David Fairleigh

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David Fairleigh
Personal information
Nickname Daisy
Born (1970-09-01) 1 September 1970 (age 44)
Wyoming, New South Wales
Playing information
Height 190 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 107 kg (16 st 12 lb)
Position Second-row, Prop
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1989–99 North Sydney 193 36 0 0 144
2000 Newcastle Knights 26 1 0 0 4
2001 St Helens 27 8 0 0 32
Total 246 45 0 0 180
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1991–97 New South Wales 10 0 0 0 0
1994–96 Australia 15 2 0 0 8
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2009– Cook Islands 7 4 0 3 57
Source: Rugby League Project

David Fairleigh (born 1 September 1970 in Wyoming, New South Wales) is an Australian rugby league coach and former professional footballer of the 1990s and 2000s. An Australian international and New South Wales State of Origin representative forward,[1] he played the majority of his club football in Australia for the North Sydney Bears, winning 1994's Rothmans Medal. This was followed by a season at the Newcastle Knights, and another in England at St Helens, with whom he won the 2001 Challenge Cup final before retiring. He is currently the head coach of the Central Coast Bears and the Cook Islands national side.

Playing career[edit]

While attending Gosford High School, Fairleigh played for the Australian Schoolboys team in 1988.[2] He made his first grade debut for the Bears in round 17 of 1989 and for ten seasons from 1990 was a permanent first grade player and North Sydney stalwart. In State of Origin game III of 1991, Fairleigh was selected for the New South Wales team on the interchange bench. He was not selected in 1992 but appeared again in 1993 off the interchange bench in games I & II and as a prop-forward in the run-on side of game III.

Although not selected for Origin in 1994, Fairleigh won the Rothman's Medal in 1994 with a record tally of 33 votes. Fairleigh earned a place in the Australian Test side against France when Bradley Clyde withdrew. At the end of the 1994 NSWRL season, he was one of the first forwards selected for the 1994 Kangaroo Tour. He appeared in twelve minor tour matches and two Tests scoring five tries on tour. He had been selected as a reserve for the second Test but withdrew on the morning of the match with a virus. He played in the third Test against Great Britain and in the sole test against France, scoring a try in the 74-0 drubbing. His Origin (and national) representative careers benefitted from the fracas of the Super League war and he appeared in all three games of the 1995 and 1997 series for a career total of ten appearances for the Blues. He was also selected in the Australian team to play against Fiji and Papua New Guinea in 1996. He was second in the Rothmans Medal in 1996 behind teammate Jason Taylor.

Following North's merger with Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at the end of 1999 Fairleigh moved to Newcastle and was in 2000 named the club's Player of the Year. 2001 saw him finish his club career with a season for St Helens in England. As Super League V champions, St Helens RLFC played against 2000 NRL Premiers, the Brisbane Broncos in the 2001 World Club Challenge. Fairleigh played as a prop forward in Saints' victory.

Post playing[edit]

In 2006 an expert panel of judges selected a North Sydney team of the century in which Fairleigh was selected in the starting thirteen in the second-row.[3]

Coaching career[edit]

In 2006 Fairleigh was the Premier league coach at the Newcastle Knights but his contract was not renewed in the changes that occurred in early 2007 relating to the arrival of new head coach Brian Smith.[4] In 2008 Fairleigh worked as an assistant coach at the Parramatta Eels club.[5] In 2010 Fairleigh was the coach of the Central Coast Bears.[6] In 2009, he was appointed head coach of the Cook Islands. In 2010 and 2011 Fairleigh worked as an assistant coach to Ivan Cleary at the New Zealand Warriors.[7][8][9] Starting in 2012 David is now working as an assistant coach again to Ivan Cleary, but this time at the Penrith Panthers.[1]

David coached the Cook Islands national rugby league team in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. 'The Kukis' going into the Tournament had never won a World Cup match. The team lost to the USA, and Tonga, but they won their last match against the Tournament co-hosts Wales creating history for the sport of rugby league in the Cook Islands.


  1. ^ "State of Origin player details". Archived from the original on 2007-10-24. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  2. ^ "SportingPulse Homepage for Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League". SportingPulse. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  3. ^ "Norths Team of the Century". 
  4. ^ "SMH Fairleigh Dumped". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2006-06-03. 
  5. ^ "Fairleigh ready for my job: Hagan". Fox Sports News (Australia). 2008-10-25. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  6. ^ Proszenko, Adrian (07-02-2010). "Heavy Hitter". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia: Fairfax Digital). Retrieved 2010-02-06.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ Warriors know how to rebound New Zealand Herald, 2 September 2012
  8. ^ Bears coach stays in NRL with Warriors northsydneybears.com.au, 23 February 2010
  9. ^ Warriors named in Cook Islands squad voxy.co.nz, 22 September 2011


  • Whiticker, Alan & Hudson, Glen (2006) The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players, Gavin Allen Publishing, Sydney
  • Big League's 25 Years of Origin Collectors' Edition, News Magazines, Surry Hills, Sydney

External links[edit]