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November 18: Fiji upset Kiwis; Roberts leaves Souths for Sea Eagles

On this day, a Hall of Famer was born, Fiji shock the rugby league world and Ian Roberts announces his switch to the Sea Eagles.


Hall of Famer Viv Thicknesse was born in Temora. A representative rugby union halfback, he joined Easts in 1931 and went to become a Kangaroo in 1933–34, toured with the Australian team to New Zealand in 1935, played in the first two Ashes Tests of 1936, and was a key figure in his club's domination of Sydney football in the mid-1930s. 


Bruce Starkey was born. A hard-working lock, he was a regular first-grader for St George from 1975-82, lining up at lock in the grand final wins in 1977 and '79.


Trent Barrett was born in Temora. The talented five-eighth made his debut for Illawarra in 1996 and was called up to the NSW team in State of Origin the following season.

A member of the 1999 St George Illawarra foundation team which lost the grand final, he won the Dally M Medal the next year and went on to play 11 Origins for the Blues and 15 Tests for Australia. After a two-year stint with Wigan, he returned to finish his career with Cronulla in 2009-10, finishing with 235 games in the NRL.

Trent Barrett during his playing days at St George Illawarra.
Trent Barrett during his playing days at St George Illawarra. ©NRL Photos


Widnes provide Australia with toughest club match of tour. Australia win 15-8 and players complain of eye-gouging by a Widnes forward.


Ian Roberts signs a four-year deal with Manly, rejecting a lucrative offer from the Auckland Warriors and two other clubs to remain with Manly until 1997.


All Black John Timu signs with Canterbury for 1995. Mal Meninga is tempted by an offer to play for Canberra in the World Club Challenge match against the British champions in 1995.


Nick Cotric was born. The powerfully built outside back made his NRL debut for the Raiders in 2018 and graduated to the NSW team the following year, lining up at wing for the Blues in the opening match of the series before being part of Canberra's team which marched into the grand final. He signed a lucrative contract to play for Canterbury in 2021.


Trent Barrett signs a four-year deal with St George Illawarra worth between $800,000 and $1 million.


New Zealand crush England 49-6 to qualify for the World Cup final.


Melbourne sign Sydney Roosters utility David Kidwell for two seasons.


Businessman Peter Holmes a Court reveals that he and actor Russell Crowe would spend $13.5 million to take a 75 percent share in the South Sydney Football Club. Souths, meanwhile strike a $3 million funding deal with Souths Juniors, which is separate to any dealing with the two prospective financiers.


Australia end Great Britain’s Tri-Nations campaign with a 33-10 victory at Suncorp Stadium. The crowd of 44,358 is the biggest Test crowd in Australia since 1974.


Female referees Belinda Sleeman and Kasey Badger make history when they are named in the Referee Elite Performance Squad for part-time and full-time referees and could be controlling NRL games in 2014.

NRL referee Belinda Sharpe.
NRL referee Belinda Sharpe. ©Jason O'Brien/NRL Photos


Kiwi Test forward Adam Blair is granted a release from Wests Tigers to allow him to link with the Brisbane Broncos on a three-year deal.


Fiji score one of international rugby league’s greatest upsets when they down New Zealand 4-2 in a tryless World Cup quarter-final in Wellington. The Kiwis miss out on a place in the Cup final for the first time since 1995.


Tonga struggle to overcome minnows Lebanon in their quarter-final at Christchurch, before advancing to the semi-finals with a 24-22 win.


The Kiwis knock off the Kangaroos for top spot in the latest world rankings. New Zealand have built on their 2018 wins over Australia and England and their recent 2-0 series defeat of Great Britain and victory in the mid-season Oceania Cup Test against Tonga to take the top position from the Kangaroos despite losing to them in Wollongong in October, 2019.

Since winning the 2017 World Cup final, Australia have only played four Tests - winning two and losing two.


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