In the years leading up to the 2003 NRL season the Penrith Panthers has struggled through some lean years. One thing that helps supporters through those tough times was seeing the emergence of a group of very good junior players all coming through into first grade at the same time.
This, coupled with the signing of John Lang as coach, his son Martin Long up front, Preston Campbell in the halves and Luke Priddis at hooker gave the Panthers a great combination of youth and experience.
The 2003 season started off slowly for the Panthers winning 1 of their first 4 games. Then, something clicked…
The Panthers would go on to have one of the clubs best seasons ever, and charged into the Grand Final against the defending premiers, the Sydney Roosters.
In one of the greatest Grand Finals ever played, the Panthers would win a brutal, exciting and memorable match in the pouring rain at Stadium Australia and claim the clubs second NRL Grand Final victory.
Here is the lineup that won the 2003 NRL Grand Final.
The Penrith Panthers – 2003 Grand Final Team
1. Rhys Wesser
2. Luke Lewis
3. Ryan Girdler
4. Paul Whatuira
5. Luke Rooney
6. Preston Campbell
7. Craig Gower (c)
8. Joel Clinton
9. Luke Priddis
10. Martin Lang
11. Joe Galuvao
12. Tony Puletua
13. Scott Sattler
14. Ben Ross
15. Trent Waterhouse
16. Shane Rodney
17. Luke Swain
Coach: John Lang
Penrith Panthers 18
Tries: Luke Rooney 2, Luke Priddis 1
Goals: Preston Campbell 2/2, Ryan Girdler 1/1
Sydney Roosters 6
Tries: Shannon Hegarty 1
Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon 1/1
Luke Priddis won the Clive Churchill Medal in an outstanding Man of The Match performance.
One of the most memorable moments of the match was a try saving tackle by lock Scott Sattler. Sattler, whose father had long since become a legend for playing 75 minutes of a Grand Final with a broken jaw, pulled off one of the most memorable moments in modern Grand Final history with a perfect cover tackle on Roosters winger Todd Byrne.
Click here to watch the entire 2003 NRL Grand Final!