With the Warriors and Melbourne Storm squaring off midweek, we’re moving our flashback piece ahead a couple of days and marking 20 years since the clubs’ maiden encounter in the Victorian capital – a wildly fluctuating contest that concluded with one of premiership football’s most incredible after-the-siren victories.
Melbourne halfback Brett Kimmorley appeared to wrap up a tense contest for the 1998 NRL front-runners at Olympic Park with a field goal two minutes from fulltime, giving the home side a 21-18 advantage over Auckland.
But on the last play of the game – after a one-on-one strip inside the final 30 seconds – the Warriors swung the ball from one sideline to the other, before Stacey Jones launched a bomb after the siren sounded.
Despite a horde of Storm players waiting at the kick’s destination, the Warriors managed to bat the ball back, and centre Nigel Vagana fired it out for an unmarked Tony Tatupu to score.
After an agonising three-and-a-half-minute wait for the video referee’s decision as he dissected the myriad fumbles and rebounds in the movement, the try was awarded, handing victory to the Frank Endacott-coached Auckland team —a rare highlight in a tough season for the club.