2019 Moment #1: Grand Final Champions
20/12/2019 by Aiden McNicholas
There was only one moment that could hold the mantle of the best in 2019 for the Wolfpack: the Championship Playoff Final victory that secured promotion to the top-flight Super League for the 2020 Season.
The realization of a dream set in motion back in 2017, the final whistle of the Championship decider was a moment of sweet relief and indescribable joy for the players, staff and fans of the world’s first professional transatlantic sporting team.
Loyal supporters broke the Lamport Stadium attendance record for the second time in 2019 when 9,974 streamed into the venue to witness history on October 5. After a heartbreaking end to the 2018 Season, it was clear from the opening whistle that the Wolfpack were not going to let it happen again.
Featherstone Rovers had ridden a stunning Playoffs run to make the Grand Final from fifth place and they took it up to the Wolfpack all day but would eventually fall just short despite holding a slender lead at half-time. It wasn’t until the 28th minute that the scoreboard attendant was called in action, such was the determined defensive efforts from both sides. The Rovers eventually drew first blood through a try from Alex Sutcliffe that was converted by the ever-present Dane Chisholm.
Wolfpack skipper Josh McCrone was the man in the right place at the right time to open the scoring for the home side but an uncharacteristic miss by Gareth O’Brien from the kicking tee saw the margin resting at two points halfway through the contest.
With everything on the line in the second half, an unbelievable effort from Blake Wallace in the 57th minute will forever be an iconic Wolfpack moment as he gave his side the lead through an unstoppable charge at the line that resulted in a season-defining four-pointer. The Wolfpack then took advantage of the momentum created by the classy Australian, scoring two more tries to close the contest and make their Super League dream a reality.
First-year Wolfpack players and Rugby League veterans Joe Mellor and Jon Wilkin performed supremely on the Final stage, further justifying their recruitment in advance of the 2019 Season alongside a slew of other elite-level talent.