’ll never forget.
“It was unbelievable, it’s a lot more than just the Clive Churchill Medal, I thought a number of people could’ve got it from our side.
“But just to be able to win a premiership with Dad, especially the way it started off,” Nathan said.
There was plenty of excitement both on and off the field overnight.
Panther’s winger Brian To’o proposed to his partner at the end of the game, and she said yes!
While fans back home in Penrith, Sydney, flooded the streets in celebrations, cars were seen doing burnouts, many turned out at the clubhouse and some even went to Jarome Luai’s family home.
Unfortunately, some of the celebrations allegedly turned violent later in the night, with police expected to hand out a number of infringements.
The Panthers team is understood to be back on the Sunshine Coast for their celebrations now.
For the Rabbitohs, it was coach Wayne Bennet’s last game with the club, but he insists that his coaching days aren’t done yet.
He’s hinted that a number of options are still on the table.
— NRL (@NRL) October 3, 2021