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September 25: Soward sinks Tigers; Raiders send Mal out a winner

On this day, Mal Meninga leads Canberra to grand final glory in his last match as a Raider and Jamie Soward sends St George Illawarra into the title decider.


Alan Wilson is born. The versatile Cronulla Shark, who played mainly in the second row but also lined up on the wing, represented NSW in the 1989 State of Origin series.

His brother, Craig Wilson, also played first grade for the North Sydney Bears and Illawarra Steelers while their father Graham was a Newtown and Cronulla stalwart in the 1960s.


Wayne Pearce is ruled out of the Kangaroo tour after failing a fitness test on his injured knee.


Roosters halfback Gary Freeman wins the prestigious Dally M Medal at a grand final breakfast at Sydney’s Regent Hotel.

Kerrod Holland crosses for the Bulldogs.
Kerrod Holland crosses for the Bulldogs. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos


Kerrod Holland is born in Singleton. The goal-kicking centre made his NRL debut for Canterbury in 2016 and announced his retirement at the end of the club's 2020 campaign.


Canberra send captain Mal Meninga out on a winning note with a commanding 36-12 grand final victory over Canterbury. David Furner claims the Clive Churchill Medal as man of the match and later becomes one of seven Canberra players chosen in the Kangaroo squad. Furner emulates the feat of his father, Don who toured with the Kangaroos in 1956-57.

Meninga intercepts a pass in his last game as a Raider

Suspended prop John Lomax’s replacement Paul Osborne emerges as an unlikely hero for the Raiders when he lays on the first two tries with magical offloads. Cronulla create club history with victories in both lower grades.

Meninga achieves his ambition of being the first player to tour four times with the Kangaroos and the first to captain two Kangaroo tours. Eight new caps are named in the Kangaroo squad. For the first time the Kangaroos will leave without a St George representative.


Queensland premier Peter Beattie renews calls for Brisbane to host a grand final.


Bill Harrigan is appointed grand final referee for the eighth time, surpassing the record of Darcy Lawler (1956-61, 1963).


Bulldogs captain Steve Price suffers a serious knee injury during his team’s 30-14 preliminary final victory over Penrith. Price vows to do everything possible to play in the grand final. Ultimately, he was ruled out. Penrith’s loss signals the end of the careers of Ryan Girdler and Martin Lang.

Bulldogs skipper Steve Price in 2004.
Bulldogs skipper Steve Price in 2004. ©NRL Photos


Minor premiers Parramatta turn in one of their poorest efforts of the season, falling 29-0 to North Queensland in the second preliminary final. The result sets up a fairytale grand final between the Cowboys and Wests Tigers.


A record crowd of 74,549 watches Parramatta advance to the grand final with a 22-12 defeat of the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.

Bulldogs v Eels: Preliminary Final, 2009

But there is drama for the Eels when fullback Jarryd Hayne is placed on report for sliding-knees first into Bulldogs tryscorer Bryson Goodwin and hooker Matt Keating is reported for a “chicken wing” style tackle on Bulldogs prop Ben Hannant. The result brings an end to the career of Bulldogs legend Hazem El Masri.


A 74th-minute field goal by five-eighth Jamie Soward propels St George Illawarra into the grand final after a gripping preliminary final against Wests Tigers. The Dragons win 13-12.

Jamie Soward kicks the decisive field goal in the 2010 preliminary final.
Jamie Soward kicks the decisive field goal in the 2010 preliminary final. ©NRL Photos


Parramatta’s board dumps coach Daniel Anderson despite assurances that he would see out the final year of his contract. Melbourne assistant coach Stephen Kearney is officially appointed on October 6.


A chronic knee injury forces South Sydney’s former Test forward Michael Crocker to announce his retirement.


Storm star Billy Slater is cleared to play in the grand final after a three-man judiciary panel finds him not guilty of a shoulder charge on Cronulla winger Sosaia Feki. Panellists Sean Garlick, Bob Lindner and Mal Cochrane take almost an hour to arrive at the verdict after submissions are heard from Slater and defence lawyer Nick Ghabar in one of the highest-profile hearings in recent history.

Alex Johnston is mobbed after his fifth try against the Roosters in round 20, 2020.
Alex Johnston is mobbed after his fifth try against the Roosters in round 20, 2020. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos


South Sydney hand their arch-rivals the Roosters one of the heaviest defeats in the club’s history with a 60-8 decimation at ANZ Stadium. Winger Alex Johnston leads the Rabbitohs’ 10-try onslaught with his second career haul of five tries. Johnston becomes the sixth player to score 100 tries for the foundation club.


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

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels 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.

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