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Illawarra Mercury

Grand final simply super

Date: 21/09/1997
Words: 240
          Publication: Illawarra Mercury
Section: Sport
Page: 26
Super if you were Brisbane centre Steve Renouf or a Bronco fan, not so super if you were a Cronulla Sharks supporter.

The elusive Renouf, the man known as "Pearl" grabbed a grand final hat-trick, one short of equalling the four-try record held by Souths' John Graves in 1951.

But how else can you describe something which has taken more than two years and $300 million to reach its grand finale?

"Rugby league doesn't get any better than this," enthused News Ltd executive chairman, Lachlan Murdoch, who is slightly biased.

A crowd of 58,912 - Brisbane's biggest and the largest to watch a grand final since 1977 and to attend a sporting event in this city since the 1982 Commonwealth Games - packed into every corner of ANZ Stadium just to be part of Queensland's historic first rugby league grand final.

And Brisbane, by far the best team all season, did not disappoint their faithful, clinching the club's third title in 10 years with a 26-8 win.

With tens of millions tuned in around the world, this was Super League's finest hour - or 80 minutes to be precise.

If only for a day, rugby league was back on top of the sporting heap.

Persistent rain, lightning, the threat of hail and some puzzling decisions by referee Bill Harrigan failed to crash Brisbane's biggest sporting party.

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