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December 1: Game mourns Big Artie; Rams put out to pasture

On this day, Arthur Beetson dies at the age of 66, the Adelaide Rams are wound up and the Sharks sack Chris Anderson.


Bob Fulton was born in Warrington. One of the game's original ''Immortals'', Fulton holds the unique distinction of winning premiership titles and Ashes series as a player, captain and coach. Raised in Wollongong, Fulton joined Manly as an 18-year-old and in 11 years with the Sea Eagles never played anything other than first grade.

He was included in Australia's World Cup squad in 1968, and went on to play 35 Tests and World Cup matches for Australia. Fulton won premierships with Manly in 1972, 1973 (when his two tries paved the way for victory over Cronulla) and 1976, when he captained the Sea Eagles to victory in his final game for the club.

He then accepted a rich offer to join Easts, played two years there, and then turned to coaching, steering Manly to premiership titles in 1987 and 1996, and coaching Australia from 1989 to 1998.

Fulton passed away on May 24, 2021 after a battle with cancer.

Fulton and coach Frank Stanton embrace at full-time of the 1976 Grand Final after Manly claimed their third premiership with a 13-10 win over Parramatta.
Fulton and coach Frank Stanton embrace at full-time of the 1976 Grand Final after Manly claimed their third premiership with a 13-10 win over Parramatta.


Wally Lewis was born in Brisbane. A young lock in the inaugural Origin game in 1980, he made 30 appearances as five-eighth and captain between 1981 and 1991, winning eight man-of-the match awards. Lewis made his Test debut in 1981, against France, the only Queensland-based player in the side. 

He lost the starting five-eighth job to Brett Kenny on the 1982 Kangaroo tour, but regained the No. 6 jumper in 1983 and was unchallenged as Australian captain from 1984 to 1989.

Lewis dominated Brisbane club football in the '80s, with Valleys and then Wynnum-Manly. He was a good but rarely great player with the Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast Seagulls, but his legendary status was already sealed.

Following his retirement, a bronze statue was erected at Lang Park, and in 1999 he was named an ''Immortal''.

Wally Lewis was the Broncos' inaugural captain.
Wally Lewis was the Broncos' inaugural captain. ©NRL Photos


Australian and Great Britain meet on a frozen patch of ground at Warrington’s Wilderspool Stadium to decide the fate of the Ashes. Tommy Raudonikis captains Australia and second-rower Ken Maddison enjoys the greatest day of his football career when he scores twice in Australia’s 15-5 win.


News Limited withdraws its funding from the Adelaide Rams, forcing the club to close down.


Australian second-rower Gorden Tallis is appointed captain of the Broncos for 2001.

Gorden Tallis inducted into the Hall of Fame


Cronulla terminate the final season of Chris Anderson’s $400,000 per year coaching contract. Anderson launches plans for a multimillion-dollar legal action. Utility Phil Bailey says he is considering invoking a get-out clause in his contract and walking away from the club in response to the manner in which Anderson was sacked.


Australian coach Wayne Bennett draws heavy flak for his failure to front the media on his return to Australia. Bennett sidesteps waiting reporters and television cameras by making a secret exit from the international terminal in Brisbane. 


Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston is a surprise omission from the World XIII side announced by English magazine Rugby League World. The team named was: Brent Webb (NZ); Matt King, Mark Gasnier, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis; Darren Lockyer, Stacey Jones (NZ); Ruben Wiki (NZ), Cameron Smith, Roy Asotasi (NZ), Jamie Peacock (GB), Nathan Hindmarsh, Ben Kennedy. (Australia unless stated)


Tributes pour in for league Immortal Arthur Beetson who dies of a heart attack while bike-riding near his home on the Gold Coast, aged 66. The NRL announce that Beetson will be honoured at the All Stars game in February with a trophy struck in his honour. Players from both teams are to have Beetson’s name embroidered on their jerseys.

Johnathan Thurston.
Johnathan Thurston. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos


Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston is awarded the prestigious Golden Boot award by Rugby League World magazine.


Canterbury self-report a salary cap breach of $100,000 to the NRL however a sanction is likely to be limited to a fine equivalent to the breach rather than the loss of competition points.


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

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour 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.