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Johns celebrates with Newcastle fans after their upset win in the 1997 grand final.

On this day, the great Arthur Beetson led the Maroons to victory in the first State of Origin match, Andrew Johns became the game's greatest pointscorer and David 'Wolfman' Williams had a to day to remember against the Eels.


Queensland triumph 20-10 in the inaugural State of Origin match at Lang Park. Mal Meninga kicks seven goals from seven attempts on his 20th birthday and Chris Close claims the man of the match award. Arthur Beetson is mobbed by ecstatic Queensland fans as he leaves the ground in his first game for his home state.

Full Match Replay: Maroons v Blues - Game 1, 1980

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Wests hold crisis talks with seven top players in a bid to avert a walk-out at the end of the season. Jason Taylor (Norths), David Gillespie (Manly), Terry Hill (Manly), Jason Lidden (Penrith) and Darren Britt (Canterbury) are strongly linked with rival clubs. The Western Reds are launched in Perth.


A crowd of 35,075 turn out for the return of Monday Night Football when Sydney City meet Brisbane at the Sydney Football Stadium. Broncos prop Andrew Gee pays heavily for a tap restart gaffe when Roosters fullback Ivan Cleary lands a last-minute penalty goal to give Sydney City a 12-10 victory.


Newcastle are told that all 17 players tested by the Australian Sports Drug Agency on June 21 have returned negative results.


Centre Ryan Girdler becomes the highest pointscorer in Penrith history, surpassing the total of former halfback Greg Alexander, On the same day a hamstring injury forces Sharks captain Andrew Ettingshausen from the field in a match against Auckland. It turns out to be his final appearance.

Former Panthers centre Ryan Girdler.
Former Panthers centre Ryan Girdler. ©NRL Photos


Andrew Johns is named at halfback in Australia’s Test team to meet New Zealand in Wellington. Coach Chris Anderson admits he lost a battle with selectors over his preference for Johns at hooker and Brett Kimmorley at halfback. Six players are selected to make their Test debuts.


Queensland great Wally Lewis lashes out at Test selections claiming that the naming of only six Queenslanders in the squad of 17 was a ‘return to the bad old days’. Maroons chairman of selectors Gene Miles says: ‘We’re back in the dark ages’.


St George Illawarra captain Trent Barrett loses his cool in an incident with Parramatta’s PJ Marsh which proves the turning point in a 40-14 defeat. Barrett is later suspended for one match for striking.

Former Dragons five-eighth Trent Barrett.
Former Dragons five-eighth Trent Barrett. ©NRL Photos


Newcastle captain Andrew Johns overtakes Jason Taylor as the highest pointscorer in the history of the premiership when he converts the try of team-mate Riley Brown, late in his team’s 46-12 loss to Parramatta. Johns draws criticism when he snubs a presentation ceremony organised by the Eels.


Manly winger David Williams crosses for four tries in the first half of the Sea Eagles’ 40-24 demolition of Parramatta at Brookvale Oval.

Former Manly winger David Williams.
Former Manly winger David Williams. ©NRL Photos


Parramatta’s troubled 2016 season takes another stunning turn when key recruit Kieran Foran formally requests a release from his multi-million dollar contract in order to take a complete break from the game to deal with personal issues. The latest drama fails to distract from the team’s on-field performance as they down Sydney Roosters 22-18 at Pirtek Stadium. The Eels lose winger Semi Radradra to a knee injury.


Manly coach Trent Barrett fumes over a 14-4 penalty count he says cost his team any chance of victory over Penrith at Pepper Stadium. The Panthers won 16-8 to remain in touch with the top eight.


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

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