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January 14: Birth of the Bluebags; Widdop becomes Dragons skipper

On this day, the Newtown club was formed, Bulldogs switch from Belmore to Olympic stadium and Gareth Widdop becomes St George Illawarra skipper. 

1908   

Newtown follows the lead of Glebe to become the second club side formed. Strong efforts had been made by local rugby administrators to prevent players from switching codes, but one by one, they made the jump. The Newtown rugby union club ceased to exist in 1912.

The Bluebags, who later became the Jets, won the premiership in 1910, 1933 and 1943 but were expelled at the end of the 1983 season, two years after they made their last grand final appearance.

1982

Chris Heighington was born. A sturdy second-rower who finished his career at prop, he made his debut with the Wests Tigers where he was a member of the 2005 premiership-winning team. He switched to the Sharks after a lengthy stint at the Tigers and came off the bench for Cronulla's 2016 grand final winners. He finished his career with a season at Newcastle in 2018.

Chris Heighington wins his second premiership in 2016.
Chris Heighington wins his second premiership in 2016.

1982

Braith Anasta was born. A talented five-eighth, he came through the junior ranks at South Sydney but switched to Canterbury where he made his NRL debut in 2000. He was a key member of the 2004 premiership-winning squad before joining the Roosters three years later. After captaining the team during his seven-year stint, which included the 2010 grand final loss to St George Illawarra, he finished his career with two seasons at the Wests Tigers.

Anasta played four Tests for Australia, plus another for Greece in 2013, as well as 10 Origins for NSW. 

1992   

Larry Maloney resigns as chief executive of the Gold Coast.

1994   

Easts chief executive Brian Anderson quits after less than 12 months with the club.

Rabbitohs fullback Alex Johnston.
Rabbitohs fullback Alex Johnston. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

1995

Alex Johnston was born. A speedy outside back, he made his debut for Souths in 2014 and played on the wing for the Rabbitohs in their grand final win that year over Canterbury. A prolific try scorer, he racked up 83 four-pointers in his first six seasons at the Rabbitohs and also earned his international stripes with Australia and then Papua New Guinea in 2019.

1998   

The Gold Coast sign former Parramatta teammates Troy Campbell and Chris Lawler.

1999   

Canterbury announce a two-year deal to play their home matches at the 110,000 capacity Stadium Australia. Chief executive Bob Hagan says the move was designed specifically to ensure the future of the club.

2001   

South Sydney chairman George Piggins says there is no chance of a Souths-St George Illawarra Charity Shield match being staged again.

“The Dragons: They sold us out,” Piggins said, referring to a sworn affidavit by the club saying it would be detrimental if Souths were returned to the competition.

2004   

Parramatta slam an NRL decision to ban second-rower Nathan Hindmarsh from the World Sevens because of a one-match suspension carrying over from the 2003 season. Despite the ban, the Sevens tournament would not count towards the suspension.

2016   

Newcastle five-eighth Jarrod Mullen is disciplined by new coach Nathan Brown for drinking alcohol while he was recovering from injury. The former NSW five-eighth is relegated to reserve grade for the club’s opening trial in February.

2016   

St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor announces Gareth Widdop will captain the Dragons in 2016, replacing Ben Creagh, who led the club for three seasons (2013-15). Creagh will remain as club captain.

 

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