The NRL will pay tribute to 26 retiring players during a star-studded build-up to the 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final between Melbourne Storm and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at ANZ Stadium tomorrow (October 2).
Premiership-winners, State of Origin and Test stars, and two members of the exclusive “300 Club” will officially hang up their boots following the 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership.
They include grand final player Michael Ennis (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), as well as Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos), who has ended his career on 347 matches.
Also present on the night to take part in a lap of honour for retiring and departing players will be: Jack Reed (Brisbane Broncos), Sam Perrett, Antonio Kaufusi (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Glenn Hall (North Queensland Cowboys), Ben Creagh (St George Illawarra Dragons), Anthony Watmough (Parramatta Eels), James McManus, Jeremy Smith, Kade Snowden, Todd Lowrie (Newcastle Knights), Nigel Plum (Penrith Panthers), Joel Reddy (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Glen Buttriss (Canberra Raiders), Dene Halatau (Wests Tigers), Nathan Friend, Luke Douglas (Gold Coast Titans) and Ali Lauitiiti (Warriors).
“The tribute to our retiring players is one of the real emotional moments of Grand Final Day,” NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said.
“This year, we are saying goodbye to some players who have contributed enormously to the game both on and off the field.
“I have had a lot to do with Michael Ennis over the years and he is not only a wonderful competitor, he is a wonderful person.
“Corey Parker’s achievement in playing 347 matches for the Broncos is simply incredible.
“There are internationals among this year’s group, State of Origin players, Test players – it is an extraordinary group of players and all of them will be missed.
“Thankfully, there are some wonderful ambassadors and role models among our 2016 class - this is far from the last we will be seeing of them.”
NRL Telstra Premiership grand final celebrations will begin in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct outside ANZ Stadium at 11am, with an NRL Fan Zone offering merchandise, family-friendly activities and live entertainment. Restaurants, cafes and bars will open for extended hours pre and post-game.
Fans are encouraged to be in their seats inside ANZ Stadium before 6.30pm to see the electrifying pre-game entertainment headlined by international megastar Keith Urban, who will be joined by multiple Grammy Award-winner Richie Sambora and Australia’s own guitar goddess Orianthi.
All tickets to the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final include return travel on Sydney Trains and Major Event Buses, with fans encouraged to take public transport, arrive early and enjoy the pre-game festivities.
Direct train services from Central to Olympic Park will run every seven minutes from noon, stopping at Redfern and Strathfield.
To meet the demands of Sharks fans, additional train services will run from Cronulla/Waterfall to Redfern/Central every 10 minutes.
Fans are also reminded that Daylight Saving begins in NSW on Sunday, when clocks go forward one hour at 2am.
NRL Grand Final Day (all times in NSW time)
11am Precinct opens
1.15pm ANZ Stadium gates open
1.35pm Holden Cup Under 20s: Penrith Panthers v Sydney Roosters
3.40pm Intrust Super Championship: Illawarra Cutters v Burleigh Bears
6.30pm Entertainment commences inside ANZ Stadium
7.26pm National Anthem
7.28pm NRL Grand Final: Melbourne Storm v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks