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Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith at their 2018 testimonial.

On this day, ARL wins Super League legal battle, JT and Cam face off in their testimonial game and Kylie Hilder grabs a slice of history.


The long-awaited judgment in the ARL-Super League case is handed down by Justice James Burchett in the Federal Court, in Sydney. He launches a blistering attack on the Super League organisation and its officials, describing them as "dishonest, deceptive and secretive". ARL lawyers claim they will seek $100 million in restitution. The ARL claim a victory by knockout and are confident all 29 orders will be granted by Justice Burchett when he resumes his judgment on February 26. Super League officials and players remain defiant. The ARL announces its 20-team competition will kick off on March 1.


Newcastle coach Warren Ryan tips centre Matthew Gidley to play for Australia "in the not-too-distant future".

Matt Gidley playing for the Knights in 1999.
Matt Gidley playing for the Knights in 1999. ©NRL Photos


Newcastle gain a measure of revenge for their preliminary final loss to the Sydney Roosters in 2000 by scoring a hard-fought 25-18 win over the Roosters at the SFS.


Popular former Manly and Australian team trainer Brian "Sheriff" Hollis dies in Sydney, aged 63.


Wayne Bennett is appointed Australian coach for the 2004 season, replacing Chris Anderson, who was dumped following his controversial selection of Darren Smith for the third Ashes Test against Great Britain.

Shane Webcke and Wayne Bennett in 2004.
Shane Webcke and Wayne Bennett in 2004. ©NRL Photos


Tim Sheens re-signs with the Wests Tigers for a further three seasons.


Wests Tigers prop Ryan O'Hara suffers a badly broken jaw in his team’s 34-28 Foundation Cup loss to the Sydney Roosters. O'Hara requires surgery and faces up to two months on the sidelines. Teammate Todd Payten is concussed after a heavy collision with Roosters forwards Nate Myles and Willie Mason.


Kiwi international Jason Cayless announces his retirement after struggling with chronic shoulder injuries. The 31-year-old played made only three appearances with the Wests Tigers in his return to the NRL in 2010 after four seasons in England.


Cronulla prop Bryce Gibbs suffers an Achilles tendon injury as the Sharks down Newcastle 22-16 in a trial at Tamworth’s Scully Park. He faces up to six weeks on the sidelines.

Bryce Gibbs in 2013.
Bryce Gibbs in 2013. ©NRL Photos


Salary cap pressures force Canberra to release winger Edrick Lee and industrious back-rower Shaun Fensom. Lee immediately links up with premiers Cronulla while Fensom finds a new home with the North Queensland Cowboys.


Living legends of the game Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith are honoured with a testimonial game at Suncorp Stadium. Over 20,000 fans brave torrential rain to support the pair as North Queensland and Melbourne turn on an entertaining trial match. Thurston conjures the winning play in the final minute with a precise kick for winger Kyle Feldt to score, handing the Cowboys a 16-14 victory.


Former Jillaroos and NSW Women's State of Origin rep Kylie Hilder is appointed coach of the NSW women's Origin team for 2021. She becomes the first female Origin coach in the professional era. Geoff Toovey is named assistant.


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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