Panthers star Brian To’o celebrated his engagement and NRL Grand Final victory by giving his new fiancée a lap dance in the sheds moments later.
To’o ran to the sidelines to pop the question to Sala Moesha Crichton-Ropati – team-mate Stephen Crichton’s cousin – immediately after the 14-12 win over South Sydney.
He then gave his wife-to-be another gift, gyrating on Sala’s lap while his teammates circled around the couple and cheered ‘Bizza’ on.
‘Win or lose, I was still going to propose,’ To’o said after the game.
‘I’m really happy that she got a ring and I got a ring as well. I’m really glad that she said yes.’
Panthers star Brian To’o gave his fiance a lap dance after proposing to her moments after winning the NRL Grand Final
The athletic winger gyrated on Sala’s while their teammates circled around the pair and cheered ‘Bizza’ on
The Panthers won 14-12 against a brave South Sydney Rabbitohs outfit who fought until the dying stages.
The NRL decider was played outside Sydney for the first time in history due to strict Covid lockdowns, forcing thousands of fans to watch at home as the game went ahead at 75 per cent capacity in Brisbane.
Grinning with the joy of winning on the field, To’o, 23, then asked his partner to make him even happier by accepting – and sealed the deal with a kiss for the woman he calls Chi Chi.
The explosive pint-sized dynamo pulled out a ring as Moesha immediately said yes and she burst into tears as he put it on her finger.
He turned to his celebrating teammates and shouted: ‘She said yes!’
‘I just told her she is the best thing that has ever happened to me … got down on one knee and asked her to make me the happiest man and ‘will you marry me?’ the NSW Origin star said.
‘I was really nervous. I just wanted to focus on the game first and straight after the game I just went to the missus and got the yes.
‘I knew she would say yes, but I wanted to be 110 per cent sure.’
Penrith Panthers winger Brian To’o topped his grand final win by proposing to his girlfriend on the field at the full-time whistle
Born and raised in Mt Druitt in Sydney’s west, religious family man To’o gave his State of Origin pay cheque to his parents, dad Fale and mum Fati, to go towards a new home
Grinning with the joy of winning on the field and in love, To’o asked her to make him even happier by accepting
‘I thought he was just coming up to give me a hug like he usually does,’ admitted Ms Crichton-Ropati afterwards. ‘It was unexpected.’
She moved to Queensland to join To’o in the NRL bubble and admitted she was delighted to have made the commitment and the way it had all turned out.
‘It was 50-50 to come up here,’ she said. ‘I wanted to be with Brian but also wanted to be with my parents at the same time.
‘I thank God, if it wasn’t for him, none of this would’ve happened. Being here with each other made it even better.’
He ran to the sidelines to pop the question to Moesha Crichton-Ropati who is also the cousin of team-mate and match-winning try scorer Stephen Crichton
The NRL trophy is heading back to the foot of Blue Mountains following the Penrith Panthers’ 14-12 win
To’o added: ‘I want to thank my beautiful partner for saying yes and also for the boys for getting us the win. I’m just grateful to be here and so lucky.
‘I’m just really speechless, not only because of the year that I have had, especially with Origin. Also just finishing off the year with the Grand Final ring.
‘It’s a special moment to have with not only my partner but my family in lockdown as well. I’m really happy.’
Earlier this year he paid tribute to his partner for taking his game to the next level this season.
‘I always speak to my missus about how I can improve my game. She’s my biggest fan and she’s always making sure I’m doing the little things right,’ he said.
‘This year she wanted me to take my game to a new level, and I think that’s what is really pushing me to become better than last year.
He pulled out a ring as Moesha immediately said yes and burst into tears as he put it on her finger
The couple sealed the deal with a kiss much to the crowd’s joy – letting out a roar of approval
‘Sometimes we’ll have little dates and the first thing she says is, ‘Can we please watch a replay of your game?’
‘She always wants to watch a replay and will tip me off on the little things that I can work on. It’s like having my own personal coach at home, I’m really grateful for her.’
Ahead of the grand final, he added this week: ‘She always tells me, ‘Go with God’. Those three words work every time and always gets me through.
‘My partner doesn’t like it when I get hurt, but she loves me to death and supports me through everything.
‘She always gets worried about the injuries I get, but I just tell her that it comes with the job. I guess that is just the norm for me because I am always getting injured.’
Born and raised in Mt Druitt in Sydney’s west, religious family man To’o gave his State of Origin pay cheque to his parents, dad Fale and mum Fati, to go towards a new home.
After sealing the deal with a kiss, To’o turned to his celebrating team-mates and shouted: ‘She said yes!’
Penrith Panthers fans show their support before the 2021 NRL Grand Final match at Suncorp Stadium
With his first NRL contract in 2019, To’o also forked out $10,000 to pay for a headstone for his sister Dannielle, who lost her battle with cancer in 2008.
The family were previously unable to afford a headstone for his sibling when she died.
To’o prides himself on making a difference. He often acknowledges growing up in Mt Druitt, a suburb in western Sydney notorious for gangs and violent crime.
‘I’m proud of where I came from,’ he said last year.
‘My life has been a rollercoaster, but I want to keep happy, I want to keep smiling.’
He and Moesha set the red carpet on fire at the Dally M Awards last week when she wore a traditional Samoan-style dress made from tapa tree bark cloth shipped in specially.
Designer Vaeluaga Luse added: ‘This dress is symbolic of our culture and how she wanted so much to make our culture part of her and her boyfriend’s special night.’
As a grand final winner, Brian To’o, pictured here celebrating with his team-mates, will get a Premiership ring today to complement his fiancee’s engagement ring
To’o – notorious at the Panthers for his eye waxing and breakdancing – had already cemented his position as the mothers’ favourite of all the players in the team.
His pink Panthers jersey from the semifinal win over Melbourne Storm proved to be the most in demand jersey of the week – and the demands keep flooding in for him.
‘The requests we get from mothers is staggering,’ Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher told the Daily Telegraph this week. ‘Brian To’o is by far the most requested.
‘They ask for jerseys with his name on him, they ask for him to do dances for them, cheerios, visits. They just love everything he does.
‘The number of females that are now following us because of the pink jersey and because of players like Brian is unbelievable.
‘Young girls love the pink and they love the young players.’
The pre-match performance featuring Australian singer Kate Miller-Heidke and rock icon Ian Moss (pictured) divided television viewers
There were emotional scenes as Penrith Panthers hung on to beat South Sydney in an epic NRL grand final
At half-time, the Panthers led 8-6 after enjoying 60 per cent of possession, the 21st time this season they’ve been in front at the break – and have gone on to win each time.
Penrith looked like they’d sealed the game with 13 minutes to go when winger Stephen Crichton pounced on a Souths intercept to score.
The Bunnies hit back minutes later with a try in the corner but missed the kick from the sideline before halfback Adam Reynolds’ unsuccessful attempt at a two point field goal with a minute to go sealed a Panthers victory.
But two pre-match controversies earlier in the night threatened to overshadow what was a historic occasion for the NRL.
Johnathan Thurston (pictured) was delivering the acknowledgement of Australia’s traditional land owners when he was awkwardly cut off by the playing of the national anthem
The pre-match entertainment line-up of DJs The Stafford Brothers, Kate Miller-Heidke and Aussie rock icon Ian Moss divided viewers online.
Some branded the pre-match show ’embarrassing’ while others went as far as describing it worse than Meatloaf’s infamous performance at the 2011 AFL grand final.
Minutes later, Queensland rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston was delivering the moving acknowledgement of Australia’s traditional land owners when he was awkwardly cut off by the playing of the national anthem, which was sung by Miller-Heidke.
Panthers half-back Nathan Cleary won the Clive Churchill Medal as the best player on the ground while dad Ivan won his first premiership as coach.
‘Losing a grand final, it is a different kind of hurt,’ Nathan Cleary said of last season.
A dejected Adam Reynolds has played his last game for the Rabbitohs after missing several chances to send the grand final into extra-time
Exhausted but delighted Penrith Panthers Apisai Koroisau and Stephen Crichton celebrate grand final success
‘You can’t explain it; that is what makes it so much more special.
‘It is just special to do it with him (Dad Ivan). That embrace was emotional, but it is the best.’
Departing Souths coach Wayne Bennett leaves the Rabbitohs without a 10th premiership.
Rabbitohs stars Adam Reynolds, Dane Gagai and Benji Marshall also ended their stints at the club with defeat.
The Panthers went into the grand final as hot favourites, despite losing to Souths three weeks ago in week one of the final.
‘Everyone wrote us off,’ Panthers co-captain Issah Yeo told Channel Nine.
‘No-one gave us a chance. To come away with it is bloody unreal mate.’