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December 9: Bennett quits as Kangaroos coach; Artie given fitting farewell

On this day, the Kangaroos thump France, Wayne Bennett quits as Australian coach and Arthur Beetson is given an emotional farewell.


Fred Jones was born. A long-serving hooker at Manly, he captained the Sea Eagles to first-grade premierships in 1972-73 and played 241 games from 1961-75 as well as three Tests for Australia.


Les Kiss was born. The speedy winger burst onto the premiership scene with North Sydney in 1986 and completed a golden year by making his Origin debut with Queensland and breaking into the Australian ranks for a mid-season Test against New Zealand, then making the Kangaroo Tour at the end of the season.

Knee injuries hampered his career but he managed to play 100 games for the Bears until his retirement at the end of 1993. After his playing career, he worked as a defensive coach in rugby union with the Springboks, NSW Waratahs and Ireland.

Former Dragons hooker Mark Riddell.
Former Dragons hooker Mark Riddell. ©NRL Photos


Mark Riddell was born in Sydney. A goal-kicking hooker, he quickly became a fan favourite with St George Illawarra supporters with his unusual goal-kicking style in which he would put one hand out before putting boot to ball. He played 92 matches for the Dragons from 2001-04 then another 92 in a four-year stint at Parramatta before spending two seasons with Wigan in the Super League. Riddell returned to the NRL with the Roosters in 2011 but retired mid-season.


Australia won the second Test in Perpignan 34-10. France scored two tries and provided much tougher opposition than expected.


The ARL announces plans to launch a team in Melbourne in 1998.


Federal Court Justice Peter Hely dismisses South Sydney’s application for an interlocutory injunction, ending the Rabbitohs’ hopes of playing in the 2000 premiership. Souths president George Piggins tells faithful fans that the fight is not over. NRL chief executive David Moffett says he will be happy to examine the further possibility of a joint venture.


The Sun-Herald reports that NRL director of legal and business affairs, David Gallop, may be a surprise choice for NRL chief executive.


Wayne Bennett quits his Australian coaching post and announces a four-year extension of his deal with the Broncos. He gives no reason for his abrupt resignation from the Australian position but admits the decision was made the day after the 24-0 loss to New Zealand in the Tri Nations final.


Melbourne hooker Cameron Smith agrees to terms with the Storm in a new deal that will keep him with the club until the end of 2013.

The Cameron Smith legacy


Wests Tigers halfback Robert Lui is named in Queensland’s Emerging State of Origin squad, along with other newcomers Jake Friend, Matt Gillett, Ben Barba, Dane Nielsen, Justin O’Neill, Daly Cherry-Evans, Martin Kennedy and Ben Te’o.


English forward Sam Burgess is cleared to start the 2011 season with South Sydney after undergoing surgery to repair a shoulder injured during the Four Nations tournament.


Brisbane international Justin Hodges returns to pre-season training after spending the entire 2010 season sidelined with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Rugby league Immortal Authur Beetson in action.
Rugby league Immortal Authur Beetson in action. ©Rugby League Week/NRL Photos


Arthur Beetson is farewelled in a moving funeral ceremony at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Oval. Among the mourners are Beetson’s team-mates from the 1975 grand final victory, flown to Brisbane by club chairman Nick Politis and members of Queensland’s inaugural State of Origin team of 1980.


Former Newtown player and long-serving administrator Frank Farrington dies in Sydney, aged 89.


NSW coach Laurie Daley enlists the services of Blues legends Andrew Johns, Brad Fittler, Danny Buderus, Anthony Minichiello and Mark O’Meley to assist in the team’s preparations in 2017.


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

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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