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December 18: Roos complete perfect tour; Benefit of doubt rule canned

On this day, Immortal Norm Provan was born, the Immortals complete their 1982 domination and the benefit of the doubt rule is scrapped.


Rugby league Immortal Norm Provan was born in the NSW Riverina town of Urana. 

Provan was a giant of the game in every respect. Apart from his imposing stature (he stood 193cm), he was a towering figure for St George in their record run of 11 premiership wins and for Australia in 18 Test and World Cup appearances.

At Test level, he formed one of Australia's most revered back-row partnerships with Queensland and later Western Suburbs second-rower Kel O'Shea.

He played in 10 of St George's 11 successive grand-final victories, the last five as captain-coach. He bowed out in 1965, when the Dragons triumphed 12–8 over Souths in front of 78,056 spectators.

In 2018 Provan was inducted into the Immortals, joining fellow Red V legends Reg Gasnier and John Raper in rugby league's most exclusive club.

The difficulty of tackling the angular and powerful Provan is captured here as he attempts to pierce the Newtown defence.
The difficulty of tackling the angular and powerful Provan is captured here as he attempts to pierce the Newtown defence.


Under the captaincy of Max Krilich and the coaching of Frank Stanton, the 15th Kangaroos become the first team to complete a tour of Great Britain and France undefeated. Their 23-9 second Test win against France completes the 24-match program.


Andrew Ettingshausen receives life membership of Cronulla, a rare tribute for an active player.


The NRL refuses to register Greg Inglis’s contract with South Sydney on the grounds that several third-party sponsorship agreements are not at “arm’s length” from the club. The NRL insists that four contracts worth a total of $200,000 must be included in the club’s salary cap.


Public memorial services for Arthur Beetson are held simultaneously at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.


The ARL Commission scraps the controversial “benefit of the doubt” interpretation used by video referees, instead handing greater say in the awarding of tries to the on-ground referees, with video referees only able to change a decision with ‘sufficient’ evidence that an incorrect decision has been made.

Joey Leilua in action for the Roosters in 2011.
Joey Leilua in action for the Roosters in 2011.


Sydney Roosters centre Joseph ‘BJ’ Leilua is released from the final two years of his contract with the club. Leilua signs a two-year deal with the Newcastle Knights on January 3.


Salary cap auditor Ian Schubert announces his resignation after 15 years with the NRL. Schubert is succeeded by Jamie L’Oste Brown.

Storm lock Dale Finucane.
Storm lock Dale Finucane. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos


Melbourne sign Canterbury forward Dale Finucane to a three-year deal.


Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor concedes that hooker Robbie Farah will be his team’s first-choice hooker in 2016. The Tigers announce Test prop Aaron Woods as the club’s new captain.


The Sydney Roosters land the prized signature of South Sydney second-rower Angus Crichton, who agrees to a three-year deal, beginning in 2019. 


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

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