We look at the nine British players who have on to be part of NRL Grand Final-winning teams.
After two years with Bradford, Burgess finally made the journey to the NRL in 2013 to play alongside brothers Sam and George at South Sydney. It took a couple of seasons for him to firmly establish his place in the first-grade side but just like his siblings – he would feature in 2014 NRL Grand Final, coming off the bench in the famous Rabbitohs win. The 27-year-old twin has gone on to become a integral ingredient in the Bunnies forward pack over the course of his seven years with the club.
The Rabbitohs second-rower tasted NRL glory in his first-ever Grand Final appearance in 2014 and what followed was a performance and game to remember for Slammin’ Sam. The England international put together one of the grittiest displays in an NRL Grand Final after breaking his cheekbone right at the start of the game. He actually stayed on the field and inspired the Bunnies to their first title in 43 years. It was an effort which earned him the Clive Churchill Medal for his man of the match display. The game itself was close for the most part until South Sydney were able to run away with the game in the final ten minutes to claim a 30-6 victory.
During the course of the 1950s and 60s, one team that stood above the rest in Australian rugby was the St George Dragons who won a record 11 major honours between 1956 and 1966. Despite missing the 1964 and 1965 finals, the powerful Whitehaven second-rower was a big factor in their 1966 NSWRL win over Balmain in which he would score a try in a 23-4 win. Between 1964 and 1968, Huddart made 78 appearances and scored 16 tries. Throughout his career, he developed a reputation as a strong defender as well as proving to be dangerous and agile with the ball in his hand.
After five years with Leeds, Morley made his way Down Under after signing with the Sydney Roosters in 2000. The former Great Britain international suffered some teething problems in his first couple of years with the club before becoming a vital cog in a Chooks side that went on to win the 2002 NRL title after beating New Zealand Warriors 30-8, claiming their first title in 27 years. The former Bradford and Warrington enforcer went on to play in another two Grand Finals for the Tri-Colours but would come up short both times.
The former Wigan half-back is one of only a few British players to win titles in England and Australia. After 11 seasons with his hometown club, Bolton made the switch to Balmain and started in both the 1966 and 1969 NSWRL Grand Finals, winning on his second attempt. In a time where drop goals were worth two points, Bolton was said to be an efficient and prolific kicker of them, using the trait to his advantage when he slotted two in Balmain’s Grand Final win over South Sydney in 1969.
The 27-year-old joined the Rabbitohs in 2012, a year after older brother Sam, and quickly adjusted to life within the NRL as his huge motor and sheer size became a nuisance for his opponents on a regular basis. The bulldozing prop then became a pivotal aspect in Souths’ 2014 title-winning season and he even started the Grand Final ahead of twin brother Tom, scoring one of the great Grand Final tries. With the score 6-6 after 55 minutes, Burgess made his mark on the game after shrugging and fending off four Canterbury defenders to score under the posts. The moment itself seemingly ignited Souths as they scored another three tries in the final 10 minutes to seal the Grand Final win.
To put it quite simply, Fulton was a legend of the Australian game but despite representing both New South Wales and Australia on a number of occasions, Fulton was born in Warrington before going on to become one of the elite players the sport had seen during the 1960s and 1970s. As a member of the Sea Eagles, the five-eighth won three NSWRL championships in 1972, 1973 and 1976 in what was a dominant era for the Northern Beaches side. The Manly legend’s career was further recognised in 1985 when he was selected as one of the original Immortals of the Australian Rugby League alongside Clive Churchill, Reg Gasnier and John Raper.
Before making his way over to St George Illawarra Dragons in 2014, Widdop played for Melbourne Storm between 2010 and 2013 where he started the 2012 Grand Final at stand-off and set up his side’s first try of the game with a beautiful short ball to Ryan Hoffman. The Storm eventually went on to win 14-4 and Widdop would claim NRL honours for the first and probably only time as he makes the move to Warrington for the start of the 2020 Super League season.
Another member of a Manly side that dominated Australian rugby league in the 1970s . The former Castleford loose forward was as intimidating as he was creative and played alongside the likes of Graham Eadie, Ken Irivne and Fulton in Manly’s back-to-back Grand Final wins in 1972 and 1973. Although he may have proved to be somewhat of a controversial figure at times, his attacking and defensive prowess were undeniable and he would even go on to coach Newcastle to their first title win 1997.