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Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith addresses team.

On this day, rugby league was born in Australia with matches at Birchgrove Oval and Wentworth Park in Sydney, Matt Parsons breaks his drought and Billy Slater gets a lucky break.

1908

The opening day of club rugby league in Australia. Double-headers are played at Wentworth Park and Birchgrove Oval, with around 3000 people turning up to both venues.

At Wentworth Park, Easts beat Newtown 32-16 and Glebe down Newcastle 8-5. At Birchgrove, Souths beat Norths 11-7 and Balmain whitewash Wests 24-0.

On the same day, 23 members of the Western Suburbs Rugby Union club meet at the Horse and Jockey Hotel at Flemington to form a ninth premiership club, Cumberland.

The star-studded Eastern Suburbs team of 1908.
The star-studded Eastern Suburbs team of 1908.

1988

Michael Jennings was born. The centre with blistering pace made his debut in 2007 for Penrith and gives notice of things to come with 15 tries in 23 games. He has played five seasons for the Eels after a successful stint at the Roosters.

After scoring 154 tries in 298 first-grade games and also representing NSW, Australia and Tonga, he was provisionally suspended by the NRL late in 2020 after allegedly testing positive to performance-enhancing drugs.

2003

Front-rower Matt Parsons scores his first try in 74 games for Newcastle in the Knights’ 32-24 defeat of Cronulla at Toyota Park. It is the Sharks’ fifth consecutive loss.

Matt Parsons scored three tries in his 164-game career.
Matt Parsons scored three tries in his 164-game career.

2005

Gold Coast’s bid for inclusion in the NRL in 2007 gathers momentum when the local council moves a step closer to agreeing to fund a new $50 million stadium .

2008

Newcastle’s 110kg prop Danny Wicks sprints 60 metres to score a remarkable try in his team’s 34-20 defeat of the Sydney Roosters at Gosford’s Bluetongue Stadium.

2013

Tonga overpower Samoa 36-4 in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 10,143 at Centrebet Stadium. Earlier, New South Wales score their second successive victory over Queensland in the Under-20s State of Origin match. Canberra halfback Mitch Cornish wins man-of-the-match honours in the Blues’ 36-12 win.

2015

Cronulla produce a boilover in diabolical weather conditions to sink premiers South Sydney 18-10 at Remondis Stadium. Wind gusts of 90km per hour and torrential rain lead NRL officials to contemplate postponing the game. The appalling conditions restrict the attendance to 3,978.

2018

Melbourne fullback Billy Slater is awarded a try in highly controversial circumstances after he is ruled to have legitimately drop-kicked the ball into the in-goal before touching down in his team’s 34-20 defeat of the Broncos.

Slater admitted he accidentally dropped the ball and believed the try should not have been awarded. Storm captain Cameron Smith, coach Craig Bellamy and Brisbane’s Wayne Bennett agree with him.

 

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