Born – 13 December 1935

Passed Away – 16 May 2020

Vale Arthur Summons

Australia lost one of its greatest sportsmen when Arthur James Summons passed away on Saturday, aged 84. He was a dual international, playing 10 Tests for the Wallabies and nine Tests with the Kangaroos, five as captain. Not only was Arthur a great all round athlete but he was also a kind, personable and friendly man, with close and important family ties. Born in Paddington, Arthur grew up at Mt. Pritchard and attended the selective Homebush Boys High School.. He began his football career with the Mt. Pritchard club in the Parramatta Junior League and was a member of two E grade Premiership winning teams in 1949 and 1950 (captain). Homebush Boys was a rugby union school and Arthur captained the first XV in his last two years, 1951 and 1952. He represented the Combined High Schools second XV in 1951 and the first XV in 1952. After passing the Leaving Certificate in 1952, he attended Sydney Teachers College for two years in 1953 and 1954, beginning his Manual Arts and Technical Drawing teaching career in 1955 at Paddington Junior Technical College. He joined the Gordon Rugby Club in 1955 and in five seasons with the club, played in two first grade Premiership winning teams- 1956 and 1958. Between 1956 and 1959, he played nine rugby matches for NSW- 6 against Queensland and one each against South Africa, the Maori and the Lions. He first game for NSW was in Brisbane on 2 May 1956, while his last was at the old Sports Ground when he landed a field goal in NSW’s famous 18-14 win over the British and Irish Lions. Selected to go on the 1957/58 Wallaby tour of Britain, Ireland and France, he made his Test debut at Cardiff on 4 January 1958, in the 9-3 loss to Wales. He toured New Zealand with the 1958 Australian team, where he played at Christchurch on 6 September in the 6-3 win over the All Blacks. The last of his 10 Tests for the Wallabies was at the Sydney Sports Ground on 13 June 1959, against the Lions. Arthur finished with three Tests against New Zealand, two against the Lions and one each against Wales, Ireland, England, Scotland and the Maori.

In 1960, Arthur changed to Rugby League with the Wests Magpies, where he finished with 56 first grade matches in five seasons, scoring 11 tries. He made his debut for the Magpies against North Sydney at Pratten Park on 7 May 1960, scoring two tries in the 35-24 win. A member of the Wests teams which played three successive Grand Finals against St. George from 1961 to 1963, he captained the team in 1963. After leaving a wet and muddy field with St. George captain, Norm Provan after the 1963 Grand Final, a photo was taken of the two of them with their arms around each other. This photo was called the ‘Gladiators’ and is now used for the NRL  Telstra Premiership trophy. He was also the NSW RL player of the Year in 1963. Arthur represented City Seconds in 1961 and also played the first of his seven matches for NSW that season. He represented City Firsts in 1962 and 1963, Sydney against Great Britain in 1962 and Country Firsts in 1965. Arthur made his Rugby League Test debut at Auckland’s Carlaw Park on 1 July 1961. He played both Tests against the Kiwis on that tour and the next season, he played all three Tests against the touring Englishmen. His first Test as captain was the third Test of that series against Great Britain, at the SCG on 14 July 1962, which Australia won 18-17, with Arthur scoring on of his team’s four tries. In 1963, he was Australian captain against New Zealand and South Africa in Australia and then at the end of the season, captained the 1963/64 Kangaroos to England and France. Early on that tour, he injured his knee playing against St. Helens and this caused him to miss all three Tests against Great Britain. However he had a huge input in the series win by coming up with the plan to take the Poms on in the forwards. When the team reached France, Arthur was fit to play in the second and third Tests. He captained the Kangaroos to wins in both Tests against France, The third Test at Paris on 18 January 1964, was Arthur’s final Test and his last as captain. He won all five Tests as captain and finished with three Tests against both Great Britain and New Zealand, two against France and one against South Africa. Including his nine Tests, Arthur played 27 Rugby League matches for Australia At the end of 1964, Arthur and his family moved to Wagga Wagga where he worked as secretary/manager of Wagga Leagues club and captain/coached the Wagga Magpies for five seasons, winning three Premierships. In 1970, he coached Australia in the home series against Great Britain. He coached Australia in six Tests against Great Britain and three against France.

Arthur is a member of the NRL, the Wests Magpies and the Riverina Halls of Fame, while he was also named as one of the game’s Greatest 100 players.The Dally M People’s Choice Award for sportsmanship and courage on the field, is known as the Provan-Summons Medal. A private service will be held for Arthur later this week in Wagga Wagga. The Men of League extend their deepest sympathies to Arthur’s wife Pam and the family and friends.

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