July 8: Origin is born as Artie leads Maroons to glory; Wolfman scores four

On this day, the great Arthur Beetson led the Maroons to victory in the first State of Origin match, Ryan Girdler became Penrith's all-time leading scorer, while David 'Wolfman' Williams had a to day to remember against the Eels.

1980

Queensland triumph 20-10 in the inaugural State of Origin match at Lang Park. Mal Meninga kicks seven goals from seven attempts on his 20th birthday and Chris Close claims the man of the match award. Arthur Beetson is cheered from the ground in his first game for his home state.

1993

Wests hold crisis talks with seven top players in a bid to avert a walk-out at the end of the season. Jason Taylor (Norths), David Gillespie (Manly), Terry Hill (Manly), Jason Lidden (Penrith) and Darren Britt (Canterbury) are strongly linked with rival clubs. The Western Reds are launched in Perth.

1996

A crowd of 35,075 turn out for the return of Monday Night Football when Sydney City meet Brisbane at the Sydney Football Stadium. Broncos prop Andrew Gee pays heavily for a tap restart gaffe when Roosters fullback Ivan Cleary lands a last-minute penalty goal to give Sydney City a 12-10 victory.

Ivan Cleary in his playing days with the Warriors.
Ivan Cleary in his playing days with the Warriors. ©NRL Photos

1998

Newcastle are told that all 17 players tested by the Australian Sports Drug Agency on June 21 have returned negative results.

1999

Referee Paul McBlane is stood down from first grade after failing his third fitness test in 1999.

2000

Centre Ryan Girdler becomes the highest pointscorer in Penrith history, surpassing the total of former halfback Greg Alexander, On the same day a hamstring injury forces Sharks captain Andrew Ettingshausen from the field in a match against Auckland. It turns out to be his final appearance.

Former Panthers centre Ryan Girdler.
Former Panthers centre Ryan Girdler. ©NRL Photos

2001

Andrew Johns is named at halfback in Australia’s Test team to meet New Zealand in Wellington. Coach Chris Anderson admits he lost a battle with selectors over his preference for Johns at hooker and Brett Kimmorley at halfback. Six players are selected to make their Test debuts.

2002

Queensland great Wally Lewis lashes out at Test selections claiming that the naming of only six Queenslanders in the squad of 17 was a ‘return to the bad old days’. Maroons chairman of selectors Gene Miles says: ‘We’re back in the dark ages’.

2004

Queensland winger Matt Sing is ruled out for the rest of the season after breaking his jaw in an accidental collision with Blues five-eighth Brad Fittler

2005

St George Illawarra captain Trent Barrett loses his cool in an incident with Parramatta’s PJ Marsh which proves the turning point in a 40-14 defeat. Barrett is later suspended for one match for striking.

Former Dragons five-eighth Trent Barrett.
Former Dragons five-eighth Trent Barrett. ©NRL Photos

2006

Newcastle captain Andrew Johns overtakes Jason Taylor as the highest pointscorer in the history of the premiership when he converts the try of team-mate Riley Brown, late in his team’s 46-12 loss to Parramatta. Johns draws criticism when he snubs a presentation ceremony organised by the Eels. Eels rookie Jarryd Hayne steals some of the limelight by scoring four tries. Parramatta halfback Tim Smith is ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken collarbone.

2011

Wests Tigers management react furiously to an announcement by St George Illawarra that they have signed Tigers utility back Tim Moltzen to a three-year contract. Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys accuses the Dragons of “arrogance” and “disrespect” by making the announcement on game day for the Tigers and insists that the Tigers had not formally granted Moltzen a release from the final year of his contract.

2012

Manly winger David Williams crosses for four tries in the first half of the Sea Eagles’ 40-24 demolition of Parramatta at Brookvale Oval.

Former Manly winger David Williams.
Former Manly winger David Williams. ©NRL Photos

2013

Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce concedes he will be playing for his State of Origin future in the series decider. “I’ve got to win, full stop,” he said.

2016

Parramatta’s troubled 2016 season takes another stunning turn when key recruit Kieran Foran formally requests a release from his multi-million dollar contract in order to take a complete break from the game to deal with personal issues. The latest drama fails to distract from the team’s on-field performance as they down Sydney Roosters 22-18 at Pirtek Stadium. The Eels lose winger Semi Radradra to a knee injury.

2017

Manly coach Trent Barrett fumes over a 14-4 penalty count he says cost his team any chance of victory over Penrith at Pepper Stadium. The Panthers won 16-8 to remain in touch with the top eight.

 

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