Decade to remember: Parker's top 10 moments of the '90s
The decade had absolutely everything, but as part of Fox League's Retro Round, former Brisbane Broncos skipper COREY PARKER has narrowed down his absolute top 10 favourite moments of the 1990s
1. WHAT A PEARLER
WHEN the Broncos made the grand final in 1992, it was massive.
Like every kid growing up in southeast Queensland my favourite team was the Broncos. I remember watching the 1992 grand final dressed in all my Broncos gear and cheering the boys on as they gave it to the Dragons.
But the moment of the grand final for me was when Steve Renouf broke away down the touchline late in the game.
"The Pearl" was one of the quickest players in the game and he absolutely set the touchline alight. Ricky Walford started making up some ground on him late, but when Renouf crashed over the line, everyone in Brisbane knew the premiership was ours.
I remember watching that try and for the first time in my life I knew I wanted to play for the Broncos one day.
2. SOMETHING SUPER THIS WAY COMES
I REMEMBER hearing about the Super League concept and being excited by it straight away. It was the promise of rock stars and the game's best going head-to-head each and every week.
The fact the Broncos were joining the breakaway competition made it even more exciting. People can say what they like about Super League, but for me it's something that needed to happen.
It changed the game completely and allowed players to become full-time professionals.
The Super League grand final between the Broncos and Sharks at ANZ Stadium in 1997 was the first time a grand final had been played at night and the atmosphere was incredible.
3. MAL'S FAREWELL
MAL Meninga was a real hero of mine, growing up in Queensland, and to see him bow out of the game with a grand final win and try was incredible.
That Raiders side in 1994 will go down as one of the greatest club teams of all time. From the time Martin Bella dropped the ball off the kick-off, you knew it was going to be the Raiders' day.
When Mal took that intercept, everyone in the stadium stood up and cheered him home. Jarrod McCracken tried his best to chase him down, but there was no denying "Big Mal".
4. COYNE MAGIC IN ORIGIN '94
I STILL don't know how Queensland managed to win game one of the 1994 State of Origin series. Down by four points with less than a minute to play, the Maroons spread the ball through Alfie Langer and Kevvie Walters out to the wing and Renouf, who made a bit of a break.
As the ball started making its way infield, you could see the space start to open up. When Mal got his hands on the ball you thought he might have had a crack himself, but he passed it to Mark Coyne, who somehow managed to beat three or four Blues players to score.
That try really reinforced Queensland's never-say-die attitude and will be remembered as one of the best comebacks of all time.
5.STORM SEALER IN SECOND SEASON
THE 1999 NRL grand final had it all - Hugh Jackman singing the national anthem, more than 100,000 people in the stands and one of the craziest finishes to a grand final the game has produced.
The Dragons looked home at half-time after going up 14-nil, but the Storm refused to give in and worked their way back into the game with two quick tries. With the game in the balance, Brett Kimmorley put up a cross-field kick for Craig Smith, who caught the ball but dropped it when trying to put it down after being hit high by Jamie Ainscough.
I think everyone who watched the match thought it should have been a penalty try, but it took a massive amount of courage to award it. I felt for Ainscough when the decision was given, but it was the right one and the Storm won their first premiership in just their second year.
6. ALBERT THE WHITE KNIGHT
HAS there been a bigger fairytale story in rugby league than Darren Albert's try in the 1997 ARL grand final?
Manly went into the game as the hot favourite but Newcastle just refused to back down. Paul Harragon and Mark Carroll were incredible and went hammer and tongs the entire match.
I thought the Knights had stolen the match when Matty Johns went for a field goal late in the game, but it hit the upright and the scores remained at 16-all. Then, as time ticked down and everyone thought the game was going to head to overtime, Andrew Johns came up with one of the biggest plays in league history.
"Joey" had played the game with a punctured lung, but mustered the energy to get out of dummy-half, shoot down the short side and then link with Albert, who went over untouched. The scenes after the match were incredible.
7. BULLDOGS SNATCH IT
ONE thing that is forgotten about Canterbury's overtime semi-final win over Parramatta in 1998 is just how close the Bulldogs had gone to missing the finals altogether. If it wasn't for a one-point win over the Illawarra Steelers in the last round of the season, the Dogs would have missed the (then five-week) playoffs completely.
They then beat the Dragons, Bears and Knights to set up a showdown against the Eels with the winner to play Brisbane. Parramatta had control of the match and was leading 18-2 with 10 minutes to go, but that's when things started to go pear-shaped for the Eels.
The Dogs rallied and crossed for three late tries - through Craig Polla-Moutner, Rod Silva and Willie Talua - to bring them within two points, and when Darryl Halligan nailed a conversion from the sideline the scores were locked up. The Dogs owned the overtime period and went on to win one of the craziest finals ever seen.
8. BACK-TO-BACK BRONCOS
THE party after the Broncos won the 1992 grand final was massive. I remember turning on the TV and seeing people flock to the airport to welcome the Broncos home.
After their win in 1992 I think most Broncos fans expected the boys to win the comp easily in 1993, but injuries and Origin took their toll and the Broncos finished fifth after the home and away rounds.
No side had won a comp from fifth and when the Broncos lost Renouf on the eve of the finals it looked like their season was done and dusted. The Broncos, however, rallied to win three consecutive knock-out finals against Manly, Canberra and the Bulldogs to make the grand final.
The Dragons were the team to beat all season, and out for revenge after losing to the Broncos in 1992, but Langer and Kevin Walters turned it on and the Broncos didn't concede a try in a tough 14-6 victory.
9. THE MCG BRAWL OF '95
IF THE infamous brawl of Origin II, 1995 happened today, the game would have to be abandoned because everyone would be in the sin bin!
After Queensland won game one of the series 2-0, the Blues came out firing in game two. I remember all the TV and newspaper reports saying there was going to be a fight in the opening minutes of game two, but I don't think anyone thought it would be as big as it turned out to be. As soon as the first scrum was packed it was on.
I remember David Barnhill and Billy Moore throwing a thousand punches at each other, with only one or two connecting, and then Matty Sing found himself toe-to-toe with John Hopoate.
There wasn't a player on the field not involved in the fight. It was one of a kind and something we're unlikely to see again.
10. STUART THE KANGAROOS SAVIOUR
I REMEMBER waking up early to watch the second Test of the 1990 Kangaroos Tour.
Great Britain had won the first Test and looked like taking the second after Ricky Stuart threw an intercept pass that led to a Paul O'Loughlin try. With the scores locked at 10-all and the series slipping away, Stuart got the ball 20m out from his own line and slid through the Great Britain defence.
With the cover defence converging on him, Stuart was looking for support and found it in his club and national captain Mal Meninga.
Meninga had bullied his way through the Great Britain defence to be in the perfect position to receive the pass from Stuart and crash over the line to give the Kangaroos the win.