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February 1: Rabbitohs win the NRL, Nines double

On this day in rugby league history, two star No.9s are born, the Knights lose a World Club Challenge and Souths taste Nines glory.


Roosters hooker and co-captain Jake Friend was born in Nambour, Queensland. A one-club player who debuted for the Tricolours in 2008, Friend played in premiership-winning seasons in 2013, 2018 and 2019 and made his international debut for Australia in the 2016 Four Nations. He played 264 games for the Roosters before being forced into premature retirement in 2021 due to repeated concussions.


Cameron McInnes was born in Sydney. McInnes started his NRL career at South Sydney in 2014, joining St George Illawarra after three years at the Rabbitohs. McInnes was named the Dragons' player of the year in 2019, having topped the league for tackles made per game. He made it back-to-back player of the year gongs in 2020 with another standout season for the Red V. His 2021 season was ruined by a serious knee injury and in 2022 he joins forces with Craig Fitzgibbon at the Sharks.

No restrictions in McInnes' training


The Bradford Bulls continued the outstanding record of British teams in the World Club Challenge with a commanding 41-26 defeat of an error-riddled Newcastle Knights in Huddersfield.


Parramatta’s first international, Ian Johnston, passed away on the NSW Central Coast at the age of 85.


Reigning NRL premiers South Sydney claimed their second piece of silverware in four months by winning the final of the Auckland Nines at Eden Park. A golden try to retired winger Matt King hands Souths an 18-14 victory over Cronulla in the final. Souths win $370,000 prizemoney.

Warriors forward Tohu Harris.
Warriors forward Tohu Harris. ©Keegan Carroll/NRL Photos


Melbourne's Kiwi Test forward Tohu Harris signed a four-year deal with the Warriors, commencing in 2018.


The Cronulla Sharks are rocked by news that rising front-rower Fine Kula has been diagnosed with brain cancer and has been forced to announce his immediate retirement. The 21-year-old New Zealand-born forward was close to earning a top-30 contract with the Sharks.


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

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