Wright's Koori Knockout glory
Less than 24 hours after the stunning extra-time NRL grand final the All Blacks were also involved in a grand final golden point thriller – the Redfern All Blacks, that is – with Vodafone Warrior Jonathan Wright sparked extraordinary scenes after becoming the match-winning hero.
The occasion was yesterday’s grand final at the annual Koori Knockout this year staged in Dubbo.
Wright's father was one of the founders - and an 11-time winner - of the 45-year-old event staged by the New South Wales Aboriginal Rugby League; the four-day event brings together scores of teams, more than 130 this time.
Featuring throughout the weekend were any number of current and former NRL players with Wright’s team-mates in the Redfern All Blacks – Australia’s oldest Aboriginal rugby league club – including Parramatta’s Reece Robinson, ex-South Sydney try-scoring sensation Nathan Merritt and former Sydney Roosters, Parramatta and South Sydney back rower Dean Widders.
The men’s grand final had a finish every bit as remarkable as the NRL finale on Sunday night.
The Newcastle All Blacks were in the lead for most of the contest (22-6 at one point). They were still ahead 32-30 with only five seconds left, the bench and supporters up celebrating a victory they thought was theirs.
But then the drama unfolded. With the fulltime siren sounding, NRL referee Chris James awarded a penalty 49 metres out from Newcastle’s line. Up stepped Shane Nolan to pilot a monster goal, locking the score up at 32-32 and sending the match into extra time.
The contest was into its second term of golden point when Robinson and Wright combined for the Vodafone Warriors to score wide out, igniting scenes of utter jubilation as he was swamped by a tack of team-mates and spectators.
I'm so proud, I have finally won a Aboringial Knockout !!!! It means the world to me,#Kooriknockout#RAB#Wright pic.twitter.com/4MXUvdFDi6— Jono Wright (@jono87wright) October 5, 2015