|2007 National Rugby League|
|Top points scorer(s)||Hazem El Masri (210)|
|Player of the year||Johnathan Thurston (Dally M Medal)|
|Top try-scorer(s)||Matthew Bowen (22)|
The 2007 NRL season was the one hundredth season of professional rugby league football club competition in Australia, and the tenth run by the National Rugby League. Sixteen teams contested the NRL's 2007 Telstra Premiership, and with the inclusion of a new team, the Gold Coast Titans, the competition was the largest run since the 1999 NRL season.
The Melbourne Storm were the Minor Premiers in 2007, six points clear of second-placed Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. The Storm eventually ran out 34-8 winners in the 2007 NRL Grand Final to claim the premiership. However, they were subsequently stripped of both their Minor Premiership and Premiership titles on 22 April 2010, after they were found to be guilty of cheating by breaching the league's salary cap.
The 2007 NRL Season kicked off on Friday 16 March 2007 with eight games to be played in each round. The 2007 season saw the return of Monday Night Football, which helped the NRL to set new first round aggregate attendance record of 174,475. The opening round also saw two matches at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, one featured reigning champions Brisbane playing fellow Queensland side the Cowboys, while the second match introduced the newest club to be admitted to the competition, the Gold Coast Titans.
Teams had fewer byes in 2007 than in the 2006 competition. With an odd number of teams contesting between 2002 and 2006, the draw meant that at least one team would have to have a bye each weekend. With the inclusion of the 16th team for the 2007 season, the National Rugby League had the option of reverting to the system used between 2000 and 2001 in which every team played in each round. However, this option was not chosen. In 2007, teams had just a single bye during the year, grouped in periods that will assist clubs around representative fixtures.
The top eight was not settled until the final round as the Brisbane Broncos and Wests Tigers were both on 24 points in 8th and 9th position respectively, with the Broncos ahead on points differential. Both teams lost their final regular season match and as a result of this, the South Sydney Rabbitohs made the top eight for the first time since 1989. The New Zealand Warriors secured a home final: the second match in the history of the National Rugby League Finals played outside of Australia. The first was the Warriors' victory over the Canberra Raiders at Mt Smart Stadium while on their way to the 2002 Grand Final.
On the other end of the ladder, the Newcastle Knights and Penrith Panthers were both in contention for the Wooden Spoon - the traditional label for last place. The Knights performed well in their last match and denied the Wests Tigers a spot in the top eight, winning by two points, whereas the Panthers were defeated by the New Zealand Warriors, seeing them finish last.
2007 saw a total of over 3 million spectators attend regular season matches for only the second time in history.
The National Rugby League kept use of the Hoodoo Gurus' "That's My Team" for a fifth consecutive season, with their advertising agency MJW Hakuhodo reworking the track "What's My Scene" and the "That's My Dream" slogan. With a design change for the Telstra Premiership logo (after months of off-season deliberation on whether Telstra would sponsor the code again), the commercial was a fast-paced action clip, with key players from all teams superimposed to appear as if they are playing in front the famous landmarks of their team's area. They are as follows:
As with previous seasons, all team captains featured prominently in the ads, holding aloft the premiership trophy as the advertisement closes, replicating the 2006 equivalent. Ironically only weeks after it was put to air, Newcastle Knights captain Andrew Johns' career was ended by a neck injury.
Telecommunications giant Telstra once again hold the naming rights to the premiership season and for the seventh season the competition will be known as the "Telstra Premiership". For the second time, however, a change has been made to the Telstra Premiership Logo, to coincide with the tel-co's own new logo. The logo is now much more similar to the original NRL logo in style.
Spirit producers Bundaberg Rum are sponsoring Monday night football - to be known as Bundaberg Monday Night Football. Electronics wholesaler Harvey Norman is expected to continue their support of the State of Origin Series, as is AAMI and their association with City vs Country Origin.
For the 2007 season the number of teams in the NRL had increasing from fifteen to sixteen with the re-inclusion of a Gold Coast, Queensland-based club for the first since 1998, now as the Gold Coast Titans. It was the first time the number of Premiership teams had changed since 2002 when the re-inclusion of the South Sydney Rabbitohs saw the number of teams increase from 14 to 15. The Titans were the NRL's first expansion team since the Melbourne Storm, who entered the League in 1998.
The sixteen teams participated in the competition over the regular season, making it the largest it had been since 1999 when there were seventeen. Of the sixteen clubs, ten were from New South Wales (nine from Sydney's metropolitan area), three from Queensland and one from each of Victoria, the ACT and New Zealand.
Just two foundation clubs from New South Wales Rugby League season 1908 played in this, the 100th season of the competition: the Sydney Roosters (formerly known as Eastern Suburbs) and the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Of these two clubs, only the Sydney Roosters played their 100th full season, as the South Sydney Rabbitohs were in recess during 2000 and 2001. It should also be noted that two foundation clubs, the Balmain Tigers and the Western Suburbs Magpies, had played in every year since 1908, but the two sides merged to create the Wests Tigers who competed every year since the merger in 2000.
|1||Melbourne Storm (P) *stripped||24||21||0||3||1||627||277||+350||44|
|2||Manly Warringah Sea Eagles||24||18||0||6||1||597||377||+220||38|
|3||North Queensland Cowboys||24||15||0||9||1||547||618||-71||32|
|4||New Zealand Warriors||24||13||1||10||1||593||434||+159||29|
|7||South Sydney Rabbitohs||24||12||0||12||1||408||399||+9||26|
|12||Gold Coast Titans||24||10||0||14||1||409||559||-150||22|
|13||St. George Illawarra Dragons||24||9||0||15||1||431||509||-78||20|
|13||St. George Illawarra||2||2||2||2||2||4||4||6||6||8||8||10||10||10||10||12||14||14||16||16||18||18||18||20||20|
To decide the grand finalists from the top eight finishing teams, the NRL adopts the McIntyre Final Eight System. The finals series was contested over a period of four weeks, culminating with the NRL Grand Final being held on Sunday 30 September 2007. For the first time, the week 2 and week 3 final matches were played in the cities of previous week winners rather than Sydney only.
|Date and Time||Venue||Referee||Crowd|
|New Zealand Warriors||10 – 12||Parramatta Eels||7 September 2007 8:30pm||Mt Smart Stadium||Tony Archer||28,745|
|North Queensland Cowboys||20 – 18||Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs||8 September 2007 6:30pm||Dairy Farmers Stadium||Paul Simpkins||24,004|
|Manly Warringah Sea Eagles||30 – 6||South Sydney Rabbitohs||8 September 2007 8:30pm||Brookvale Oval||Shayne Hayne||19,875|
|Melbourne Storm||40 – 0||Brisbane Broncos||9 September 2007 4:00pm||Olympic Park Stadium||Steve Clark||15,522|
|Parramatta Eels||25 – 6||Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs||15 September 2007 7:45pm||Telstra Stadium||Shayne Hayne||50,621|
|North Queensland Cowboys||49 – 12||New Zealand Warriors||16 September 2007 4:00pm||Dairy Farmers Stadium||Tony Archer||21,847|
|Manly Sea Eagles||28 – 6||North Queensland Cowboys||22 September 2007 7:45pm||Sydney Football Stadium||Paul Simpkins||32,611|
|Melbourne Storm||26 – 10||Parramatta Eels||23 September 2007 4:00pm||Telstra Dome||Tony Archer||33,427|
|Qualifying Finals||Semi Finals||Preliminary Finals||Grand Final|
|6||Canterbury||18||3W||North Queensland||49||North Queensland||6|
Sunday, 30 September
|Melbourne Storm||34-8||Manly Warringah Sea Eagles|
Greg Inglis (2), Anthony Quinn (2), Michael Crocker, Matt King, Clint Newton
Cameron Smith (3/8)
Chris Hicks, Steve Matai
Matt Orford (0/2)
The Dally M Awards were introduced in 1980 by News Limited. The most prestigious of these awards is the Dally M Medal which is awarded to the Player Of The Year and many other awards. The other prestigious award is the Provans Summons Medal which is the season's best player as voted by the public. As well as honouring the player of the year the awards night also recognises the premier player in each position, the best coach, the best captain, representative player of the year and the most outstanding rookie of the season. The awards night and Player of the Year medal are named in honour of former Australian rugby league great Herbert Henry "Dally" Messenger. The top try-scorer and top point-scorer tallies are made at the end of the last round of the regular season and hence may be different to the overall top-scorers by the end of the finals.
|Dally M Medal||Johnathan Thurston||North Queensland Cowboys|
|Provan-Summons Medal||Nathan Hindmarsh||Parramatta Eels|
|Rookie of the Year||Israel Folau||Melbourne Storm|
|Captain of the Year||Steve Price||New Zealand Warriors|
|Rep Player of the Year||Cameron Smith||Melbourne Storm|
|Coach of the Year||Craig Bellamy||Melbourne Storm|
|Top Tryscorer of the Year||Israel Folau
North Queensland Cowboys
|Top Pointscorer of the Year||Hazem El Masri||Bulldogs|
Team of the Year
|Best Fullback||Matthew Bowen||North Queensland Cowboys|
|Best Winger||Jarryd Hayne||Parramatta Eels|
|Best Centre||Justin Hodges||Brisbane Broncos|
|Best Five-Eighth||Darren Lockyer||Brisbane Broncos|
|Best Halfback||Johnathan Thurston||North Queensland Cowboys|
|Best Lock||Dallas Johnson||Melbourne Storm|
|Best Second-Rower||Anthony Watmough||Manly Warringah Sea Eagles|
|Best Prop||Steve Price||New Zealand Warriors|
|Best Hooker||Robbie Farah||Wests Tigers|
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