Foundation well represented at 2017 NSWRL Hall of Fame Dinner
The New South Wales Rugby League deserves congratulations after their impressive NSWRL Hall of Fame dinner on Monday night, 22 May 2017.
Held at the Star in Sydney, the black tie event was attended by around 500 people, including the NSW squad for the first State of Origin game this season on 31 May.
Many great players from the past enjoyed the night and among these were Immortals Graeme Langlands, Bob Fulton and Andrew Johns. Family representatives from fellow Immortals John Raper, Reg Gasnier, Arthur Beetson and Clive Churchill were also present. Every NRL club was represented while leading administrators such as ARL Commission Chairman John Grant, NSWRL Chairman George Peponis OAM, NSWRL President John Chalk, NSWRL CEO David Trodden and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg were also at the function. Several well known NSW politicians were among the guests and these included Police Minister Troy Grant, Sports Minister Stuart Ayres, Deputy Speaker Thomas George, Member for Tweed Heads Geoff Provest, Member for Maroubra Michael Daley and the Shadow Minister for Sport, Linda Voltz.
The seven NSW Immortals were inducted on the night and these were Graeme Langlands, Bob Fulton, Arthur Beetson, Reg Gasnier, Clive Churchill, John Raper and Andrew Johns. The pre-Second World War NSW representatives who fit the eligibility criteria were also inducted and among these was Dally Messenger. To complete the inductees on the night, Brad Clyde, Bob McCarthy, Ron Coote, Laurie Daley, Norm Provan and Brad Fittler were also named.
Approaching his 85th birthday, Provan was ill and did not fly from his Queensland home for the dinner, but the other five did and entertained the audience with some memories from their impressive NSW careers.
To be eligible, a player must have played 10 games for NSW or captained the State and also played for Australia. He must also have been retired for at least five years.
A special mention must be made of the efforts made by NSW officials and their staff to complete the many behind the scenes tasks necessary to make the night the great success it was.
Nothing was too much for them and their work in ensuring Graeme Langlands was at the dinner was a perfect example of their devotion to NSW Rugby League. Now 75, Graeme has some health issues and is in a southern Sydney nursing home. He has difficulty walking and there are problems involved in taking him to functions such as this. But this did not deter John Chalk, David Trodden and George Peponis. They provided a dinner suit and black shoes and after his arrival at the venue, the patient Star staff took him from the front door to the third floor venue. John Chalk, George Peponis and David Trodden, along with many others were very aware of how much the great fullback had given to NSW Rugby League over many years and they wanted him to share in the memories and enjoy a pleasant night out.
By Barry Ross