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May 26: Lewis loses captaincy; Dragons dump Price

On this day, Luke Lewis loses the Penrith captaincy, coach Steve Price is sacked from the Dragons, and Rabbitohs legend Nathan Merritt was born.


It took a while for Nathan Merritt, who celebrates his 38th birthday today, to gain his first representative jerseys. And that seems strange for a winger-fullback who scored 154 tries in 237 games for South Sydney and Cronulla. He made his NRL debut in 2002 but wasn't picked for the Indigenous All Stars until 2010; for NSW City Origin until 2011; and played one game for the NSW Blues in 2013.


The Knights grand final hero in the 1997 premiership win over Manly, Darren Albert, is asked to take a 50% pay cut to remain with the club. He went to St Helens in Super League for the next four seasons before returning for one year with Cronulla in 2006.

Rabbitohs owner Russell Crowe
Rabbitohs owner Russell Crowe ©NRL Photos


Upheaval at South Sydney with Peter Holmes a Court dumped as chairman by business partner and co-owner Russell Crowe, former chairman Nick Pappas is reappointed, and former premiership-winning coach John Lang is brought in as football consultant to help embattled coach Jason Taylor. 


Penrith coach Ivan Cleary strips Test forward Luke Lewis of the captaincy during the State of Origin period in order to lighten his workload. Cleary names hooker Kevin Kingston as interim leader.


St George Illawarra CEO Peter Doust sacks coach Steven Price after a run of poor results and a loss of support from players. Assistant coach Paul McGregor is appointed interim Dragons coach for the remainder of the season, then head coach for 2015.

Steve Price at the helm of the Dragpns in 2013.
Steve Price at the helm of the Dragpns in 2013.


Rising Cronulla star Bronson Xerri is handed a provisional four-year suspension after testing positive to performance-enhancing drugs. The test, conducted by ASADA is November 2019, revealed traces of "exogenous" testosterone and included androsterone, etiocholanolone and 5b-androstane-3a, 17b-diol. The six-month lag between the test and the result being made public frustrates Sharks officials, who released experienced centre Josh Morris to the Sydney Roosters in March.


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

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