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January 4: Sonny Fai drowning tragedy; Kangaroos aggrieved

On this day, Warriors winger Sonny Fai disappears off the Auckland coast and the Kangaroos are left miffed by a touch judge's decision.


One of the most controversial incidents in the history of Anglo-Australian rugby league is played out at Swinton's Station Road ground.

Australian halfback Joe Busch is denied a fair try after a touch judge rules he has touched the corner post. Referee Bob Robinson is reported to have said: "Fair try, Australia, but I am overruled." The Test finishes in a 0-0 draw and England go on to retain the Ashes.


Australian selectors name a 14-man squad to play in the proposed World Nines tournament in South Africa in February. 


Tragedy strikes when star Warriors rookie Sonny Fai disappears in the surf after rescuing his younger brother off Auckland's Bethells Beach. He had been touted as a future international after playing 15 NRL games in his debut season in 2008. His body was never recovered.

Leeds star Kevin Sinfield.
Leeds star Kevin Sinfield. ©NRL Photos


British magazine Rugby League World crowns 32-year-old Leeds lock Kevin Sinfield as the world's best player by awarding him the Golden Boot award.


Historic British club Bradford is liquidated after having been placed in administration for the third time in four years in November 2016.


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

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