The 2004 NRL Grand Final Winners: The Canterbury Bulldogs

Two years after being excluded from the premiership due to salary cap breaches the Canterbury Bulldogs found themselves rebuilt and facing off the with Minor Premiers in the 2004 NRL Grand Final.

The animosity between these two teams was palpable, with the Roosters constantly being linked to Bulldogs players over the previous few seasons. A weird quirk in the draw has seen these two teams meet only once in the regular season, with the Bulldogs claiming a 24-12 victory at home.

The Bulldogs would play the 2002 Grand Final without club captain Steve Price who had picked up a knee injury when the team knocked the defending premiers the Penrith Panthers the previous week, while the Roosters would be without lock Luke Ricketson won has picked up a suspension the previous week against the North Queensland Cowboys.

Leading into the match a young Jonathan Thurston, competing in his last match for the club before moving to the North Queensland Cowboys, how vowed to give his Premiership winners ring to Steve Price.

The Roosters were contesting their third consecutive Grand Final, having won the title in 2002 against the New Zealand Warriors, while losing the Grand Final in 2003 against the Penrith Panthers.

Here is the Canterbury Bulldogs team that won the 2004 NRL Grand Final:

The Canterbury Bulldogs – 2004 Grand Final Team
1 Luke Patten
2 Hazem El Masri
3 Ben Harris
4 Willie Tonga
5 Matt Utai
6 Braith Anasta
7 Brent Sherwin
8 Mark O’Meley
9 Adam Perry
11 Willie Mason
12 Andrew Ryan (C)
14 Reni Maitua
13 Tony Grimaldi

15 Corey Hughes
16 Roy Asotasi
17 Sonny Bill Williams
18 Johnathan Thurston

Coach: Steve Folkes

Canterbury Bulldogs 16
Tries: Matt Utai 2, Hazen El Masri
Goals: Hazem El Masri 2/4

Sydney Roosters 13
Tries: Chris Walker, Anthony Minichiello
Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon 2/2
Field Goal: Brett Finch

Willie Mason was named the Clive Churchill Medal winner as the player of the match. The victory gave the Bulldogs their 8th Premiership in club history and the clubs first since 1996.

Hazel El Masri would set a single season points scoring record of 342 points from 11 tries and 122 goals.

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