Arthur Beetson

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Arthur Beetson
Arthur Beetson (26 October 2008).jpg
Beetson in 2008
Personal information
Full name Arthur Henry Beetson
Nickname Big Artie
Born (1945-01-22)22 January 1945
Roma, Queensland, Australia
Died 1 December 2011(2011-12-01) (aged 66)
Paradise Point, Queensland, Australia
Playing information
Height 188 cm (6 ft 2 in)[1]
Weight 16 st 8 lb (105 kg)[1]
Position Prop
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1964–65 Redcliffe
1966–70 Balmain Tigers 74 6 0 1 20
1968 Hull K. R.
1971–78 Eastern Suburbs 131 17 0 0 51
1979–80 Parramatta Eels 16 1 0 0 3
1981 Redcliffe
Total 221 24 0 1 74
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1966–77 New South Wales 18 3 0 0 9
1980–81 Queensland 3 0 0 0 0
1966–77 Australia 29 1 0 0 3
Coaching information
Club
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1977–78 Eastern Suburbs 45 29 1 17 64
1981–82 Redcliffe
1985–88 Eastern Suburbs 97 42 9 48 43
1992–93 Cronulla-Sutherland 44 17 0 27 39
1994 Eastern Suburbs 6 2 0 4 33
Total 192 90 10 96 47
Representative
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1981–84 Queensland 10 7 0 3 70
1983 Australia 1 0 0 1 0
1989–90 Queensland 6 4 0 2 67
Source: NRL Stats

Arthur Henry "Artie" Beetson OAM (22 January 1945 – 1 December 2011[2]) was an Australian rugby league footballer and coach. He represented Australia, NSW and Queensland from 1964 to 1981. His main position was at prop. Beetson became the first Indigenous Australian to captain his country in any sport [2] and is frequently cited as the best post-war forward in Australian rugby league history. He also had an extensive coaching career, spanning the 1970s to the 1990s, coaching Australia, Queensland, Eastern Suburbs, Redcliffe Dolphins and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. On 1 December 2011, Beetson died after a heart attack, aged 66.

Playing career[edit]

Beetson's mother was a member of the Stolen Generation.[3] His rugby league career began with Redcliffe in the Brisbane Rugby League competition between 1964 and 1965. After winning the club's player of the year award in 1965 as well as the Brisbane Rugby League premiership with them, he moved to Sydney to play in the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership with the Balmain Tigers. In his first year with them, 1966, he played in the grand final against St. George and was also selected to make his representative debut for Australia against England and scored two tries. Beetson played with Balmain from then until 1970, with a spell in England with Hull Kingston Rovers in 1968.[4] He later joined the Eastern Suburbs club where he stayed from 1971 to 1978, where he captained the side to the 1974 and 1975 premierships. During the 1976 NSWRFL season, Beetson captained Eastern Suburbs to victory in their unofficial 1976 World Club Challenge match against British champions St. Helens in Sydney. This Easts team would go down as one of the greatest club sides in rugby league history. During this period Beetson also played with distinction for Australia and in 1974 he was named as Rugby League Week's player of the year.

He possessed great strength and toughness, a surprising turn of speed for a big man and was unequalled as a ball player. His skill as a footballer was matched only by his skill as an eater, earning nicknames such as 'Meat Pie Artie'. He is known and immortalised by his performance of eating 11 hot dogs before a gala dinner for the Australian team in 1973.

His big frame, pure speed and brilliant ball skills won countless games for all his teams. His off-loading and attacking workrate broke the mould for front rowers and changed the way they played the game.

After two years with Parramatta in 1979 and 1980, capped off with a man of the match performance in the Eels 8-5 Tooth Cup Final win over Balmain. Beetson achieved further immortality as captain of Queensland in the inaugural 1980 State of Origin game, won 20–10 by Queensland on 8 July. He returned to Queensland for one final year of playing with his old Redcliffe team in 1981. He also captained Queensland for the final 'traditional' interstate match in 1981 and at the end of the season the Dolphins were beaten in the final minute of the grand final by Southern Suburbs.

In 1987 he received the Medal of the Order of Australia "in recognition of service to the sport of Rugby League".

Post-playing[edit]

Beetson's coaching career began while still playing for Easts in 1977. He was captain-coach of Redcliffe in 1981 and that season was appointed coach of the Queensland State of Origin side, taking them to repeated series victories over New South Wales from 1981 to 1984 . He had a brief, but unsuccessful period, coaching Australia in 1983 before returning to coach his former club Eastern Suburbs, from 1985 to 1988, being named Coach of the Year in 1987 and Cronulla-Sutherland for the 1992 and 1993 seasons, where he enjoyed mixed success.

Part-way through the 1994 NSWRL season Beetson briefly replaced the sacked Mark Murray as coach of the Eastern Suburbs Roosters.

Beetson has also spent many years years as a recruitment officer for both Eastern Suburbs and Queensland.

In the post-1999 NRL season an Aboriginal side managed by Arthur Beetson defeated the Papua New Guinean national team. He then pushed, unsuccessfully, for an Australia Day match against the Australian national team.[5]

Accolades[edit]

Big Artie the autobiography.jpg

Beetson is often regarded as Australia's best ever forward, and in 2000 he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal, then in 2001 the Centenary Medal "for service to Australian society through the sport of rugby league". He was inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame in 2003. In May 2004 his book, Big Artie: The Autobiography was published. Also that year he became the seventh selected post-war "Immortal" of the Australian game with Churchill, Raper, Gasnier, Fulton, Langlands and Wally Lewis.

In February 2008, Beetson was named in a list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia.[6][7] Beetson went on to be named in the front-row in Australian rugby league's Team of the Century. Announced on 17 April 2008, the team is the panel's majority choice for each of the thirteen starting positions and four interchange players.[8][9] Beetson chose to boycott the presentation ceremony, stating that he did not agree with the direction rugby league is taking.[10] In June 2008, he was chosen in the Queensland Rugby League's Team of the Century at second-row.[11] In 2008, rugby league in Australia's centenary year, Beetson was named at second-row forward in the Toowoomba and South West Team of the Century.[12] He was made a life member of the Sydney Cricket Ground and a plaque in the Walk of Honour there commemorates his career. He is a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

As part of the Centenary of League celebrations in 2008, Beetson was retrospectively awarded the Clive Churchill Medal as Man of the Match in the 1974 Grand final.[13]

In 2009 Beetson was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame.[14]

Death[edit]

On 1 December 2011, Beetson died following a heart attack while riding his bicycle at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast, Queensland. He was 66.[15]

Public memorial[edit]

The Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh announced that a bronze statue of Beetson was to be situated at Lang Park.[16] It was unveiled on 3 July 2012.[17] The Australian Senate commemorated Beetsons's life on 7 February 2012 with a speech by Senator Rhiannon, seconded by Senator<http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/genpdf/chamber/hansards/24adae21-1d61-4769-9c99-2f9970fb951a/0210/hansard_frag.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf></http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/genpdf/chamber/hansards/24adae21-1d61-4769-9c99-2f9970fb951a/0210/hansard_frag.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf> Arbib and Senator Joyce. http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/genpdf/chamber/hansards/24adae21-1d61-4769-9c99-2f9970fb951a/02e10/hansard_frag.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "World Series". Rugby League Week (Rushcutters Bay, NSW: Rugby League Week Pty Ltd) (1975–1976): pg 85. 
  2. ^ a b Rugby league great Arthur Beetson dead after suffering heart attack while exercising article at dailytelegraph.com.au
  3. ^ Toby Creswell and Samantha Trenoweth (2006). 1001 Australians You Should Know. Australia: Pluto Press. p. 641. ISBN 978-1-86403-361-8. 
  4. ^ Queensland Team of the Century article at australianrugbyleague.com.au
  5. ^ Hanna, Jim (16 October 1999). "Artie wants first pick, then a Test against Fittler and Co.". AAP Sports News (Australia: The Gale Group, Inc.). Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "Centenary of Rugby League – The Players". NRL & ARL. 23 February 2008. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  7. ^ Peter Cassidy (23 February 2008). "Controversy reigns as NRL releases top 100 players". Macquarie National News. Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  8. ^ Todd Balym (17 April 2008). "Johns, Meninga among Immortals". Fox Sports Australia. Retrieved 17 April 2008. 
  9. ^ "Team of the Century Announced". NRL & ARL. 17 April 2008. Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2008. 
  10. ^ Glenn Jackson (17 April 2008). "Immortal Beetson boycotts centenary ball". Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 17 April 2008. [dead link]
  11. ^ Ricketts, Steve (10 June 2008). "Locky named No.1 but Wal's still King". The Courier-Mail. Archived from the original on 20 May 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  12. ^ Leslie, Cameron (21 August 2008). "Rugby League Team of the Century named". The Chronicle. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  13. ^ James Dampney (1 October 2008). "Greats to get man-of-match awards". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 3 January 2008. 
  14. ^ "Mr Arthur Beetson OAM". Queensland Sport Hall of Fame. qsport.org.au. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Arthur Beetson dies after heart attack - Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Retrieved 1 Dec 2011.
  16. ^ Beetson to be immortalised at Lang Park - Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Retrieved 4 Dec 2011.
  17. ^ Artie statue officially unveiled - Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Retrieved 3 July 2012.

Further reading[edit]

Preceded by
Jack Gibson
1974–76
Coach
Eastern Suburbs Roosters

1977–1978
Succeeded by
Bob Fulton
1979–1982
Preceded by
Laurie Freier
1983–84
Coach
Eastern Suburbs Roosters

1985–1988
Succeeded by
Russell Fairfax
1989–1990
Preceded by
Allan Fitzgibbon
1988–91
Coach
Cronulla Sharks

1992–1993
Succeeded by
John Lang
1994–2001
Preceded by
Mark Murray
1991–94
Coach
Eastern Suburbs Roosters

1994
Succeeded by
Phil Gould
1995–1999
Preceded by
John McDonald
1980
Coach
Queensland

1981–1984
Succeeded by
Des Morris
1985
Preceded by
Wayne Bennett
1986–1988
Coach
Queensland

1989–1990
Succeeded by
Graham Lowe
1991–1992
Preceded by
Frank Stanton
1978–1983
Coach
Australia national rugby league team

1983
Succeeded by

1983 -