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January 27: CRL is formed; Mal and Mike team up

On this day, the Country Rugby League is formed; while the North Sydney Bears get a new head coach; and Queensland coach Mal Meninga announces a new assistant.


The Country Rugby League of NSW is established. The first Country team to play under the CRL banner, later defeats City 13-11. In October 2019, the CRL is merged with the NSWRL to unify the administration of the sport in the state.


Former Illawarra and Hunter Mariners coach Graham Murray confirms he will take over as first grade coach of the North Sydney Bears in 2000. However, the club is forced to merge with Manly at the end of the season and Murray ends up at the Roosters that season, taking them to the grand final.


Bulldogs lock Tony Grimaldi is appointed captain for the team’s World Club Challenge clash with Leeds on February 4. Steve Price was the club captain but missed the NRL grand final win over the Roosters through injury. Andrew Ryan was the stand-in captain that day.


Former Newcastle and Parramatta coach Michael Hagan is confirmed as assistant coach to Queensland State of Origin mentor Mal Meninga. Hagan takes over from Neil Henry. Former Maroon second-rower Trevor Gillmeister replaces Billy Johnstone as head trainer.

Michael Hagan (centre) with Daly Cherry-Evans and Mal Meninga
Michael Hagan (centre) with Daly Cherry-Evans and Mal Meninga ©Charles Knight/NRL Photos


A host of Origin greats descend on Parramatta Stadium for a charity match to raise funds for victims of the Queensland floods. Following a call to arms from Blues great and Triple M personality Mark Geyer, an array of legends including Gorden Tallis, Gary Belcher, Kerry Boustead, Ben Elias, Mark Carroll and Nathan Blacklock dust off the boots and rip in to raise more than $350,000 for the Premier's Disaster Relief Fund. The Maroons win the match 20-16 in front of a boisterous crowd of 22,000, which also gets to enjoy entertainment from Aussie rock legends INXS.


The game is rocked by the untimely deaths of two junior stars Regan Grieve (Mackay Cutters) and Hayden Butler (Melbourne Storm). The conversation intensifies about how to strengthen and better support player mental health.

Help is available 24/7 for anyone who has mental health issues by calling Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14

For further information on the NRL State of Mind program, click here


Penrith coach Anthony Griffin makes the surprise decision to name 24-year-old fullback Matt Moylan as captain for 2016 ahead of more experienced candidates Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace.

Former Penrith captain Matt Moylan
Former Penrith captain Matt Moylan ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos


QRL chairman Peter Betros announces his immediate retirement, costing him the chance of a place on a revamped ARL Commission. Businessman Bruce Hatcher takes over as QRL chairman.


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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