A forgotten historical fact from yesterday’s NRL Grand Final that deserved more attention

With the last try of the season, Souths’ Alex Johnston, who had already wrapped up the Ken Irvine Medal for leading tryscorer, became the first player to score 30 tries in a First Grade season since Newtown legend Ray Preston bagged 34 tries in 1954, with the pair sitting alongside Immortal Dave Brown (38 for Easts in 1935) as the only three players in history to reach the magical 30 try milestone.

67 years in the making… Unfortunately AJ happened to score the history maker with 5 minutes to go in the Grand Final when everyone was focusing more on the 14-12 scoreline, so it didn’t really get the celebration that it probably deserved.

Here’s a history lesson – When Ray Preston scored 34 tries for the Jets in 1954, Les Brennan from Souths, in his debut season, finished the year with 29 tries from 19 games.

This year, Tom Trbojevic was second on the tries list behind Johnston with 28 four-pointers from 18 games.

The most amazing part?

Both Brennan and Turbo sit in the Top 5 for the best try-scoring seasons in First Grade history….. And yet, neither of them won the leading tryscorer title in their respective seasons.

The final major record of this record shattering high-scoring, blowout riddled 2021 NRL season….

The Melbourne Storm matched the all-time record of 19 consecutive wins, the Panthers set a new all-time record for the most consecutive away wins, Josh Addo-Carr became the first player in the NRL era to score 6 tries in a game (Against Souths in Round 9), the Panthers became the first team in the NRL era to start a season 11-0, Reuben Garrick became the first player to score 300 points in the regular season, the Storm with 21 wins became the best team in history to miss the Grand Final, and Alex Johnston became the first player in the NRL era to score 30 tries in a season.

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