'Absolutely maddening': UK fans in frenzy over NRL grand final photo

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
A fan view of the NRL grand final between the Storm and Panthers at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
The NRL grand final between the Storm and Panthers was played in front of 40,000 spectators at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. (Image: @joshtaylor_26)

The Melbourne Storm’s victory against the Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium was a marvellous spectacle during the coronavirus pandemic and league fans around the world have taken notice.

Cameron Smith’s men raced away to a 22-0 lead at half-time, before the Panthers staged a thrilling second half comeback - falling just short in a 26-20 defeat in front of 40,000 fans.

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ANZ Stadium in Sydney was half-full, which is a strong reflection on how well the Federal and NSW Government has handled the coronavirus pandemic compared to many countries around the world.

The 40,000 fans vociferously cheered on their team in the rain and the spectacle caught the eye of league fans on the other side of the world.

The UK Super League recently announced the final would be moved away from Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, to KCOM Stadium in Hull.

The final would also take place in front of no fans.

Only last week, Leeds Rhinos defeated Salford Red Devils in the Challenge Cup at Wembley in front of an empty stadium.

Adrian Durham, from UK based radio station TalkSport, was quick to praise Australia’s efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

And he wasn’t alone with fans from around the world jumping on social media to express their awe at just how many people attended the grand final.

Melbourne Storm claim historic victory

The Storm held off a spirited late fightback from Penrith to seal a 26-20 win in the decider at a rain-soaked ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Sunday night.

Victory is the Storm's third NRL premiership in the last decade, in what could be legendary captain Smith's final game.

The win also sees Craig Bellamy, 61, become the oldest coach in NRL history to win a premiership.

It is his sixth during his time at the club, despite two being stripped for salary cap breaches in 2007 and 2009.

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