September 7: Wesser breaks record; Coyne scores four

On this day, Rhys Wesser set a new standard for fullbacks, Gary Coyne starred for the Raiders like he never could've imagined, while Danny Buderus was the toast of his peers.


Canberra second-rower Gary Coyne notches four tries as the Raiders knock Manly from the semi-final race with a 34-26 win in the minor semi-final. Meanwhile, Dale Finucane is born in Bega, NSW. Finucane spent his first few seasons with the Bulldogs before joining the Storm in 2015, winning a premiership in 2017.


Ricky Stuart is named Canberra’s first winner of the Rothmans Medal following a ceremony at the Sheraton Wentworth Hotel. Canterbury’s Terry Lamb is second and Easts’ Nigel Gaffey third.


Herman Ese'ese is born in Auckland and Tom Opacic is born in Redcliffe. After debuting with the Bulldogs in 2015, Ese'ese spent a year with the Broncos before joining the Knights. Opacic had two seasons with the Broncos before linking with the Cowboys in 2019.

Knights prop Herman Ese'ese.
Knights prop Herman Ese'ese. ©Shane Myers/NRL Photos


Canberra bows out of the premiership race in a controversial 16-14 loss to St George at the Sydney Football Stadium. Saints’ use of the “mousetrap ploy” in the lead-up to the decisive try comes under heavy fire.


Canterbury great Terry Lamb is named the new coach of the Wests Tigers.


The Sharks open the 2001 final series with a grafting 22-6 victory over Brisbane at Toyota Park. Five-eighth Adam Dykes stars for the Sharks only days after undergoing surgery on an injured knee cartilage. Sharks coach John Lang describes the NRL’s McIntyre finals system as a “pig’s diddle, which rewards too many teams and which no-one understands". Meanwhile Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett fails to attend his third post-match press conference in succession and faces censure from the NRL.

Former Sharks playmaker Adam Dykes.
Former Sharks playmaker Adam Dykes. ©NRL Photos


Penrith claim the second minor premiership title in their 37-season history following a 40-22 defeat of Parramatta. The Panthers break their crowd record for the third time in 10 weeks. Panther Rhys Wesser breaks the premiership record for most tries in a season by a fullback, finishing the regular season with 24 four-pointers


Newcastle hooker Danny Buderus is named Dally M player of the year after staving off challenges from Sydney Roosters halfback Brett Finch and Penrith captain Craig Gower. Brisbane fullback Karmichael Hunt is named rookie of the year and Bulldogs’ mentor Steve Folkes the coach of the year.


Melbourne claim their third successive minor premiership title with a 42-4 defeat of Souths at Olympic Park.


South Sydney officials investigate an altercation between coach Jason Taylor and departing Kiwi international David Fa’alogo at Forresters Hotel in Surry Hills. The club’s board issue Taylor with a breach notice (September 10) and give him five days to respond. Co-owner Russell Crowe accepts responsibility for the incident (September 16) and offers an apology to Souths fans and sponsors and NRL boss David Gallop, admitting that his club had tainted the finals series. Crowe says he should have reminded Taylor of his obligations to the club and the game before the incident took place.

Former Souths coach Jason Taylor.
Former Souths coach Jason Taylor. ©NRL Photos


Sydney Roosters five-eighth Todd Carney completes a remarkable resurrection from bad boy to poster boy when he claims the Dally M Medal. Carney wins by a point from Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah. Roosters’ coach Brian Smith is named coach of the year and lock Braith Anasta claims the award for the NRL’s best captain.


Chairman of the NRL match review committee, Greg McCallum, announces his decision to stand down after 10 years in the role.

Greg McCallum addresses fierce rivals Benny Elias and Steve Walters.
Greg McCallum addresses fierce rivals Benny Elias and Steve Walters. ©NRL Photos


South Sydney prop George Burgess is faced with missing two finals games when he is charged with contrary conduct for throwing a water bottle from the interchange bench aimed at Roosters forward Kane Evans in the Round 26 clash at Allianz Stadium.


Former Canberra Raiders forward Anthony Seibold is appointed South Sydney coach, two days after the Rabbitohs parted ways with premiership-winning coach Michael Maguire. Seibold served an apprenticeship under Maguire and assisted Queensland coach Kevin Walters with the Maroons’ Origin team in 2016 and 2017.


Melbourne five-eighth Cameron Munster lands a late field goal to sink South Sydney 29-28 to open the Finals Series in spectacular fashion at AAMI Park. The game is rated one of the finest finals clashes in a decade.




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