A recent wellbeing visit by North Sydney Wellbeing Officers Norm Pounder and Ken Vessey saw them meet up with Jeff Withers and his partner, Deborah for a coffee and a chat. It came about through the connection between Jeff and Ken who played for different teams at Moore Park Junior Rugby league club in the 1960’s, and as such go a long way back.
Jeff grew up in the heart of Southern Sydney in Waterloo and Redfern and was always destined to progress far in the world of rugby league after attending the prestigious Cleveland Street High School – playing alongside the likes of future South Sydney legend and Dream Team (1908-2004 Rabbitohs players) member Ray Branighan.
As a five eighth with speed to burn, Jeff was part of the premiership-winning South Sydney president’s cup team in 1969 before being selected to be part of the Rabbits’ first grade squad later that same year.
After initially fighting for his place in the starting side with a galaxy of established stars in the South Sydney team, Jeff had a number of successful years with the club before retiring in 1976.
During that time he earned 54 first grade matches, captaining many of them, along with 58 reserve and 45 third grade matches. He was also selected in the City seconds team in 1975 and is a proud Life Member of the South Sydney Football Club after being inducted in 2003.
After hanging up the boots Jeff developed a strong reputation as a first-class tiler, often sought after by leading builders for his work. He is no longer actively engaged in the trade, however, and enjoys his family lifestyle.
The North Sydney Wellbeing Officers presented him with a Men of League Foundation polo and cap for his contribution to our great game and in return he thanked them for their gift and visit.
Needless to say, he is still a strong supporter of his beloved Rabbitohs.
Written by Ken Vessey