Winning an NRL Grand Final is a childhood dream for all rugby league fans, but each year there are only 13 on the field for the winning team when the final whistle blows. The joy on each of their faces is plain to see, and is unsurprising given they are realising a lifelong dream. But while this fulfilment is the main reason for the joy, there are also a couple of other more tangible rewards that teams get to enjoy when they win an NRL Premiership.
NRL Grand Final prize money
The prize money is the most significant tangible reward clubs receive for saluting on the biggest stage. Prior to 2020, there was a total of $1 million up for grabs, which was split among finalists. The winners received $400,000 of that while the minor Premiers also earned $100,000, meaning any team finishing on top of the ladder and going on to win the flag would cash in on half of the $1 million total prize pool.
The rest of the money was spread as follows: the Grand Final runner-up would receive $200,000, teams losing in the preliminary finals would earn $100,000, semi-final losers would be given $30,000, and $20,000 would be distributed to the two clubs eliminated in the first week of the finals. Unfortunately, the league’s financial issues last year forced them to slash the prize money in half, but hopefully in the near future it will be possible to return it to something closer to what it peaked at in 2019.
Much like in the NBA, every player on the Premiership-winning team in the NRL is given a Premiership ring. These were valued at $8,000 in 2014 when designed by Zed N Zed Jewellery, but since 2015 they have been made by Affinity Diamonds and are now estimated to be worth closer to $10,000. Of course, players aren’t typically selling these, with the sentimental value they hold generally far more significant than their financial worth.
Clive Churchill Medal
The Clive Churchill Medal is the one prize given out on Grand Final day which goes to an individual, rather than a team. The medal is given to the best player on the ground in the Grand Final, and along with the Dally M Medal for the best player throughout the course of the season, is the most sought-after individual award in the game. The winner is chosen by members of the Australian national team’s selection panel, and some of the most celebrated names in league history have taken home this medal in the past.
This is the last of the NRL Grand Final prizes, and also the most sentimentally important. The Provan-Summons Trophy is awarded to the Premiership winners after the game, and is the most significant tangible reward on offer for the achievement. The trophy depicts an image of Norm Provan and Arthur Summons embracing following the 1963 Grand Final, a design which has been much the same since way back in 1982. This coveted trophy is the most recognisable symbol of Premiership triumph, and it takes pride of place in the post-game photo of the Grand Final winning team each and every year.
Few players in the NRL are playing for the above prizes, and if there was no Provan-Summons Trophy, Clive Churchill Medal, Premiership rings or prize money on offer, winning the Premiership would still hold much the same significance as it does with those rewards. They are, however, extra rewards for the achievement, and prize money aside, more valuable from a sentimental perspective than a financial one.
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