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April 19: Price's Kangaroos recall; Joey v Matty

On this day, Andrew Johns gets the better of older brother Matthew, Steve Price returns to the Australian team after a five-year spell, while a cranky Craig Smith threatens to walk.


Penrith and Balmain meet in the first ever Winfield Cup match to be played in Darwin. Before the city’s biggest ever sporting crowd, Penrith win 14-0 at Richardson Park.


Newcastle halfback Andrew Johns wins the contentious Australian halfback position for the Anzac Test ahead of Brisbane’s Allan Langer. Laurie Daley is named captain and Newcastle’s Robbie O’Davis wins the fullback role ahead of Brisbane’s Darren Lockyer.


North Queensland fail in their appeal against the loss of two competition points for fielding a 14th player in their Round 4 clash against Parramatta.


A bitter St George Illawarra captain Craig Smith claims he is being victimised by the NRL over his running style and is seriously considering playing out his career in England, while Eric Grothe jnr signs a three-year performance-based contract with the Sydney Roosters.

Former Dragons captain Craig Smith.
Former Dragons captain Craig Smith. ©NRL Photos


The long-awaited clash of the Johns brothers turns into a fizzer as Newcastle crush the Sharks 52-8 at EnergyAustralia Stadium. The loss equalled the worst in the Sharks’ history.


Bulldogs’ captain Steve Price is recalled to the Australian team for the first time since 1999 after second-rower Petero Civoniceva fails a team medical because of a knee injury.


Sydney Roosters coach Ricky Stuart is reprimanded by the NRL but escapes a fine for criticising referee Paul Simpkins following the dismissal of Adrian Morley. Stuart described Simpkins’ decision as ‘amateurish’ and ‘disgraceful’.

Former Roosters coach Ricky Stuart.
Former Roosters coach Ricky Stuart. ©NRL Photos


Former Canberra, St George and Western Suburbs halfback Ivan Henjak is appointed coach of the Brisbane Broncos after accepting a two-year deal. Henjak becomes only the second coach in the 22-year history of the Brisbane club.


Referees' boss Robert Finch admits referees Ben Cummins and Gerard Sutton sent the wrong player to the sin-bin in the Parramatta-Souths match after Nathan Cayless was marched for stripping. Replays showed Daniel Mortimer was the player responsible. Both referees are stood down from Round 7 matches.


The Canberra Raiders achieve the greatest comeback in the club’s history when they recover from a 22-0 deficit after 25 minutes to sink Wests Tigers 30-22 at Leichhardt Oval. A bungle by match officials, who disadvantage Wests Tigers with a short tackle count, steals some of the gloss from the Raiders’ effort.

Karmichael Hunt made a comeback with the Broncos in 2021.
Karmichael Hunt made a comeback with the Broncos in 2021.


Veteran code-hopper Karmichael Hunt commences training with the Broncos; his first step towards a possible comeback with the club at the age of 34.


This article contains information from the official records of NRL historian David Middleton.

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