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Murphy set for 'unique' NRLW medal scenario on grand final day

This is the image Titans coach Karyn Murphy respectfully isn't keen on replicating when her side meets the Knights in Sunday's NRLW decider at Accor Stadium.

Murphy, whose player of the grand final medal is named in her honour, is in the unique scenario where she may have to present to an opposing player moments after an historic sixth NRLW season comes to a close.

Should the Titans win it will be fairly straight-forward for Murphy to present to her own player while the NRL is discussing how the former Jillaroos captain would present on stage if a Knights player was awarded the medal. 

The rare possibility has crossed Murphy's mind ahead of her own history-making efforts - guiding the Titans to the club's first-ever grand final in either the men's or women's competitions - while also becoming the first female coach to do so.

"It's such an honour to have the player of the grand final medal named after you so I don't take that lightly," Murphy told

"Obviously 12 months ago we weren't in this position as a side that we're in now so it will be unique and interesting to see how it plays out. 

Upton claims Karyn Murphy Medal

"As a coach you hope it's one of your players that you're hanging the medal around their neck, that would be an amazing story. 

"But if it's not I'll still be honoured to present the award, as much as it might be difficult to do as an opposition coach moments after the game." 

Reigning medal recipient Tamika Upton, who has been coached by Murphy in Queensland camp and will be key to the Knights' chances for back-to-back titles, joked it would be "ideal" for the medal to remain in Newcastle.

"That will be interesting come Sunday, I actually didn't think of that," Upton said.

"That would be ideal [for a Knights player to receive the medal], probably not for her, but I'm sure she'll handle it the way she always does regardless of which way it goes.

"She's one of the most laid-back coaches and people I've ever had and gives you a lot of confidence.

"Some coaches can be very structured with game plans and say a lot of words but she's the opposite. She's brought that out in a lot of girls at the Titans.

"You can't underestimate the Titans and you can tell they're well-trained. They constantly show up for each other. I'm not surprised they beat the Roosters and are into the grand final."

Past Karyn Murphy medal winners

  • 2022 - Tamika Upton (Knights)
  • 2021 - Sarah Togatuki (Roosters)
  • 2020 - Amber Hall (Broncos)
  • 2019 - Annette Brander (Broncos)
  • 2018 - Kimiora Breayley-Nati (Broncos)
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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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