Dud Beattie – Rugby League Legend Series

Dud Beattie - Rugby League

Dudley Beattie was born in Marburg, about 20 km west of Ipswich, Queensland, on the 27th April, 1934. Not long after Dud started attending Marburg State School, Dud’s father, Robert, joined the army and was stationed with his unit in New Guinea as a sapper. It was a trying time for Dud and his brother, Neville, who was two years older, to have their father away from home. Even at a young age, Dud had some understanding about how war negatively affected his family and their community. Dud didn’t mind school, but he struggled academically. In his own mind, he didn’t rate himself as much of a student and preferred to engage himself in physical pursuits. One of his favourite pastimes was having wrestling ‘matches’ with his brother, in which his brother always seemed to come out on top – literally and figuratively.

When Robert Beattie was demobbed in 1945, he bought a dairy farm in Glamorganvale, approximately 10 km northwards. Growing up on the farm for the two young boys was tough. Both of them had to milk a certain number of cows per day. They had to help their father with all manner of farmwork, from scuffling corn to mending fences, and this of course was on top of going to school. Dud learnt a great deal about animals, particularly horses. He became quite a proficient rider and he found that he enjoyed it. He often rode around the farm attending to tasks his father gave him. He even helped his father break in horses, and got bucked off more than a few times.

In 1948, Dud’s life changed dramatically. He attended Ipswich Grammar School as a boarder and was a student there for two years. Ipswich Grammar School has quite an illustrious history. It was the first secondary school established in Queensland, and has produced some of Australia’s most talented sportsmen, including Craig McDermott, Shane Watson, Willie Carne, all three Walters brothers (Kevin, Kerrod and Steven), and Roy Emmerson. Dud decided to try out for Grammar’s rugby union team, and spent the first year in the thirds and the second year in the seconds, playing second-row. Their coach was Alan Ware, an ex-Wallaby who had toured New Zealand. After two years, Dud left school and got an apprenticeship as an electrician at a local coal mine. His uncle was deputy-manager for Rothwell-Haig Mines and helped him get a job there.

As part of his apprenticeship, Dud was attending night classes at Ipswich Technical College in 1952. One of his classmates was Mick Hooper, who was the captain of the Ipswich Railways Rugby League First Grade Junior Team. The two of them often sat together and talked, and became quite good friends. Mick was impressed with Dud’s size from the beginning, and so went up to him one night and said, ‘A big fella like you should be playing rugby league’.  After Dud agreed that the idea had merit, Mick asked him to come and try out. Dud replied that the season was nearly finished, but Mick said that it wouldn’t matter and that he would get a game. ‘You’re a big bugger, you’ll be right’. Dud thought for a minute, and then declined, saying that he would wait until the following year. Dud didn’t want to make a fool of himself and wanted to be in a bit of condition first.

Dud did get himself into shape and played his first-ever rugby league game for Railways First Grade Juniors in a trial game down at Surfers Paradise in 1953. Bernie Drew (See Special Feature), the captain-coach of Railways A Grade, was refereeing the game. Dud was so unfamiliar with the rules of rugby league he had bought a book on how to play. The book was poorly written, as it instructed the reader to drop the ball and then rake it back with your foot after being tackled, and this was what Dud did during the first half. Bernie watched the tall, rangy young forward with bemusement, but said nothing. At half-time he called Dud over and gave him a quick lesson. Dud was fine after that, and really started to enjoy the game that season, even more than rugby union.

As he progressed as a player, he was asked what he thought his best position was. He said he wanted to play lock. He hated the second and front rows because he felt the weight was always on those players. But after his first game, the coach told him that he had better play second-row, so he did. In the third game, the coach said, ‘You’d make a good front-rower. We haven’t got any front-rowers’. So that’s where Dud went and that’s where he stayed. He was a gifted, natural athlete, but humbly believed at first that he wasn’t much of a player compared to his teammates and was good only because of his size. Once he started getting the hang of the game he focused on tackling and taking care of the loose-head prop responsibilities in the scrums. He felt with his height, size and strength he could keep his side of the scrum up and also see how the half-back was feeding the ball, and then be in a position to help his hooker. He improved so quickly he made the Ipswich under 20s representative team that year.

1954 was when it all started coming together for Dud. He went quickly through from Reserve Grade to the A Grade side because one of the starting props broke his leg. In his very first A Grade game against Ipswich Brothers, held at the North Ipswich Reserve, he got a good write-up in the local paper. The article said that he was a likely looking footballer and that he reminded critics of some of the top forwards from past years. Four months later, in a game where his captain, Bernie Drew, and hooker, Denis Jackwitz, were sent off, Dud played the best game of his short career so far and helped the remaining Railways players to prevent any further scoring by the opposition. The Ipswich Times journalist was so impressed with his tackling, rucking and all-round play he was labelled as a future representative player.

Dud made a point of trying to be a ‘mentally fit’ footballer. He didn’t spend time worrying about games, and he felt that this cut down on errors. He also became physically fit, due in no small part to the exercise he got from constantly carrying heavy equipment in the mines. This was not part of his position description – he just liked to help out. He viewed the other miners as part of his ‘family’ and was always happy to help them. He often worked on game day in the morning and then went straight to the ground after his shift was over. On top of this, he developed a full-on training regimen in addition to his training nights at Railways. After getting home from work he would habitually run around the horse paddock behind his house. Although there was no weight training in those days, he did go to the gym. He got in the ring and had a go at some boxing, receiving some instruction in the process. During his National Service training that year he didn’t slacken off. When soldiers had to go around the assault course he would go around a second time. By the time he finished his training after 98 days, he was in peak condition.

One interesting highlight of his time as a soldier was when Queen Elizabeth II came to Brisbane while he was at Wacol on March 9th, 1954. She was the first reigning monarch to come to Australia, and did so less than a year after her coronation. Dud and a detachment of National Service soldiers from Wacol were ordered to come to the Brisbane CBD to help form a guard of honour as the Queen’s motorcade passed by. On the day of the Queen’s arrival, Dud caught the train with the other soldiers to Brisbane and marched from Central Station to get into position. They stood in single file, two metres apart with rifles in hand, standing between the crowd and the street. Dud didn’t expect any trouble, and there was none. Brisbane flocked to see the 25-year-old monarch and the huge crowds cheered wildly when they saw her car approach.

The biggest game of the year for Dud in 1955 was when the second French touring side to visit Australia played Ipswich at the North Ipswich Reserve on July 5th. There was a lot of excitement about the game, as the French had won the second Test played three days before in Brisbane – a surprising result, considering they had lost the first Test and other lead-up matches comprehensively. In the second Test, Australia had led by 12 points late in the match, only to have that lead overhauled by a single point after the French scored three tries in six minutes.

When the French arrived in Ipswich they attended a civic reception in their honour and were welcomed by the mayor. Ipswich had a half-holiday and many companies allowed their employees time off to go and see the game, which started at 3 pm. The Ipswich defence was of the highest standard, and the hosts were able to get a lead of 7-5 going into half-time and led 10-9 with 10 minutes left in the match. Dud played his usual strong game. He was one of the best tacklers on the field and more than matched any French forward. Unfortunately for Ipswich, and in a case of déjà reminiscent of the second Test, two French backline movements accounted for two tries late in the game. Still, observers felt that the Ipswich team acquitted themselves well.

1956 saw the New Zealand Maori side come to play Ipswich 34 years after the first time they had played there. Ipswich had a long history of playing against New Zealand teams, starting in 1913. In the six matches played against New Zealand or the New Zealand Maoris before 1956, Ipswich had won on the last four occasions. The game between the visitors and Ipswich took place on 11th August. The Maori forwards had a huge weight advantage over their Ipswich rivals. The New Zealanders, although showing a lot of toughness, did not use this advantage well, trying to wrestle rather than tackle, and on several occasions putting their opponent in a headlock rather than tackling low and bringing their man to the ground. Gary Parcell from Ipswich Brothers was generally acknowledged to be the best player on the ground, and was ably supported by the Ipswich pack, including Dud. Unfortunately for Dud, his impact on the game was negated somewhat by injury. He was carried off the field early in the game after hurting his leg and came on again a short time later, although his movements were hampered somewhat.

The Bulimba Cup – the yearly competition between Ipswich, Toowoomba and Brisbane – had become the ‘property’ of the Toowoomba Clydesdales. From 1951 to 1956, under the guidance of super- coach Duncan Thompson, Toowoomba had won the cup six years in a row, losing only three games during the streak. But the ‘Downs Fox’ had retired from coaching at the end of the 1956 campaign, so 1957 started with a greater optimism as far as Ipswich and Brisbane were concerned. Brisbane had a great team for the first game again Ipswich that year – five internationals and three State players, so Ipswich coach Dan Dempsey knew that this game would be of the utmost importance. Not only were Ipswich playing away, they had lost all four of their matches the previous year. His main tactic was to get his men to move up quickly in defence to give Brisbane less of a chance to run with the ball and thereby give less opportunity to their speedy wingers. The plan worked perfectly and Ipswich set the tone for the entire game in the first 15 minutes when they scored 11 unanswered points. Dud showed a lot of grit and determination when, after injuring his leg again, he came back on quickly with a bandage. Although in obvious pain, he still ran strongly and tackled hard. Brisbane fought back towards the end, but Ipswich prevailed, 16 to 12.

In the next two games, Ipswich lost to Toowoomba and defeated Brisbane again. So, their final match of the season, against Toowoomba, would decide the Cup. The game was a dour affair in the first half, with both sides defending well. At half-time, the score was Toowoomba 6, Ipswich 4, with all the points being scored through penalties. A few minutes after play resumed, Dud scored one of the most important tries of his career. Ipswich was attacking near the Toowoomba line. Running hard at the opposition, Dud saw a small opening, and with brute strength crashed through several, defenders to get the three points. The try drought was broken, and Dud had helped swing the momentum in Ipswich’s favour. When the full time whistle blew, Ipswich felt triumphant. They had won 11-9 and regained the Cup for the first time in 18 years. At a reception at the conclusion of the game, the Toowoomba players graciously toasted the winning Ipswich team. Dud had such a dominant game he was awarded the £5 trophy for best player.

1958 was the year when what was to become the ‘All Australian’ Ipswich front row of Dud, Noel Kelly and Gary Parcell first played together for Ipswich, although Gary played some of the 1958 games in the second-row. This year was unusual in that a playoff was needed to be held to decide the Bulimba Cup winner. Ipswich, Brisbane and Toowoomba all finished with two wins each. As reigning champions, Ipswich played the winner of the ‘preliminary final’, played between Brisbane and Toowoomba, and won by the latter. So, for the second year in a row, the final game between Ipswich and Toowoomba would be the decider. Many observers felt this was the best game in this competition for many years, and that Dud played the most exceptional game of his career so far. He overpowered the Toowoomba forwards, taking the edge off their speed and was instrumental in the scoring of two tries. In the lead-up to the first one, he pushed off two defenders and then as three more opposition players converged on him, he got the ball away to his winger, Brian Walsh who scored. In the second half he was near the opposition try line when he made a short, devastating run that led to Parcell scoring the try that clinched the game. All of Ipswich rejoiced when they retained the Cup, by a score of 15 to 10.

This was to turn out to be a very special year for Dud. In addition to Ipswich winning the Bulimba Cup again, Dud played his first game for Queensland and his club team, Railways, won the Ipswich premiership for only the second time. When Dud came into the Queensland team, it was dealing with several issues. Perhaps the most serious one was the unavailability of Bobby Banks. Queensland had not played at all well the previous year so the loss of Banks, arguably the best five-eighth in Australia at the time, was a tremendous blow to their chances in 1958. Queensland representative regulations stated that player-coaches must make themselves available for all representative matches. Banks was a player-coach at Cunnamulla, and as he could not meet the stipulations, he did not play for Queensland that year. Another problem was that the State coach, Dan Dempsey, had to resign from his position due to illness.

Only three interstate games were played that year – one in Sydney and two in Brisbane, and Dud was picked for the two Queensland matches, partnering Brian Davies in the front row. In Dud’s first game for his State, NSW forward Brian Hambly punched him in the neck from behind. The force of the blow knocked Dud to the ground and Hambly was sent off by the referee. This showed that the NSW forwards were concerned about Dud right from the beginning. Dud showed his toughness by not staying down for long – he quickly got up and was involved in a stoush with a couple of other players. Although Queensland lost both games (and also the one in Sydney), Dud acquitted himself well, to the point that he was a certainty for Queensland selection the following year. His work ethic on the field was there for all to see. His hard running and sure tackling made him one of the better players in either side.

The Ipswich competition of 1958 saw Railways meet Ipswich Brothers in the Grand Final. The final score amazed everyone except the winning Railways players. They were near the bottom of the table for most of the season and Brothers were the benchmark of the competition, with three internationals in the team – Denis Flannery, Gary Parcell and Noel Kelly. A great deal of the credit for Railways’ triumph must go to their coach, Lester Gardiner. He had been a professional sprinter, and had played for A Grade for West End as a winger, scoring a try in their Ipswich Competition Grand Final win against C.Y.M.S. in 1949. He was one of the first coaches to be a ‘motivator’ – when talking to his players, he slapped his hands and spoke animatedly. He used innovative methods, but his number one emphasis was on explosive defence – a policy that would come to fruition in the final, when Brothers did not score a point.

As captain, Dud never let his team give up that season. He always led by example and his teammates thought he did an exceptional job. He was honest and popular, and never talked down to his players. He never stopped working on the field and commanded respect through his actions. When the other team kicked, he was always looking to be the first to ruck the ball up. And his teammates responded with an excellent finals campaign.

Certainly there were obstacles for Brothers in the final. Noel Kelly had injured his knee and couldn’t play. To make things worse, Dennis Flannery limped off at half-time, in what was to be his final game. But given the way Railways played that day, it is unlikely that either of these setbacks would have changed the result of the game. The match was won by the Railways forwards, led by Dud. Their tackling was excellent, and after the game Gardiner paid tribute to Dud as a great leader.

If 1958 was a special year for Dud, 1959 was even more so. Dud was picked for Queensland again, made his debut for Australia against New Zealand after only playing four matches for Queensland, and was chosen for the Kangaroo Tour of 1959-60 – a meteoric rise by any standard. There is no question that the game that really brought him to the attention of the national selectors was the first interstate game of 1959. The appointment of the new Queensland coach and the lead-up to that appointment made headlines in both Sydney and Brisbane. Clive Churchill had been captain-coach of Sydney Souths in 1958. For some reason, the Souths committee decided to pay Clive half the bonus that they paid all their other players for that year. Clive was less than impressed. He felt that the action taken against him was unethical in the extreme, left Souths vowing never to return, and moved to Brisbane where he took over the coaching role of Brisbane Norths and the Queensland team. With his astute football brain, and inside knowledge of the inner-workings of the NSW team and their tactics, Queensland felt they had an excellent opportunity to avoid 10 straight defeats. Clive Churchill went on record before the game predicting a Maroon victory, and this assertion was proven correct.

Dud played an impressive match. He, along with the other Queensland forwards, stood up to NSW in the rucks and dominated the opposition. But it was in the scrums that Dud really stood out. For seven years, since he first started playing in 1953, he had honed his skills as a specialist loosehead or open-side prop. His height, reach and strength gave him a natural advantage in this position, and in addition he had perfected his technique of working in concert with his hooker to win scrums. Using exceptional timing, he would strike for the ball with his inside foot while his hooker would keep the opposition rake in check. Sometimes he would be able to trap the ball with his outside foot before striking. He and Noel Kelly had developed a great understanding playing together for Ipswich and on this occasion they won the scrum count 20-9. The Queenslanders gained a wealth of possession as a result and this put them in the position to win a close and hard-fought game.

Dud made a fairy-tale test debut for Australia in the first Test against New Zealand on June 13th.  On a muddy ground where scoring was difficult, Dud was the hero by scoring Australia’s only try of the match. Many observers felt that Australia could consider itself fortunate to have won, the final score being 10-9. After the scores were locked at nil-all at half-time, New Zealand scored two tries to one in the second half. The difference was the kicking. Brian Carlson landed three attempts, while the Kiwi kicker, Cyril Eastlake, had only one successful kick from six attempts. Australia won two out of the three games, thus clinching the series, and Dud played in all three Tests. Due to his good form, his selection as a Kangaroo was not a surprise.

With all his representative commitments, Dud was lucky that his boss at the mine was very accommodating about letting him have time off. By this time he had left Rothwell-Haig Mines and was working for McQueen and Company at the Box Flat Colliery in Ipswich and had become assistant mine electrician. He would avoid taking holidays – he’d stow them all up for when he had a Test match, and his boss would always allow him to have the days off he wanted. For Test matches in Sydney, he would go down on the Tuesday and be off work until the Friday. When he was picked for the 1959-60 Kangaroo tour, his boss had no issue with his selection. In the time he was away from work, from September to February, he was paid £15 a week by the Australian Board. In comparison, the Australian national cricketers were receiving £70 a week when on tour. Each player was given a tracksuit, two jerseys, two pairs of shorts and two pairs of socks. You had to supply your own shoes and shin pads. His tour number was 24.

On the trip over to England, the Kangaroos were 54 hours on the plane. They travelled by prop jet, made five hops and had three different crews.  When they got to London they had to wait for the train to go from there up to Warrington and they got to their digs at about 11 pm. The tourists stayed there about five weeks. Dud had two major interests off the playing field. One of them was playing cards. Three other guys on the tour either didn’t drink or barely did so – Elton Rasmussen, Gary Parcell and Keith Barnes. The four of them made a little clique, and while the other players were out drinking they got into playing 500. They would swap partners and spend hours playing, like on the train trip from France to Italy.  Dud had never played before, but had learnt a similar game called euchre. The other interest was taking busman’s holidays. He made a point of seeking out possibilities to get guided tours of some of England’s coal mines. On one occasion he spent 90 minutes visiting the Bold Colliery at St Helens with other Kangaroos, including Gary Parcell and Barry Muir.

The eighth game of the tour, which was played at Oldham, was one of the most significant. One reason is because the Australians started to scrimmage using the same tactics as Great Britain. Scrum formations in Great Britain teams at the time were like a science. Front-rowers played in specialist positions – tighthead and loosehead for every scrum. The Australian team way had always been very easy going, with scrums being formed around the first front-rower who arrived – who took the loosehead position. Dud had always played for Railways, Ipswich and Queensland as a specialist loosehead prop and found the Australian team way of doing things disadvantageous – he believed Australia was never going to consistently win the majority of the scrums against Great Britain with their haphazard way of doing things.

In the first two games on tour the Australians did not do well with their scrimmaging, especially in the second game when they got a hiding in the scrum count. Churchill asked the vice-captain, Rex Mossop, to take the forwards for some scrimmaging practice. Dud was quite sure that he knew how to be an effective prop forward and here Rex was going to tell him how to stand and how to get the ball. When they were practising, with no shin-pads of course, Rex was giving a demonstration. He threw the ball and Dud swung his leg and accidentally kicked him right in the shin. Rex didn’t bother to try to train Dud after that training session.

Dud got together with Ian Walsh, who became the number one hooker after Noel Kelly was injured, and talked about scrum tactics. This was important, because winning scrums was the key to getting your share of possession. If you were losing too many scrums you ended up defending all the time. They agreed to follow Dud’s proven strategy. After Dud and Ian demonstrated the effectiveness of this strategy, the Australian powers-that-be had a change of heart, overhauled their scrum ‘non-policy’ and made Dud the ‘official’ Australian open-side prop for this game and the rest of the tour.

The other reason why the Oldham game was significant was because the Australian team showed that they were no longer prepared to take the rough-house tactics of their English opponents. It was no secret that the English press and players viewed the Kangaroos as young and inexperienced, and thought they could gain an advantage by trying to physically intimidate the visitors. After a big defeat by Yorkshire, the tour manager, Jack Argent, had a ‘save the tour’ meeting held behind locked doors and only the coach, Clive Churchill, and the 26 players were invited. Argent implored his players to not wilt under pressure and to get more aggressive in defence. He called on his forwards to show more zeal in their approach.

At Oldham, which was the second game after this meeting, the bad blood that had been building so far on the tour reached boiling point. Brawls on the field were commonplace. In addition, the crowd got involved in baiting the Australian players. Orange peels were pelted at the Australians and Clive Churchill was threatened with arrest for incitement after he threw water from a sponge over his shoulder into the crowd after an on-field fight. The worst incident occurred when some spectators tried to climb the fence and several of them succeeded. Officials were running around the perimeter of the field trying to restore some order. Around a dozen spectators, players, police officers and officials were on the pitch, all involved together in a melee that took several minutes to die down. Some Australian players were punched by spectators when they left the field at the end of the game.

Argent felt so strongly about the way his players were being treated he wrote an article defending their conduct on the field, entitled ‘We’ve Taken Enough Rough Stuff’. In it, he said that the Kangaroos were not prepared to just let the English players dish out the biff. He also claimed that his players were often severely provoked and felt that therefore any retaliation was justified. He asserted that his players were never instructed to instigate violence on the field by the Kangaroo hierarchy.

Without doubt, the highlight of the English leg of the tour for the Australians was the first Test against Great Britain, played at Swinton on October 17th. The two most influential players for Australia were Dud and Reg Gasnier. In the first 15 minutes, the Australian forwards began to dominate their opponents and that state of affairs continued for most of the match. The main reason for this ascendancy was the early scrum count. With Dud playing as specialist open-side prop, and in fine form with his ability to strike for the ball, Australia won five of the first six scrums. This paid dividends as, through weight of possession, the visitors scored the first seven points of the game. The Great Britain side never completely recovered.

Any chance the hosts thought they may have had was snuffed out by the brilliance of Reg Gasnier. An unknown the year before, he burst on to the Sydney scene in 1959 at the age of 20, playing his first A Grade game for St George, playing in their premiership winning team and being picked for the Kangaroo Tour. Although originally it was thought he would not make the Test side, he played so well in the opening games that the selectors had to pick him. And they were certainly glad they did. In one of the most astonishing displays ever seen on a rugby league field, he scored a hat-trick of tries, running rings around the Great Britain defence with his already famous step and swerve, combined with tremendous acceleration. Australia were convincing winners, 22 to 14.

Dud had a difficult time of it in the second week of November. First, he had to get treatment for his cauliflower ear. He had bumped his head in a scrum and was instructed to go to the infirmary to get it lanced – the nurse would put a needle in and suck the blood out. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant experience. The last time he went to get treatment the nurse said, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow’. Dud replied, ‘That’s not going to happen!’ Then, in the game against Wigan a few days later, he suffered the most serious injury of his career. He got a contused shoulder as a result of a tackle just two minutes into the game. He fell on his elbow, felt his shoulder pop out and had to be assisted from the field. When he returned, he played at lock in a bid to put his shoulder under less strain, and in the second half he came out with his shoulder heavily strapped. After the game he couldn’t lift his arm, and despite hours of treatment he was not able to get his shoulder right for the second Test, which was just one week later.

With Dud out of the team, the Australian team was not able to dominate in the scrums like they did in the first Test. The fact that Australia lost by only one point in this game and lost the scrums 5-16 is thought-provoking. What if he had played? Could he have been the difference between Australia winning and losing? It was generally agreed that he was, at this time, Australia’s best front-rower. Not only was he dominant in scrimmaging, he backed up well, having good pace for a forward in the open and was very solid and dependable in defence, so his absence was certainly felt.

On this tour he certainly showed that he no longer deserved the ‘shy’ moniker he had had when he first played for Queensland the previous year. He was not afraid to stand up for himself or against something that he felt was unfair with regard to his team or teammates. In the game against Hull on October 26th, Jim Drake, who was one of England’s toughest forwards, had been antagonising Australia by punching anyone who got in his way in the rucks. Just before the half-time break, Dud decided enough was enough and knocked Drake on his back with a left-handed blow. Dud was even willing to take on the referee if he thought he was out of line. Ron Colin, the referee in the Hunslet game, which was the last game before the third Test, hit Dud in the face as he was involved in a skirmish with another player, a few minutes after the second half had resumed. Dud made his feelings about what had happened very explicitly to the man in white and Colin left him alone for the rest of the match.

An incident in the third and deciding Test shows that the Great Britain players viewed Dud as one of the most dangerous opposition players. The hosts certainly knew that he had recently recovered from a badly injured shoulder. In what was a blatant attempt to find out just how much his shoulder had recovered, Dud was grabbed in a tackle, hoisted into the air and turned upside down, almost perpendicular to the ground. Then he was driven downwards, head first in a spear tackle. Luckily for Dud, he was not injured. Great Britain went on to win the Test and the series.

When the tourists were in France there was an interesting addition to one of the training sessions, involving Dud and Gary Parcell. They were long-time mates, having played together for Ipswich, Queensland and Australia – but that didn’t stop them from having some friendly rivalry. An argument had arisen over which man was faster. In order to settle it, they organised a sprint over 100 yards. At the chosen training session, the race was held before official practice began. The whole team gathered to watch, and a few of them acted as a starter and the judges. It was decided to allow both men to run barefoot. Although Dud was taller and heavier than his friend, he got away the better of the two. At the halfway point Gary was making up ground, but Dud finished on top, winning the sprint four yards in front.

After playing, and playing well, in the first two Tests against the French, Dud was not available for the third Test – due to a mishap involving Rex Mossop. They were training on frozen ground, so rather than conduct full-contact training they decided to play a game of touch football. Because the ground was frozen, Dud’s tags didn’t dig into the ground. He couldn’t pull up at one point and flew into Rex Mossop. Their heads clashed and Dud’s left eye was left blackened and swollen.

Before Dud left Ipswich to come on the tour he had started to think about life after football. His new baby daughter was just three months old and he was also concerned that his work career was being put in jeopardy. When he and the other players listened to a tape recording of Christmas messages from wives, girlfriends and family members, he was reminded of how important his family was to him, and that he wouldn’t be home for Christmas to share the festivities with them. It was becoming harder and harder for Dud to justify in his own mind being away from home.

The 1960 World Cup was held over a six week period, involving France, NZ, England and Australia. Australia played in five games – three competition matches and two trial games. There was also an England against the Rest of the World game held. So it was possible for an Australian player to play in six matches overall, and Dud was the only one to do so. He enjoyed the novelty of playing for the Rest of the World in the front row with Cliff Johnson, the captain of the New Zealand team. Dud, Brian Carlson and Gary Parcell had all announced that they would retire from international football at the end of the World Cup, and in Dud’s case, his retirement was to be from all levels of the game. After Australia’s final match in Toulouse all three of them got together in a Toulouse café afterwards to celebrate.

Dud had no intention of changing his mind. He had done what he had wanted to do, so he stopped training and got ready for new challenges. However, his Ipswich club, Railways, asked him to come and give them a bit of help with the scrum and the forwards. Dud went over for a few nights and thought he might as well have another game. So he started playing again. Then, to Dud’s amazement, the Ipswich selectors put him in the Ipswich team. He felt fat and out of condition, but ended up playing in all four Queensland trials. He was not picked for Queensland, but was the first shadow if any of the front row got hurt. Gary Parcell was injured in the first interstate game on the Saturday. The Queensland selectors rang him, asking him to come and play in the Monday game. Dud rang his boss and got permission to go. He played so well that two days later, when the Australian side was flying to New Zealand for a tour, Dud was on the plane. Dud was not picked for the first Test, and Australia did not do well in the scrums, losing a lot of ball and the Test 10-12. Dud played in the second Test and the tourists won a lot more ball – and the Test match 10-8. Dud regained his match fitness by the end of the tour and again became a mainstay of the Queensland and Australian teams.

Dud’s last Test was the third Test match in 1962 against Great Britain, and this game was certainly the most controversial game in Dud’s career on a personal level. The series of events that led up to the controversy started when Dud got badly injured. Normally, when he went down in a scrum he prepared by tensing himself up to drive in. On one occasion he wasn’t quite ready, so when the weight hit him the ligament went in his shoulder and it popped out of alignment. He also badly damaged a rib in the process. He struggled on until the half-time break.

While he was in the sheds he said to coach Harry Bath that he wasn’t going to last. Bath told him to get it strapped up and stay out on the field (there were no replacements at that time). So he went back on for the second half. Dud had been penalised a few times in the game by Darcy Lawler, the referee, for going through in the rucks and running straight at the dummy half when he was picking up the ball, which infuriated the Englishmen. When Dud did it again, this time to Derek Turner, Turner decided to show his displeasure by throwing some punches. Dud retaliated and then collapsed in pain, holding his shoulder.

Turner was immediately sent off by the referee, and then Lawler said, ‘And when you get up, you can go too’. Dud believed he was sent off for running through the ruck one too many times. Dud was assisted off the field by a St John Ambulance brigade member. Derek Turner was on the other side of the ambulance guy, angrily pointing his finger at Dud and telling him he would be having a go at him up in the dressing room. Dud answered, ‘Like bloody hell you will’. After the game, Dud thought that was the end of the matter. His game had always been to rush out of the defensive line and harass the dummy-half, and being sent off was just the way things worked out for that particular match.

The controversy came when a journalist named Peter Muscat, who had toured with the Australian team, rang Dud up at work and said the boys reckon you took Turner off. Dud asked him who had told him that. Muscat replied that the boys reckon that Bathy was saying that you should take him off – and that if you have got to go off, take someone with you. Well, this in fact was true, but Dud had thought that the coach was joking with him at the time. Dud told him that he couldn’t print a story like that. He told Muscat that when he went back on the field, taking Turner out deliberately wasn’t in his mind – he was just trying to make a nuisance of himself and was in fact planning to stay on and play out the game.

Muscat replied that he would go ahead with his version of the story and Dud said, ‘Righto, you please yourself’. The next day the Sydney papers headlines trumpeted the ‘news’ that Dud had set out to get Turner sent off deliberately. Jack Reardon ran him up and said, ‘What’s this about you telling Muscat you took him off?’ Dud replied that this was untrue. Jack replied that he had to go with the story in its current form anyway. Dud received about three poison pen letters from fans for ‘unsportsmanlike behaviour’ and also received a letter from the ARL charging him with bringing the game into disrepute. Dud wrote back to the ARL, telling them that he never said that he planned to take Turner off, and told them the true version of events. Dud was no angel on the field, but it was a shame that a thrilling Australian victory and Dud’s last Test match was undercut by shoddy journalism.

Dud’s knowledge of the game was recognised by administrators when he was asked to be a Queensland and Australian selector in 1968. He held those positions for two years and then came back as a selector in 1973 with Queensland and 1979 with Australia. One of the problems on the Australian selection panel was that you always had the arbiter from NSW. Whenever you had two players that were equal from New South Wales and Queensland the selectors split along State lines. And the arbiter would do the same. So, he struggled with the issue of an ‘uneven playing field’. Still, he gave the position his all and acquitted himself with distinction, just as he did on the playing field.