In a stunning celebration of one of Rugby League’s most revered moments, St George Illawarra and Wests Tigers will play a Saturday afternoon match at the Sydney Cricket Ground on August 24 marking 50 years to the minute of the start of the 1963 Grand Final.
The round 24 clash was scheduled to be played at WIN Jubilee Oval but has now been transferred to the historic ground. It will be the second time this season that Wests Tigers and the Dragons have played against each other at the SCG, the first being in round 6 with the Dragons taking the two points that day.
Wests Tigers celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Grand Final as part of the round six match day entertainment with players from both Wests and St George in attendance.
The 1963 decider is etched in Rugby League folklore. The iconic John O’Gready ‘Gladiators’ image of Wests captain Arthur Summons and Dragons captain Norm Provan covered in mud and embracing after the match provides a celebrated symbol of the game’s gladiatorial spirit and mateship that today is the centrepiece of the Telstra Premiership Trophy.
NRL CEO, Mr Dave Smith, said the Round 24 SCG clash would feature a spectacular tribute to one of the game’s most revered moments.
“This match will be a fantastic celebration for the whole game and one that every Rugby League fan will be invited to share in,” Mr Smith said.
“The Gladiators image is such a special symbol of our game and to be able to mark that moment in our history exactly 50 years to the day at the same venue will be a wonderful event.
“I would especially like to thank the Dragons for allowing us to move this game to the SCG so we can provide a fitting tribute to this iconic moment in the game’s history.”
Dragons Chief Operating Officer, Mr Michael McDonald, said: “The 50th anniversary of the 1963 Grand Final is significant and the opportunity to have the Dragons playing Wests Tigers on the same day, time and venue with all three grades is unique and something that the NRL are keen to appropriately celebrate.
“Relocating games from our traditional venues is not something the Dragons Board takes lightly and in considering all the circumstances and the opportunities around this marquee game, relocating to the SCG for this match was in the best interests of the Dragons and the game as a whole.
“We are working closely with the NRL and SCG Trust to ensure that our Red V Members and Partners who will be impacted by this change have their benefits transferred appropriately and we will communicate accordingly as soon as possible.”
The Round 24 clash will be a highlight of a host of blockbuster encounters in the run to the finals with just two points currently separating teams placed fifth through to 11th on the Telstra Premiership table.