Twenty-six Grand Finals have been fought, won, and lost in the NRL era; 27 if you count the 1997 Super League decider, and some absolute champions have held the trophy aloft on their victory lap.Most of them are household names, including the likes of Allan Langer, Isaah Yeo, Cameron Smith, Steve Menzies and Latrell Mitchell, but quite a few Gran Final winners have slipped under the radar over the years, and are probably forgotten by all but their club’s most ardent fans.Here’s a team of players who have won grand finals for their clubs but who are largely forgotten today.1. Luke Phillips (Roosters, 2002)Phillips turned out for three clubs in as many years before joining the Roosters in 1999 and was good enough to hold down the No.1 jersey ahead of both Anthony Minichiello and Brett Mullins over the next three years. A speedy and elusive performer, he played injured in the Roosters’ 2002 Grand Final win over the Broncos, and that was to prove to be his last appearance in first grade, as injuries saw him retire in early 2003 at the age of 27.2. Craig Smith (Storm, 1999) With just 22 first grade games to his name, the goal-kicking winger’s time at the top was brief but memorable for both Storm and Dragons fans alike. After debuting for North Sydney in 1995 Smith would have to wait until 1998 to really make his mark, finishing as the Storm’s highest point-scorer in their debut season. He failed to crack first grade for most of the following season until he was recalled for his goal-kicking for the finals, going on to land 10 vital goals from 12 attempts as the Storm won their semi-final, final and Grand Final matches by just two points.His chapter in NRL history was written in the decider against St George Illawarra when, with just three minutes to go he was awarded a penalty try by referee Bill Harrigan after being knocked out by the Dragons’ Jamie Ainscough in attempting to score a try, giving the game to Melbourne. Smith strangely rejected an offer from the Storm to play on the following year and retired from the game at just 26 years of age.3. Steve Bell (Sea Eagles, 2008) Bell was a rangy centre with a good turn of speed who largely flew under the radar in his five seasons with the Storm in the early 2000s although being a regular try-scorer. He played six finals games for Melbourne but it was only after moving to Manly in 2006 that he found himself on the path to a premiership ring. He was in the Manly team that went down 34-8 to his old club in 2007 but had the last laugh the following season when Manly flogged the Storm 40-0, with Bell scoring the final try of the game.4. Paul Momirovski (Panthers, 2021)When Penrith fans gather in the future to reminisce about their glory days and rattle off the names of the many heroes of their Grand Final victories, it’s quite possible that Paul Momirovski may not get a mention. The big centre has just played 60 games in his six seasons in the top grade to date with no doubt the highlight being the Grand Final win with Penrith in 2021, in what turned out to be his only season with the club.5. Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers, 2005)Fitzhenry was one of those versatile players that every club needs, with the ability to fill in wherever required without letting the team down. He spent three seasons with the Tigers, playing everywhere from fullback to hooker, before claiming a wing position in 2005 when the Tigers won their first premiership. While he only scored 11 tries in 26 games that year, four of them came in the final’s series, including a 63rd-minute four-pointer in the Grand Final that put the game out of the Cowboys’ reach.6. Sean Rudder (Knights, 2001)After star five-eighth Matthew Johns left the Knights at the end of the 2000 season the club had no obvious replacement, so coach Michael Hagan gambled on the 22-year-old Sean Rudder, a big likely lad who was better known as either a backrower or a bench utility up to that point. Rudder played every game that season, with most of them in the 6 jersey, and proved to be the perfect foil for the brilliance of Newcastle maestro Andrew Johns, and he was one of the Knights’ best in the premiership decider.7. Shane Perry (Broncos, 2006)The last time Brisbane won a premiership was back in 2006 and what a star-studded side they had that day. Justin Hodges, Darius Boyd, Darren Lockyer, Shane Webcke, Petero Civoniceva and Shane Perry. That’s right, Shane Perry, the 29-year-old virtually unknown halfback who managed just 14 first grade games in his previous three seasons in the top grade with the Tigers and the Bulldogs.Perry got his big chance when he replaced first-choice halfback Brett Seymour, who was stood down for disciplinary reasons. He grabbed his unexpected opportunity with both hands and formed a useful combination with captain Darren Lockyer, which saw the Broncos ultimately defeat the Storm in the premiership decider. 8. Ben Cross (Storm, 2007)Ben Cross was a big, strapping lad who liked to run the ball hard. He was somewhat of a journeyman in his career, playing 140 games for six different clubs both here and in England. His best career move was joining the Storm in 2006, and after primarily playing off the bench over the next two years, Cross found himself in the Storm’s run-on side in their Grand Final victory over Manly.9. Phillip Lee (Broncos, 1998)Phillip Lee joined the Broncos from the defunct South Queensland Crushers in 1997 for the inaugural Super League season and initially played second fiddle to both John Driscoll and John Plath in the battle for the No.9 jersey.Towards the end of the 1998 season, he was Brisbane’s first choice hooker and scored tries in both their preliminary final victory over Melbourne and their Grand Final triumph over the Bulldogs.10. Michael Weyman (Dragons, 2010)Michael Weyman could best be described as an ill-disciplined plodder during his six years with Canberra, but something clicked when he joined Wayne Bennett at the Dragons in 2009. He made the NSW Origin side, played in the 2010 Anzac Test for Australia, and packed down in the Dragons front row on Grand Final day, before leaving the field with concussion after 30 minutes. 11. Glenn Hall (Manly, 2008)If anyone deserved to pick up a premiership in their career it was Glenn Hall. Hall was a typically tough Bankstown boy who played 220 games across 14 years in the top grade that involved countless hit-ups and even more tackles. He played over half of his career off the bench, but found himself packing down in the second row alongside Anthony Watmough in their 40-0 flogging of Melbourne in the 2008 Grand Final. Never the star but a player highly valued for his relentless performances.12. Clint Newton (Storm, 2007)If ever a player switched clubs at the right time, it was Clint Newton. After slogging it out for seven years at Newcastle, he left mid-season in 2007 after falling out of favour with coach Brian Smith. He immediately joined Melbourne, played 15 games for the club for just one loss, and scored a try in their 34-8 Grand Final demolition of Manly. Newcastle finished second last.13. Tony Grimaldi (Bulldogs, 2004)Grimaldi was one of those players who never took a backward step and was always somewhere near the top of the tackle count each week. He had two stints with Canterbury, the first between 1996 and 1998, when he was part of their 1998 losing Grand Final side, and the second between 2002 and 2006 when he helped the Bulldogs win their eighth title as they defeated the Roosters, 16-13 in the decider.

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