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August 8: Merritt's high five; Joey's medal blow; Billy's big call

On this day, Nathan Merritt was on fire for the Rabbitohs, Billy Slater called time and suspension cost Joey Johns a shot at a third straight Dally M Medal.

1907

The New South Wales Rugby League is formed at a meeting at Bateman’s Crystal Hotel in George Street, Sydney. Henry Hoyle is elected president, James J. Giltinan secretary and cricketing legend, Victor Trumper treasurer.

1925    

South Sydney complete an undefeated season in first grade and claim premierships in all three grades. The Rabbitohs’ dominance of the first grade competition was so commanding - they won the minor premiership by 10 points - that the League cut short the premiership and brought forward the knockout City Cup competition.

1991

Tyrone Peachey is born in Wellington, NSW. After debuting with the Sharks in 2013, Peachey played 109 games over five seasons with the Panthers before joining the Titans this season. He was chosen for the NSW Origin team in 2018 but wasn't retained for the 2019 series.

Titans centre Tyrone Peachey.
Titans centre Tyrone Peachey. ©NRL Photos

2001     

Newcastle captain Andrew Johns is suspended for two matches by the NRL judiciary after failing to have a striking charge downgraded. The suspension rules Johns ineligible to win a third consecutive Dally M award.

2011

Winger Nathan Merritt becomes the first Souths player in over 50 years to score five tries in a match when the Rabbitohs hand Parramatta a 56-6 drubbing at ANZ Stadium. Merritt’s haul catapults him to second place on the club’s all-time try-scoring list. 

Billy Slater farewelled the Storm in 2018 after 319 games for the club.
Billy Slater farewelled the Storm in 2018 after 319 games for the club. ©Mark Dadswell/NRL Photos

2018     

Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater announces that he will draw the curtain on his career at the end of the season. “I’d like to thank the game of rugby league – it gave me heroes when I was a boy and a chance to become one myself,” Slater said. “It’s given me opportunity, security, friendship and values. For this I am forever in debt to our game.”   

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