The Greatest NRL Grand Final Ever. Lesson Number One: The Tide Can Always Turn

Last Sunday evening I had the opportunity to attend the Grand Final match of the NRL [National Rugby League (of Australia)] season.

The game was played between the two teams that finished first and second during the regular season and these two teams were far and away the best two teams of the seventeen teams that competed throughout the season.

The team that finished first, the Penrith Panthers, were the season Premiers for 2021 and 2022, and were chasing a third straight Premiership title, a feat not seen for forty years, and a feat made very difficult to achieve because of salary-cap restrictions [spending restrictions] placed on each team in an effort to help spread the talent [of players] more evenly throughout the competition.

The team that the Panthers were to play was the Brisbane Broncos, who had finished equal first, but second on points differentials. The Broncos had been a very successful team twenty and thirty years ago, but had not won a premiership for some sixteen years.

The Broncos team was very talented, and the game was expected to be a cracker of a contest.

And it was.

After leading the Broncos 8-6 at half-time, the Panthers came back from a deficit of 24-8 with 18 minutes to play to win the match 26-24 in the final three minutes.

This was the biggest comeback ever seen in the history of Rugby League Grand Finals.

The result left all spectators, commentators and journalists wondering what exactly they had just witnessed.

With eighteen minutes to play, nobody in the ground believed that in a game of this intensity, the tide could turn against a team that had taken the half-time score from 6-8 to 24-8.

At 24-8, the whole crowd believed that the Broncos would just go on with the slaughter of the Panthers and show no mercy.

Everybody in the ground believed that at that point, with eighteen minutes to go, it was “goodnight Irene” for the Panthers.

The trouble was, nobody told the Panthers players that the game was over for them…

Lesson Number One: The Tide Can Always Turn

At the sixty-two minute mark, the Panthers’ captain, Nathan Cleary with football in hand, took an inside line towards a Broncos forward who was anticipating a pass from Cleary. Cleary motioned to pass the football to the support player that the Broncos defender was trying to cover. With that motion from Cleary, the Broncos defender created a yawning gap for Cleary to run through and then pass to an unmarked teammate Moses Leota, who raced over for a try.

And now the deficit had been reduced from sixteen points to ten points.

Ten points in an NRL Grand Final is still a very healthy lead to have, but the momentum shift towards the Panthers that began to stir as a result of that Leota touchdown, was enough to raise the players’ spirits and lift their energy at a point in the game when nothing seemed to be happening for them.

In your life, in your business….

In your life, in your business, do you ever feel that no matter what you try, sometimes everything just goes south, and nothing seems to go right for you?

Until one day, at one point in your life, something does happen and the universe moves for you, and all of a sudden, you’re on a different course, headed to where you wanted to go and where you thought you should be going….

When that event does happen, and the planets align and the winning cards are received, the results are truly magical.

And it does occur.

The tide can turn.

And when the tide does turn, those who are there and are still competing, will rise to glory and victory.

Those who have quit, who have packed up their bat and ball and gone home, will never know that exhilaration of victory and that sweet, sweet taste of success.

I’m reminded of the quote written by William Hutchison Murray:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

If you want things to change, if you want things to get better, you must be committed to that change, and whatever it takes to achieve that change.

You must be committed to achieving the end result.

Hope is not a good strategy.

Belief and self-belief, and commitment, will always triumph over hope.

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