Two Vikings fans experienced the trip of a lifetime to the most dramatic NRL Grand Final ever – all thanks to their grandparents and the Dream Ticket.
James Fay, of Halton View, was pulled out of the hat for the ultimate prize but at the age of 93 decided he couldn’t make the trip, especially as he and wife Cath, aged 82, don’t even have passports!
That was good news for their grandsons Peter and Kieron Ruane who took their place on the trip which started in Dubai before moving on to Sydney.
While in Sydney, they witnessed the extraordinary NRL Grand Final between North Queensland and Brisbane, which was decided by a golden point extra time drop goal from Kangaroos international Jonathan Thurston for the Cowboys, after they had tied the game up with a try on the full-time hooter and Thurston had hit the post with the subsequent conversion.
Peter takes over the story: “Dubai is a bit of a building site at present due to all the expansion but when it’s finished, you can send me back for another look around. 38 degree heat though was a bit much! You never know I may win next year’s Dream Ticket and be able to go again, I don’t think my Mrs will be too impressed a second time around though!
“On to Sydney, 16 hours and 2 different flights later, what a place. Hotel was a 5 minute walk from Darling Harbour and through the week the NRL fan park appeared, which was good to visit and I got my hands on the NRL trophy and photo evidence. Sydney Harbour was only a 30 minute walk away, but way too overpriced for beer, but as tourists, we did the tourist thing and took far too many pictures!
“It seems the Aussies like a drink and no one works past 12.30, so be in the pub early. Tooheys New seems to now be my new favourite lager, they just need to start selling in the UK at a cheaper price or the stadium can start selling it on match day… we will be on to a winner.
“The Grand Final itself, what a game!
“Brisbane dominated, then seemed to try and close the game out, which clearly was the wrong option. The try in the corner, if only the winger had stepped in a few more metres and JT had made the conversion. It mattered not in the end though.
“Extra time was quite a nerve-racking experience, for all of the Broncos fans around us anyway! My brother and I were just loving the experience of being there and having a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“The Dream Ticket is a great club initiative, where else can you have the opportunity to win a trip of a lifetime for £2 per week!
“Not only that but the other prizes also of £100 per day and £1000 per month.
“If everyone was to sign up then you never know the extra cash could be pushed into more quality in the squad and as Widnes fans we can be at Old Trafford having the same experience as those Broncos and Cowboys fans.”