Flashback Friday – 1992 CRL Grand Final
One of Canterbury Rugby League’s greatest servants, Gary Baxter, was recently announced as the new CRL President. We’ll have a story on the refereeing stalwart later this week, but Flashback Friday takes a look at the 1992 grand final, which Baxter controlled.
The ’92 decider pitted two fairytale sides against one another. Papanui had finished last the previous season, while Sydenham collected the wooden spoon in 1990.
The resurgent clubs finished in the top two positions on the 1992 ladder, the Tigers crafting a 12-2 regular-season record and the Swans losing just three of their 14 games.
Papanui, captained by John Cannell and coached by Lex Clarke, downed Sydenham 22-6 in the major semi and repeated the dose in the grand final, claiming their first premiership in 14 years with a resounding 28-12 victory.
Fullback Jason Cameron, who was named man-of-the-match, and winger Evan Ross bagged doubles in the six-tries-to-two result, while Swans winger Rick Kara and five-eighth Shane Endacott crossed for the losing side.
The Tigers had been boosted by the arrival of West Coast utility Patrick Kiely and former Junior Kiwis centre Blair Harding, but coach Clarke was regarded as perhaps the most vital ingredient after taking the reins of the 1991 cellar dwellers.
For Sydenham, it was as close as the club would come to ending a title drought stretching back to 1956.
Linwood’s Justin Wallace topped the 1992 premiership’s tryscoring stakes, while Hornby’s Albert Atkinson was the competition’s top point-scorer.
1992 CRL GRAND FINAL
Papanui Tigers 28 (Jason Cameron 2, Evan Ross 2, John Blazey, Rudy David tries; Cameron 2 goals) defeated Sydenham Swans 12 (Rick Kara, Shane Endacott tries; Craig Thompson 2 goals). Referee: Gary Baxter.
PAPUNUI TIGERS: 1 Jason Cameron, 2 Mike Black, 3 Blair Harding, 4 Mike Kerrigan, 5 Evan Ross, 6 Malcolm Taylor, 7 John Blazey, 8 Rudy David, 9 Patrick Kiely, 10 Paul Johnson, 11 John Cannell, 12 Stu Simcott, 13 Roy David. Reserves: 14 Grant Downing, 15 Jason Robb, 16 James West, 17 Mike Flanagan. Coach: Lex Clarke.
SYDENHAM SWANS: 1 Tony Tasse, 2 Vince McCue, 3 Peter Kaisa, 4 Vii Mulipola, 5 Rick Kara, 6 Shane Endacott, 7 Craig Thompson, 8 Ron Simanu, 9 Troy Sweetman, 10 Paul Kaisa, 11 Nick Tacon, 12 Lance Setu, 13 Mark Frame. Reserves: 14 Paul Zuppicich, 15 Jackson Arps, 16 Steve Hickling, 17 Taalili Mulipola. Coach: Mark Vincent.