ANZ Stadium Highlights Reel
ANZ Stadium has been the scene of some of Australia's - in fact, some of the world's - greatest sporting moments.
Passion, drama, heartbreak and victory have combined to deliver countless highlights on ANZ Stadium turf.
To visit the archives, where you'll find the result, attendance and details of every sporting event played at ANZ Stadium, please click here.
Below we remember but a few of those great moments which have been etched in ANZ Stadium folklore.
A Nation Unites
Cathy Freeman's 400m victory at the Sydney 2000 Games remains arguably the most memorable Olympic gold medal ever won by an Australian. Just days after completing the honour of lighting the Olympic cauldron, Freeman was in the starting blocks in readiness for the 400m final.
The Aboriginal sprinter carried the burden of expectation of Australians everywhere, particularly indigenous Australians. This race was about more than sport. This race was about pride, culture and politics.
Freeman's emotional victory took 49.11 seconds. A crowd of 112,524 - the largest ever for a single Olympic session - witnessed the occasion and will remember it forever.
A Hoodoo Smashed
For 32 years, the Socceroos had tried to return to the grand stage of the FIFA World Cup finals. The repeated failures since 1974 grew into a national obsession. In November 2005, three decades of bad luck, excuses and near misses were swept away in a wave of national pride against Uruguay.
The electrifying atmosphere was supercharged by the nerve-jangling drama of a penalty shoot out after the match was tied at 1-1 on aggregate. Mark Schwarzer made crucial saves allowing John Aloisi to score the winning penalty kick that propelled the Socceroos to Germany 2006.
That Drop Goal
The collective hearts of Australian sports fans broke in 2003 when Jonny Wilkinson potted an eleventh-hour field goal to give England 2003 World Cup glory over the Qantas Wallabies.
Australia fought gallantly in an effort to become the first team to retain the Rugby World Cup but couldn't stifle Wilkinson's famous boot, going down 20-17 in the 100th minute.
The shoe was on the other foot earlier in the dramatic finale when Wallabies fly-half Elton Flatley sent the game into extra time with a last-gasp penalty.
The grand final punctuated a spectacular tournament during which ANZ Stadium hosted seven games including both semi finals and the play-off for third place.
The Heat of Origin Battle
Rugby league's State of Origin is Australia's most iconic contest and every series produces heroes, villains and unforgettable moments.
One such moment occurred in 2000 when Queensland captain Gorden Tallis was sensationally sent off in State of Origin I. A fiery Tallis called referee Bill Harrigan a "cheat" for missing what he believed were two knock-ons in the lead up to a Ryan Girdler try. The try had leveled the scores at 16-a-piece with 10 minutes on the clock. In response, Harrigan immediately dismissed Tallis who became only the second player in Origin history to be sent off. The Blues went on to score a 20-16 win.
The two sides returned to ANZ Stadium for Game III - a dead rubber after the Blues' Game II victory - in what would become a record-breaking night. Girdler scored three tries and kicked 10 from 10 for an amazing 32-point haul as NSW ran riot for a 56-16 victory. The night produced the following records:
- Biggest winning margin in State of Origin history
- Most points in an Origin match
- Most points by an individual in an Origin match
- Most points by an individual in an Origin series (Girdler, 52)
- Most goals by an individual in an Origin match
- Most tries by an individual in an Origin match (equal with Chris Anderson and Kerry Boustead)
A Bledisloe Cup battle is always a memorable occasion and many have been played out on ANZ Stadium turf.
The 2000 Bledisloe Cup contest at ANZ Stadium has been labelled the "Greatest Ever Rugby Match". Before a world record crowd of 109,874, New Zealand champion Jonah Lomu sealed an historic 39-35 victory but not before 80 minutes of unforgettable rugby. Australia trailed 24-nil after just 11 minutes but fought back to level the scores at 24-all by half time. The Wallabies couldn't quite pull off what would have been a remarkable comeback but the massive crowd, the see-sawing battle and the buccaneering rugby on display made this an instant classic.
The following year, both teams returned and once again delivered a sensational Test and fitting farewell for Wallabies great John Eales. In an emotional night for Australian rugby, the Wallabies staved off an All Blacks fightback and snatched a eleventh-hour victory. With 80 seconds on the clock and 90,000 people behind him, Toutai Kefu barged through four New Zealand defenders to plant the ball next to the posts. John Eales' Wallabies won 29-26.
Every NRL Grand Final has proven a highlight at ANZ Stadium but there are some magical moments which stand out.
In 2003, Penrith lock Scott Sattler pulled off a try-saving tackle which proved pivotal in the Pathers' historic victory over the heavily favoured Roosters. With the scores locked at 6-all and 26 minutes remaining, Sattler set the Stadium alight when he chased and cut down winger Todd Byrne, pulling him into touch and shifting the momentum. Penrith's 18-6 win capped a remarkable turnaround for the club which had finished last and 12th in the competition in 2001 and 2002 respectively.
The 2005 NRL Grand Final was a fairytale waiting to happen. Both the Wests Tigers and North Queensland Cowboys had progressed to the decider against the odds and, regardless of the result, a maiden NRL Premiership would be won. But in a freakish display of vision and skill, Tigers star Benji Marshall created a fairytale of his own. Five minutes before half time and just four meters off his own line, Marshall accepted a pass and took off, beating two defenders to reach the 50m line and Cowboys fullback Matty Bowen. Marshall's solution? A jaw-dropping behind-the-back flick pass which found winger Pat Richards who scored to give the Tigers a 12-6 halftime lead. The Tigers went on to claim the Premiership 30-16.
In arguably the most controversial NRL Grand Final of all time, referee Bill Harrigan awarded a rarely seen penalty try to hand the Melbourne Storm an unforgettable win over the St George Illawarra Dragons in 1999. Much of the record 107,999 crowd was silenced when Harrigan penalised Dragons centre Jamie Ainscough for a late, head high tackle on Storm winger Craig Smith with three minutes remaining. The resulting penalty try leveled the scores at 18-all and the conversion, taken in front of the posts under the rules of a penalty try, secured the Storm's maiden premiership.