VALE – GEORGE SMITH
Vale – George Smith
Born 30 September 1930, passed away 23 January 2014, aged 83
George Smith was a happy, friendly man, who played rugby league for many teams across Australia.
George grew up in Nambucca Heads on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. He began playing rugby league at around 10 years of age.
In 1962 he was Captain/Coach of Lithgow Workers and after being selected as lock in the Western Division side for the Country Championships, he made the Country Firsts team for the annual clash with City at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 12 May. The Country boys played really well and upset City with an impressive 18-8 win.
Coached by former English international centre, Phil Jackson and captained by Tony Paskins, George and a young 20-year-old fullback named Graeme Langlands, played well for Country and were rewarded with selection in the NSW side to play Queensland four days later, on 16 May, at the old Sydney Sports Ground. The boys were impressive on the field and helped NSW win the game 28-8.
Smith was called into Australia's Second Test team against the Lions on 30 June 1962 and was the lock forward in the 17-6 loss that saw the Ashes retained by Great Britain. George was almost 32 when he played in the Test match but when he was asked how old he was by a selector a couple of days before the team was named, he said 28.
In 1958 George took up a role as Captain/Coached of Oberon, before moving to Peak Hill in 1959 and then playing with Parkes for two seasons in 1961. In 1964, he signed with Manly and in two seasons at Brookvale, played 25 first grade games. In 1965, he captained the Sea Eagles in many matches.
During his time in Sydney, George ran the Bristol Arms Hotel at Pyrmont and continued in the hotel business for many years.
Later in life George moved to Grafton.
For the last year or so, George lived in an aged care hostel and just before Christmas of 2013, moved into a nursing home after suffering from some health problems. George passed away late on Thursday night, 23 January in the nursing home.
His funeral will be held at 11am next Thursday, 30 January at the Grafton Greyhound track, Cranworth Street, Grafton.