To’o celebrates NRL grand final win with sideline proposal


Panthers winger Brian To’o has softened the hearts of even the most hardened footy fans by proposing to his partner just minutes after winning the NRL grand final with the Panthers.

To’o, 23, made a beeline for the sideline after his side beat the Rabbitohs 14-12 to where his partner Sala Moesha Crichton-Ropati was sitting — and with blood dripping down his face from a mid-match knock, popped the question.

She said yes. 

“I thought he was just coming to give me a hug like he usually does,” she told Channel Nine after the match.

To’o was named Winger of the Year at this week’s Dally M awards after scoring 15 tries in just his third NRL season, in a year fraught with COVID disruptions and being away from home. 

The fan favourite was also part of NSW’s winning State of Origin side this year, making his Blues debut with two tries in Game 1. 


He said in a post-grand final interview he felt “so lucky” not only to have gained a premiership ring, but to have gained a fiance as well. 

“It’s been a massive year for not only myself but my family and my community as well,” he told NRL great Cameron Smith.

“I want to thank my beautiful partner for saying yes, and full credit to the boys for getting us the win.

“It’s a really special moment to have, not only with my partner but for my family back home in lockdown.”


Crichton-Ropati, who is related to To’o’s teammate Stephen Crichton, relocated to Queensland to be in the NRL’s family bubble but said being away from her own family was a tough decision to make.

“It was 50-50 for me to come up here,” she said.

“But being here for each other made it even better.”


It was the cherry on top of a massive night for the Panthers, who won their first premiership in almost two decades after a tough loss to the Melbourne Storm in last year’s grand final. 

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary told ABC Sport that last season’s defeat was a driving force for his young side.

The road to 2021 grand final glory had a few speedbumps for To’o — he was ruled out of the semi-final due to an ankle injury, but was able to see out the rest of the Panthers’ successful season.


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