May 9: Farewell to a legend; JT's amazing 24 hours

On this day, John O'Neill lurched into the world, Wayne Bennett backed calls for two referees, while the great Jack Gibson passed away.

1908

Australia play in their first Test match, against the New Zealand side that had returned from its long tour to Great Britain. New Zealand win a thrilling match 11-10, with Dally Messenger missing a late goal which could have won the game for Australia.

1943

John O'Neill is born in Griffith, NSW. Nicknamed 'Lurch', O'Neill was known for his aggressive style during his playing days with Souths and Manly. He won four premierships with the Rabbitohs and two more with the Sea Eagles, also playing 10 games for Australia. O'Neill died in 1999 after a four-year battle with cancer at the age of 56. More than 4000 mourners attended his funeral.

1987

Scott Bolton is born in Innisfail, Queensland. Bolton has played his entire career with the Cowboys since debuting in 2007 and was part of the club's 2015 premiership-winning side.

1990

New South Wales end an eight-match drought to defeat Queensland 8-0 in the lowest scoring State of Origin match to that time. A record crowd of 41,235 watch the match at the Sydney Football Stadium. Mark McGaw scores a classic Origin try that started in the Blues' half off a Laurie Daley break. One of the game's tallest players, McGaw somehow bent over to catch Ricky Walford's pass at his feet and score in the corner.

1992

Will Hopoate is born in Manly, NSW. The son of former NRL player John Hopoate, he spent two years with the Sea Eagles before undertaking a two-year Morman mission. He then played two seasons with Parramatta before joining the Bulldogs in 2016.

Bulldogs centre Will Hopoate.
Bulldogs centre Will Hopoate. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

1993

The Broncos were one of the most entertaining teams in the early 90s, as they showed with a wonderful try against the Illawarra Steelers. The ball went through several sets of hands and there was always someone backing up to keep the play alive before Terry Matterson capped it off with a memorable try.

1999

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett throws his weight behind a call for two referees to be used in the NRL. A crowd of almost 30,000 turns out to farewell Allan Langer at ANZ Stadium.   

2003

A 78th minute try to winger Matt Utai gives the Bulldogs a 32-26 win over the Sydney Roosters at Telstra Stadium in a match billed as ‘the grand final that never was’.

Former Bulldogs winger Matt Utai.
Former Bulldogs winger Matt Utai. ©NRL Photos

2008

Coach of the Century Jack Gibson dies at a southern Sydney nursing home just hours before the Centenary Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Captain Cameron Smith inspires Australia to a comprehensive 28-12 defeat of New Zealand in the Centenary Test, played 100 years to the day after the two nations met in the first league Test match in Australia. Winger Greg Inglis produces a stunning display of athleticism to lunge beyond the dead-ball line to retrieve the ball for centre Mark Gasnier to score the opening try.   

2009

Test halfback Johnathan Thurston completes a remarkable 24 hours by scoring 20 points for North Queensland in a 24-20 defeat of St George Illawarra, after contributing 18 points to Australia’s Test win over New Zealand. Dragons winger Brett Morris becomes only the fourth player in premiership history to score four tries on a beaten side.   

2010

Newcastle equal the premiership record for the highest score by a losing team when they are pipped 38-36 by the Gold Coast Titans at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

2011

Manly fullback Brett Stewart finally notches the landmark of 100 career tries after two years of injury and off-field anguish when he crosses for a hat-trick in the Sea Eagles’ 20-0 defeat of Canberra at Brookvale Oval.   

2015

Golden Boot winner Shaun Johnson produces two stunning pieces of individual brilliance to steer the Warriors to a 20-16 victory over Cronulla.    

 

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