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Merro's Field Goal

The Sydney Cricket Ground has been the setting of hundreds of moments and memories for the South Sydney Rabbitohs. 

Bob McCarthy's intercept try in the 1967 Grand Final and John Sattler's broken jaw are just two - not to mention the numerous Premiership trophies the Grand Old Club has lifted at the famous ground. 

With games scarcely held at the venue in the modern game, this moment ranks as one of the best.

Exciting is probably one of the best words to describe the 2009 Souths side. The squad was filled to the brim with talented players like Chris Sandow, Michael Crocker, Craig Wing, Roy Asotasi and Issac Luke, and produced plenty of points, becoming the first Souths side to post more than 500 points in a season.

Fan favourite and member of that squad, Beau Champion, looks fondly back on the transitional period for the Club.

"The thing was with that team was that particularly through that period we had such a talented side," he said.

"We were one of those sides that could beat anyone on our day – we'd beat the team coming first one day and then lose to the side coming last.

"One of the best things we had was that we were a team that could score points and we were a side that was entertaining."


With hundreds of matches played against both the Western Suburbs Magpies and Balmain Tigers, it was only natural the Rabbitohs and Wests Tigers would do battle on the hallowed SCG turf – which is exactly what happened in Round 10 of that year on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

After a tight first half, which saw tries to David Fa'alogo and Fetuli Talanoa putting the scores at 10-all at the break, the Tigers pounced to a 22-10 lead after an hour.

But one of the best qualities of that '09 side was their attacking flair, which was on show as Talanoa bagged his double off a cross-field bomb, and then Champion himself slicing through to score. All of a sudden the scores were even again with just minutes remaining.

"Every game we played them at the SCG was one you looked forward to," Champion reminisced.

"I remember that one ebbed and flowed quite a bit, and then they got out to a 22-12 lead. Fetuli (Talanoa) scored a cracking try in the left-hand corner off a bomb, then I scored on the right-hand side with about three minutes to go, then Issac Luke had to convert from near the sideline."

"He got the goal then we had a massive set of six to get to the other end of the field. I think Jamie Simpson had a strong run which put us in a position to go for a field goal."

With 30 seconds left on the clock, it seemed favourite son Craig Wing was destined to sink the Tigers in this SCG classic. The parochial Red and Green faithful rose, as did Wing's kick, only to be charged down and regathered by Merritt.

In his first game in Red and Green, mid-season signing Michael Crocker took the ball up for another charge, but with time winding down, the ball landed in the arms of Wing once again.

Desperate to avoid another repeat of his last attempt, Wing unexpectedly swung the ball to his outside men.

Nathan Merritt, never having kicked a field goal in his professional career, calmly slotted the ball through the posts. The crowd went into raptures after the famous kick sealed a famous victory for the Red and Green.

Despite being nearly a decade since those events, Champion remembers the day vividly.

"The first shot Craig Wing went for actually missed, it got knocked down," he explained.

"Nathan actually dived on the ball, we went back into the middle before Wing went for another shot. But because they rushed him he went to Merritt, who went on to kick that famous field goal to win the match.

As one of the most popular centre-winger pairings for the Club in the 21st century, Champion had a simple message when it came to ranking his teammates' career efforts.

"Put it this way – he's got heaps of them," he said.

"Back in 2006 we won three games all year and finished dead last. In that team, he scored the most tries of any player in the competition.

"So when you consider that we won three games for the year and were distant wooden spooners with Nathan being the top try scorer for the year, it just shows how good he was as an individual.

"I've played with some unreal players and to be honest Nathan was probably one of the best in making something from nothing or finding the line. He was one of those freakish talents that don't come along too often.

"He just had a knack to find the try line or find a play."



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