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28 February 1976 |
Auburn, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||5 ft 11 in (181 cm)|
|Source: Rugby League Project|
Darren "DJ" Albert (born 28 February 1976 in Auburn, New South Wales) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer of the 1990s and 2000s. A New South Wales State of Origin representative winger, he played his club football for the Newcastle Knights (with whom he won the 1997 ARL Premiership), St. Helens (with whom he won the 2002 Super League Grand Final and the 2004 Challenge Cup) as well as the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. Albert also represented Country Origin twice in his career (1997 and 2001).
Albert is remembered for racing over to score the try in the dying seconds of the 1997 ARL Grand Final against Manly that gave Newcastle a fairytale maiden premiership. After receiving a pass from Andrew Johns 15 metres from Manly's line, Albert stepped inside Sea Eagles Prop Mark Carroll and sped away to score under the posts to give the Knights a 22-16 win over the defending ARL premiers. Albert also played a prominent role in helping the Knights to reach the Grand Final. In the Preliminary final the week before, he raced across from the far wing to tackle a runaway Matt Seers into touch when it appeared the North Sydney fullback was set to score. The Knights went on to qualify for their first Grand Final appearance with a 17-12 win over the Bears, denying Norths what would have been their first Grand Final appearance since 1943.
Albert played for St. Helens on the wing in their 2002 Super League Grand Final victory against the Bradford Bulls. Having won Super League VI, St Helens contested the 2003 World Club Challenge against 2002 NRL Premiership-winners, the Sydney Roosters. Albert played at fullback in Saints' 38-0 loss.
One of the main features of Albert's game was his outstanding pace. In 1999 on The Footy Show, Albert defeated other NRL speedsters such as Andrew Frew (Manly) and Justin Loomans (Souths) for the unofficial title of the NRL's "fastest man" (jokingly referred to by race MC Andrew Voss as not just league's fastest man, but as a race to find the "World's fastest man"). Albert ran a hand-held 10.7 seconds for the race held on a wet night at E.S. Marks Field in Sydney, and actually slowed down over the last 10 metres as he had the race won suggesting a sub 10.5 was possible. Later, in 2004 after his move to St Helens, he officially won the crown of 'fastest man in Super League' at the Robin Park athletics ground located next to the DW Stadium in Wigan.