NRL 2019: Balmain Tigers, Canberra Raiders, 1989 NRL grand final, Benny Elias, Matty Johns


Thirty years on and the 1989 grand final must still hurt for Benny Elias.

It must hurt even more then, given that when he went for a field goal he was denied by a crossbar which failed to comply with the laws of the game.

Balmain were 14-8 up against Canberra when the hooker unleashed his attempt, it rattled against the woodwork and back into play.

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Round 1

Canberra went up the other end and forced the game into extra time before clinching victory.

But speaking on the Matty Johns Podcast, Daily Telegraph journalist Paul Kent detailed a conversation with former Canberra chairman John McIntyre some years ago.

McIntyre explained that when the Raiders had been setting up their training centre, the ground staff had a problem.

Canberra players celebrate with the JJ Giltinan Shield after defeating Balmain in 1989.Canberra players celebrate with the JJ Giltinan Shield after defeating Balmain in 1989.Source: News Corp Australia

MATTY JOHNS PODCAST — Matty, Kenty, and Finchy discuss a couple of NRL premiership bolters, the issues at the Dragons, and an untold story of the famous ‘89 grand final!


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They didn’t know the right dimensions for a set of posts.

“He’s figuring out how the crossbar goes,” Kent explains. “How high do I make this?

“McIntyre says he has no idea, ring the football stadium and ask them how high their cross bar is and make it that high.

“So that’s what they did, they put it up, it’s this high off you go.

Benny Elias and teammates look dejected after the loss to CanberraBenny Elias and teammates look dejected after the loss to CanberraSource: News Corp Australia

“He said we didn’t realise until two years later we had that cross bar two inches too high.

“He said the one at the stadium was two inches higher than it should have been.

“So if it’s two inches lower, Benny’s ball goes over.

“This is coming from a Canberra guy! I wonder if he’s trying to put a little bit more pain in.”


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