On this day in rugby league history, the birth of a Storm (and Roosters) superstar, more bad luck for Tiger Tim, and Darius Boyd takes Maroons' top honour.
The inaugural captain of the Newcastle Knights, New Zealand international Sam Stewart, was born in Wellington. Stewart played 16 Tests for the Kiwis and 40 matches as Knights captain between 1988 and 1990, leaving the club after the 1992 season for England where he played for the London Crusaders and Hull Kingston Rovers. The second-rower was made the Knights' first life member in 1992.
Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters great Cooper Cronk was born in Brisbane. A five-time Dally M Halfback of the Year, two-time Dally M Player of the Year and a winner of the Clive Churchill Medal and Golden Boot Award, Cronk was a key part of the Storm's grand final-winning "Big Three" alongside Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, then helped deliver back-to-back premierships in his two seasons at the Roosters in 2018 and 2019. He played 372 NRL matches after debuting in 2004 plus 22 State of Origin appearances for Queensland and 38 Tests for Australia.
Cronk reflects on career
The luckless run of Wests Tigers fullback Tim Moltzen continued when he suffered a fractured kneecap during pre-season training. It was the third long-term injury the Central Coast junior had suffered in four years, including a ruptured ACL that ended his 2013 season in round seven. He would spend two more years at the Tigers and signed a one-year deal with Manly before retiring due to injury in 2016.
Retiree reflections: Darius Boyd
Queensland fullback Darius Boyd was awarded the Ron McAuliffe Medal as the Maroons' State of Origin player of the year. Queensland had won the series 2-1, their 10th series win in 11 years. Boyd's superb career came to and end in 2017 after 28 games and 17 tries, one of the best strike rates in the 40-year history of Origin.
This article contains information from the official records of NRL historian David Middleton.