March 3: Birth of the 40/20 rule

On This Day in NRL history, some key rule changes are introduced, two star State of Origin centres are born, and the Storm win one of the most lopsided grand final rematches ever.

1963

Queensland Origin forward Gary Smith was born in the Queensland town of Nanango, making his first grade debut with Brisbane Brothers as a 17-year-old. He played for the Maroons in the 1987 Origin series and won a premiership with Brothers the same year. Smith spent his final years with North Sydney before his 1992 retirement.

1982   

Brent Tate was born on this day in Roma, Queensland. The hard-running centre made his NRL debut for Brisbane in 2001 and by the end of 2002 had represented his state and country as the Maroons regained the State of Origin title and Australia defeated New Zealand. In 2006 he enjoyed a dream season, winning man-of-the-match honours in Queensland's series-winning Origin III victory, then scoring in Brisbane's grand final win and Australia's win in the Tri-Nations final over New Zealand. He represented the Broncos, Warriors and Cowboys in a 14-year career, also playing 23 Origins and 26 Tests before his retirement in 2014.

Maroons centre-winger Brent Tate.
Maroons centre-winger Brent Tate. ©NRL Photos

1993   

NSW Origin and Brisbane Broncos star James Roberts was born. A lightning quick centre who made his NRL debut as a teenager in 2011, Roberts had stints at the Rabbitohs, Panthers and Titans before signing on with Brisbane for the 2016 season. He represented the Indigenous All Stars that year and made represented the Blues two years later as NSW reclaimed the State of Origin title. He is the nephew of former NRL player Amos Roberts and the cousin of fellow footballers Greg Inglis, Anthony Mundine, Albert Kelly, Brian Kelly and Tyronne Roberts-Davis.

1995

The Brisbane Broncos win the pre-season Tooheys Challenge Cup for the first time, beating Cronulla 30-14 in Albury after earlier defeats of Newcastle and North Sydney.

1997

The ARL approved eight rule changes, including new guidelines to combat dangerous throws, a ban on striking in the play-the-ball, a ban on tackled players playing the ball forward to themselves, and the introduction of the 40/20 kick rule. The video referee and the zero tackle rule would be introduced in 1998.

2000

The Melbourne Storm thrash the St George Illawarra Dragons 70-10 in round five at the MCG, having come back to beat the Dragons in the 1999 grand final.

Anthony Mundine, who had the ball knocked out of his hands while trying to score a try in that grand final, had labelled the Storm premiership pretenders before the match.

2006

Fresh from leading the Wests Tigers to the joint venture's first premiership as captain, also winning the Clive Churchill Medal for player of the grand final, Scott Prince announced he had signed a four-year deal with the Gold Coast Titans from 2007.

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