Thursday, 1 December 2011

Arthur Beetson

News arrived today that the legend of the Australian game, Arthur Beetson, had suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 66. It is very sad news, of course, not least because the big feller managed to transcend the sport in Australia and as the first indigenous captain of the Kangaroos became a significant figure in changing social attitudes. It helped that he was a fabulous player.
This writer had the pleasure of meeting Beetson in 2003. It was the Princess Royal in Brentford where England were to play victim to Australia as they warmed up for an Ashes series. It looked like a glass pint pot - it really did - but it turned out to be plastic and as I lifted it from the bar with the requisite force for a glass pot, it very nearly went flying into the face of the person behind me. That person was Artie Beetson, an imposing figure then even though he was in his late 50s. "You nearly facking spilled that on me", he said with a smile as wide as christmas day on his face. I was 28 and reduced to the status of errant schoolboy.

Here's a clip made up from the Roosters back-to-back titles of 1974 and '75. Boy, the lad could play and boy, he'll be missed

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