Withers while playing for Wigan in 2007
16 May 1976 |
|Height||188 cm (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||93 kg (14 st 9 lb)|
|Source: NRL Stats|
Michael Withers (born 16 May 1976, in Sydney) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer of the 1990s, and 2000s who represented at international level for Ireland. He played club football in Australia for the Balmain Tigers of the National Rugby League, and in England with Wigan Warriors and Bradford Bulls of Super League. His usual position was at fullback.
While attending John Paul II Senior High School in Marayong, New South Wales, Withers was selected for the Australian Schoolboys team in 1994. In the same year Withers won the Australian Dally M Junior Player of the Year.
Withers played for Bradford Bulls at centre in the 1999 Super League Grand Final which was lost to St Helens R.F.C.. Withers qualified for Great Britain through his Irish grandparents and he played for Ireland in the 2000 World Cup. He played for the Bradford Bulls at fullback and scored 3 tries in their 2001 Super League Grand Final victory against the Wigan Warriors. As a result, he was awarded the Harry Sunderland Trophy. He is also the only player to have recorded a hat-trick in a Grand Final, doing so against Wigan Warriors for Bradford Bulls in 2001.
Withers was selected for Great Britain in the 2001 Ashes Series, but did not play due to injury concerns. Withers later withdrew himself from the Great Britain squad without playing a game. His initial selection in the Great Britain training squad by Australian coach David Waite created some controversy.
As Super League VI champions, the Bulls played against 2001 NRL Premiers, the Newcastle Knights in the 2002 World Club Challenge. Withers played fullback and scored two tries in Bradford's victory. Withers played for the Bradford Bulls at fullback, scoring a try in their 2002 Super League Grand Final loss against St. Helens. Withers played for the Bradford Bulls at centre in their 2003 Super League Grand Final victory against the Wigan Warriors. Having won Super League VIII, Bradford played against 2003 NRL Premiers, the Penrith Panthers in the 2004 World Club Challenge. Withers played at fullback in the Bulls' 22–4 victory. He also played for Bradford at fullback in their 2004 Super League Grand Final loss against the Leeds Rhinos. Withers played for the Bradford Bulls at fullback in their 2005 Super League Grand Final victory against Leeds Rhinos. He scored 108 tries in 170 games for the Bulls. He has won three Grand Finals and two Challenge Cups with the Bulls. As Super League champions Bradford faced National Rugby League premiers Wests Tigers in the 2006 World Club Challenge. Withers played at fullback in the Bulls' 30–10 victory.
- "Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League". Sporting Pulse. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
- "Withers out of Australia Test" (fee required). AAP Sports News. 20 November 2001. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
- "Withers turns his back on Britain" (fee required). AAP Sports News. 22 December 2001. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
- "Australian picked in Britain squad for Kangaroos Test series" (fee required). AAP Sports News. 18 October 2001. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
- "Withers retirement stuns Warriors". BBC. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2007.
- "Michael Withers Forced To Retire". Wiganwarriors.com. 27 June 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2007.