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April 23: St George's first game; The Pearl shines

On this day in rugby league history, the Red V kicks off, a State of Origin star is born and The Pearl dazzles for the Broncos.


St George play their first premiership match – coincidentally on St George’s Day – at the Sydney Sports Ground. In a match described as "not remarkable for brilliancy", Saints are beaten 4-3 by Glebe. Local junior George Carstairs scores the first try for the club. The famous club won 16 premierships as a stand-alone entity, including the record 11 straight titles from 1956-66, before becoming part of a joint venture with the Steelers to form St George Illawarra in 1999.


Kiwi international winger Jason Williams was born. The fleet-footed flanker played 13 Tests for New Zealand and 145 premiership games from 1987-98 in a journeyman career which began at Western Suburbs and included stints with Easts, Souths, Canterbury and Penrith.


Paul Vaughan was born in Canberra. The towering prop made his NRL debut in 2013 for the Raiders and played 85 matches for the Green Machine before joining St George Illawarra in 2017. He made his State of Origin debut the following year, one of many debutants in Brad Fittler's side which upset Queensland 2-1.

Blues forward Paul Vaughan.
Blues forward Paul Vaughan. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos


A crowd of 14,672 delighted to the attacking skills of Brisbane centre Steve Renouf, who collected four tries in Brisbane’s 36-14 defeat of Balmain at Optus Oval in Melbourne.


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