Home' Hunter Its People : Hunter-Glory Days June 2012 Contents RDA Hunter links regional community members
and businesses to government to help create a
sustainable future for the Hunter.
RDA Hunter's key roles are to:
· Provide support for informed regional planning
· Consult and engage with regional communities
· Liaise with all levels of government and local communities
· Contribute to business growth plans and investment strategies
For more information visit www.rdahunter.org.au | firstname.lastname@example.org | +61 2 4908 7300
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words “You don’t get sent off in grand fnals”. Harragon
terrorised Manly in the opening 20 minutes and left them
spent towards the end as the Knights climbed on an
emotional tidal wave that dragged them to 16-all when
man-of-the-match Robbie O’Davis stretched out to score in
the 74th minute and Johns converted.
As time ran down three feld goal attempts by the
Knights missed their mark, but as the third was charged
down, Mark Hughes regathered to give the Knights one
Everyone alive in Newcastle and the Hunter at the time
knows what happened next, but Neil Jameson captured
the moment in the Newcastle Herald magazine Joey: The
Andrew Johns Story, published in May, 2001, to mark
Johns’ retirement from the game.
“The clock clicked into the 79th minute as Matty Johns
positioned himself in centre feld mentally rehearsing what
would be his next shot at feld goal and Newcastle’s last
chance in normal time. But, wait, what was his brother
doing racing in to dummy half as Darren Albert stood to
play the ball on the last tackle? Only Joey knew. He tapped
the winger on the back and said, ‘Stay alive!’ Everybody at
the Sydney Football Stadium – from the ball boys to the bar
staff – knew that the ball had to go left to Matty. Instead,
Andrew came out of a crouch, holding the pill in front of
him, and darted right down the blind side.
“What the hell is he doing?” chorused 40,000 fans
inside the ground and millions watching on television.
“Manly’s exhausted left-side defenders had been as
certain as everyone else that the ball was heading infeld.
They had knocked off for the afternoon. Andrew had read
it in their body language and now he was running where
they least expected. He dummied once to the outside to
commit a defender and then looked back inside. Albert
had heeded the ‘stay alive’ command and was on his toes
trailing the halfback. The pass travelled the brief distance
to the winger’s safe grasp.
“The gap could have been as wide as Sydney Heads.
People watched, mouths agape in disbelief, as the fair-
haired bloke in red and blue slammed the ball down and
leapt in jubilation.
“Six seconds remained on the clock.”
Johns kicked the conversion. Newcastle 22, Manly 16.
It wasn’t until a few days after the victory that Johns
revealed he had played the grand fnal with three broken
“If I get killed tomorrow, I’ll die a happy man,” two-try
hero and Clive Churchill Medallist Robbie O’Davis told
a national television audience glued to their screens at
“So many circumstances made that grand fnal
something very, very special,” Harragon said years later,
reminiscing about the victory. “It was the 200-year
bicentenary of the town. We were against a team we
hadn’t beaten in years. They’d fogged us. There was
another team in Newcastle, the Hunter Mariners with
Super League, and that had a lot of people arguing.
“The BHP was shut, jobs were gone, but all of a sudden
we made the grand fnal and people were up. There was
this massive surge of energy and all this momentum
behind us because an entire city was behind us.
“The emotion was something I’ll never forget. Just
the looks in the eyes of all these people. It was quite an
amazing, uplifting experience. People in Newcastle can still
tell you where they were and what they were doing when
we got up”.
Prop Tony Butterfeld years later told reporter Will
Swanton that Albert’s try encapsulated the promise held
by grand fnals. One moment that will never be forgotten.
“You can get a split second which can make history,”
he said. “It was a seminal moment for Newcastle and for
Newcastle won the premiership again in 2001, beating
Parramatta 30-24 after leading 24-nil at halftime, but
there’s never another time like the frst time.
MEMORIES OF VICTORY
The team: Robbie O’Davis, Darren Albert, Mark Hughes, Owen Craigie, Adam MacDougall, Matthew Johns, Andrew
Johns, Marc Glanville, Adam Muir, Wayne Richards, Paul Harragon (C), Bill Peden, Tony Butterfeld.
Res: Troy Fletcher, S Conley, Stephen Crowe, L Jackson.
The coach: Malcolm Reilly.
The result: Newcastle 22 (R O’Davis 2, D Albert tries; A Johns 5 goals) d Manly 16
(J Hopoate, C Innes, S Nevin tries; S Nevin 2 goals).
The crowd: 42,482. The referee: David Manson. Clive Churchill Medal winner: Robbie O’Davis.
“The gap could have been as wide as
Sydney Heads. People watched, mouths
agape in disbelief . . .”
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