Jock Butterfield

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Jock Butterfield
Personal information
Full name John Rutherford Butterfield[1]
Nickname Jock
Born (1932-01-18)18 January 1932
Taylorville, New Zealand
Died 14 February 2004(2004-02-14) (aged 72)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Playing information
Position Hooker, Second-row, Prop
Years Team Pld T G FG P
19??–?? Brunner
1953–57 Sydenham
1958–63 Brunner
1964 Manly-Warringah 10 0 0 0 0
1965 Leeton
1966–69 Mount Isa
1970–72 Cloncurry
Total 10 0 0 0 0
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1953–57 Canterbury
1953–62 South Island
1954–63 New Zealand 36 7 0 0 21
1958–63 West Coast

John Rutherford "Jock" Butterfield (18 January 1932 – 14 February 2004) was a New Zealand rugby league footballer of the 1950s and 1960s who has been named amongst the finest that country produced during the 20th century.[2] A New Zealand international representative forward, he played his club football in various places in New Zealand, New South Wales and Queensland. Butterfield held the record for most test caps for the New Zealand national team until overtaken by Gary Freeman. In 2007 he was named at hooker in New Zealand's rugby league team of the century.

New Zealand[edit]

Born in Taylorville,[3] on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, Butterfield played at the nearby township of Brunner's rugby league club and also represented the West Coast.[4]

Butterfield then moved to Christchurch, playing for the Sydenham club in the Canterbury Rugby League from 1953 and also representing Canterbury. At this time he was first selected to represent New Zealand at Greymouth's Wingham Park, scoring a try in the 20-14 second test win over Great Britain. He went on to play for the Kiwis in the first Rugby League World Cup in 1954 as a second-row forward. Touring Great Britain and France with the Kiwis in the winter of 1955-56, Butterfield switched to hooker and also toured Australia in 1956. He appeared at the next World Cup in 1957 as well.

Butterfield returned to the West Coast in 1958 to work in the coal mines.[5] Rejoining Brunner Rugby League Club, he captain-coached the side to the Thacker Shield championship that year. The following year he again toured Australia with the Kiwis. In 1960 he played for New Zealand in another World Cup. He led Brunner to another championship in 1963 and also toured Australia. He'd been trying to join Australian club Manly-Warringah but the move was blocked by the NZRL.[6] Butterfield played his final test for the Kiwis that year. He had played in 99 games, including 36 tests, for New Zealand, a record that still stands.[7]


After being cleared to do so by the NZRL, in 1964 Butterfield signed with NSWRFL Premiership side Manly-Warringah and moved to Australia at the age of 32. After one season with the Sydney club he moved to the country, where he captain-coached Leeton in the Reverina competition. In 1965, Butterfield, along with the rest of the Manly-Warringah, visited the USA Rugby League for an exhibition match against the St. Louis Bombers Rugby Football Club. Butterfield ended up playing in the Foley Shield competition for Mount Isa and Cloncurry in Queensland's outback until his retirement in the early 1970s.[8]

Butterfield remained in Queensland and in 2001 was inducted as one of the NZRL's Legends of League. He died in Brisbane on 14 February 2004 aged 72.[9] A regional Queensland youth rugby league tournament was named after him.[10]


  1. ^ NZRL, ujwal; John Marinford. "Jock Butterfield" (PDF). Legends of League. Retrieved 2009-08-18. [dead link]
  2. ^ NZRL (1 December 2007). "Mark Graham named New Zealand's player of the century". Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  3. ^ (2008). "Mr Jock Butterfield". Darwin Rugby League. SportingPulse Pty Ltd. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "Loose forward Cooke named in team of the century". Fairfax New Zealand Limited. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  5. ^ NZPA (17 February 2004). "Legend's 99 games for Kiwis will never be beaten". New Zealand: APN Holdings NZ Limited. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  6. ^ "Jock Butterfield". SmartPack International Pty Ltd. 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "NZRL mourn death of legend". Television New Zealand. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Mount Isa Foley Shield Players". History of the Foley Shield competition. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  9. ^ "Oldest Black Cap passes on". Television New Zealand. 17 February 2004. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Walker, Carlie (6 April 2009). "Memory of Butterfield kept alive". Fraser Coast Chronicle. Australia: APN News & Media Ltd. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 

External links[edit]