2023 NRL: Best Grand Final Comeback Crowns Panthers Three-Peat Champions

Penrith are the first triple premiers in 40 years led by Clive Churchill Medallist Nathan Cleary.


Penrith has sealed a premiership hat-trick after an astonishing NRL Grand Final comeback win at Homebush.

Penrith lead 8-0 before Thomas Flegler scored just before half-time. Then an Ezra Mam hat-trick – in a 10 minute second half burst – gave the Broncos a 24-8 lead with 24 minutes left. Penrith’s reign looked over.

But this champion team wasn’t done yet, with Moses Leota, Stephen Crichton, and Clive Churchill Medallist Nathan Cleary scoring to give Penrith a two point lead, with Cleary’s 29th minute penalty goal (along with his three conversions) proving crucial. It was Cleary’s second Clive Churchill in three seasons (winning in 2021). It was one of the biggest grand final comebacks since 1999, when Melbourne trailed 14-0.

It’s the first premiership hat-trick since Parramatta (1981-83) and surely cements the Panthers as the most dominant team in the NRL era. And the game itself was up there with 1989, 1997 (ARL), 2003, and 2015 as one of the greatest grand finals ever.

Despite the loss, Brisbane can be proud of their season, rising from the 2020 wooden spoon to a grand final.

It sealed a sad grand final weekend for Queensland football teams: the Brisbane Lions lost to Collingwood in the AFL Grand Final, the Brisbane (Eastern Suburbs) Tigers lost to South Sydney in the NRL State Championship, and the Gold Coast Titans lost to Newcastle in the NRLW Grand Final.

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Telstra National Rugby League Premiership 2023

Accor Stadium15 Edwin Flack Ave, Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127, Australia
October 1, 202319:30
26 - 24
Final Score
TeamTriesGoalsFG2pt FGPoints
Game Statistics


Player Jersey T G FG 2FG Minutes Played Run Metres Post Contact Metres Line Breaks Try Assists Offloads Tackles Missed Tackles 40/20 20/40 Errors Sin Bin Sent Off
Dylan Edwards1000080306730016000000
Sunia Turuva2000080145390009400000
Izack Tago30000721443400117400000
Stephen Crichton4110080108311009100000
Brian To’o5000080180560005400000
Jarome Luai600005147400115100000
Nathan Cleary7140080167721318710000
Moses Leota81000471634500019300000
Mitch Kenny9100080206001351000000
James Fisher-Harris100000581704000127500000
Scott Sorensen1100006757700127600000
Liam Martin12000080721300137500000
Isaah Yeo130000671443800130200000
Jack Cogger140000296930008200000
Lindsay Smith15000046812100025500000
Spencer Leniu16000022512000015200000
Luke Garner1700002164180009000000
Tyrone Peachey1800000000000000000
Total 4500104019884553111311611000 


Player Jersey T G FG 2FG Minutes Played Run Metres Post Contact Metres Line Breaks Try Assists Offloads Tackles Missed Tackles 40/20 20/40 Errors Sin Bin Sent Off
Reece Walsh1000080133142112300300
Jesse Arthars2000080171351005200100
Kotoni Staggs30000801202800015500100
Herbie Farnworth40000801855100019100300
Selwyn Cobbo5000080103220006200100
Ezra Mam63000801601320116700000
Adam Reynolds704008050500025700100
Thomas Flegler8100048932710233000000
Billy Walters90000440000032710000
Payne Haas100000651506300341000000
Kurt Capewell11000076641600135600000
Jordan Riki12000064792100031300000
Patrick Carrigan130000711595300239500100
Tyson Smoothy1400003612301024200000
Brendan Piakura1500002014400013300000
Kobe Hetherington1600001925500011200000
Keenan Palasia170000371503600020200000
Corey Oates1800000000000000000
Total 44001040166839662103675710110 


Accor Stadium

15 Edwin Flack Ave, Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127, Australia


Date Time League Season Match Day Full Time
October 1, 2023 19:30 Telstra National Rugby League Premiership 2023 GrandFinal 80'

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