Ken Arthurson

Last updated

Ken Arthurson
Personal information
Full nameKenneth Richard Arthurson
Born (1929-10-01) 1 October 1929 (age 91)
Glebe, New South Wales, Australia
Playing information
Position Halfback
Club
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
1950–52 Manly-Warringah 41140042
Coaching information
Club
YearsTeamGmsWDLW%
195761 Manly-Warringah 985624057
Source: [1] [2] [3]

Kenneth Richard "Arko" Arthurson AM (born 1 October 1929) is an Australian rugby league football identity. Affectionately known as "The Godfather of Manly", [4] he played, coached and was later an administrator at the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles club in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership. Later he ran the NSWRL, and then the Australian Rugby League during the 1990s' Super League war, resigning in 1997 as part of the peace process for creating the unified National Rugby League.

Contents

Background

Born in the Sydney suburb of in Glebe, Ken Arthurson became a rugby league footballer through the Freshwater Surf Club, playing in their 1945 D-Grade premiership win alongside another future Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles legend, and the club's first home-grown Australian international, Roy Bull.

Playing career

Ken Arthurson made his first grade debut in the 1950 NSWRFL season for the three-year-old Manly-Warringah club under the coaching of former Kangaroo tourist and Australian test captain Wally O'Connell, who had moved to Manly from Eastern Suburbs. Arko played at half-back in Manly-Warringah's first Grand Final appearance in the 1951 NSWRFL Grand Final against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the Sydney Sports Ground. The day didn't go as planned for the Sea Eagles though as Souths ran out easy 42-14 winners. Although Manly were easily defeated by Souths, they gained respect around the league for having reached the Grand Final in just their fifth year in the premiership having joined in 1947 (fellow 1947 entrant Parramatta did not play their first Grand Final until 1976, a 13–10 loss to Manly). Arthurson, by then regarded as one of the best young halfbacks in the league, then played another full season at Manly in 1952, before accepting the role of player-coach with NSW Country Group 11 team Parkes' for 1953. His reason for leaving Manly and going to Parkes was that with players such as Australian and NSW halfback Keith Holman generally being the first picked for representative teams (City Firsts, NSW and Australia), Arthurson felt he had a better chance at NSW and Australian selection playing for Country Firsts.

Just three weeks into his stint at Parkes in a match between Northern and Southern NSW Zones in April 1953, Ken was badly injured. The 27 April edition of the Parkes Champion Post reported that it 'was early in the game when Ken fell over the goal line and another player, who was following him, fell on top of him, striking ken's head with his knee'. He was rushed to Parkes District Hospital in a serious condition with a fractured skull. Ken had taken part in only two other matches since his arrival. He was later to spend three months in hospital recuperating from his injury and never played Rugby League again.

Coaching career

Arthurson returned to Sydney and coached Manly's third grade team in 1954 and reserve grade in 1955–56. He was first grade coach from 1957 to 1961, making the semi finals every year and the 1957 Grand Final as a 27-year-old. His side made another Grand Final appearance in 1959. Unfortunately for Arthurson and Manly, both Grand Finals were played against a St George side in the early years of their record run of 11 straight premierships. Arthurson later said that there was no shame to running second to those St George teams whose talent included Ken Kearney, Norm Provan, Eddie Lumsden, Brian "Poppa" Clay, Harry Bath and future rugby league Immortal Johnny Raper.

Administration

Following his coaching stint at Manly, Arthurson became the club's secretary, taking over from Jack Munro after Munro's passing in 1963. Arthurson held this post for 20 years, during which time he helped build the Sea Eagles into one of the most successful clubs in the league by use of his negotiating skills and the club's finances, something which made Manly the team others loved to hate (many believe that Arthurson's only rival as a top club administrator in Australia was his close friend, Canterbury-Bankstown's Peter "Bullfrog" Moore). During his time as club secretary, Arko signed players who went on to become legends not only at Manly but also in rugby league. His list of players includes Graham Eadie, Ken Irvine, Terry Randall, Mal Reilly, John O'Neill, Ray Branighan, Max Krilich, Phil Lowe, Paul Vautin, Les Boyd, Kerry Boustead, and possibly his greatest signing, Australian Rugby League Immortal Bob Fulton.

As told by people such as Paul "Fatty" Vautin, Arko's negotiating skills often led a player to sign or re-sign with Manly for less money than they were being offered by other clubs. In his biography "The Strife and times of Paul Vautin", Fatty told how in the early 1980s Parramatta Eels coach Jack Gibson offered him a substantial amount of money to join the Eels. When he told Arthurson about the offer, Arko convinced him that living on the Northern Beaches and playing for Manly offered him a far better lifestyle than in the western suburbs, including asking Vautin to compare swimming at any of the peninsula's renowned beaches to having to swim in the Parramatta River, telling him "You'll catch Typhoid". Fatty ended up re-signing with Manly for more than his previous contract (on the provision that he used at least half of the money to buy a house in the area...another Arthurson incentive to remain at the club), but far less than what Gibson was offering.

Arthurson's tireless efforts as secretary of Manly-Warringah paid off big time in the 1970s as the Sea Eagles won the NSWRL premiership in 1972, 1973, 1976 and 1978 making the club the most successful of the decade. In total, during his 20 years as club secretary, Manly appeared in 8 Grand Finals for four premierships; 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1982 and 1983. The club also won the Minor premiership in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1976 and 1983, the NSWRFL club championship in 1972 and 1973, the pre-season competition in 1980 and the KB Cup in 1982 and 1983. They also reached the finals series in 1966, 1968-1978 and 1981–1983.

In 1984 he became the Chairman of the Australian Rugby League (ARL) and in 1986 took over from Tom Bellew as Chairman of the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL). He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1988 "in recognition of (his) service to Rugby League football". [5]

In the mid-1990s Arthurson led the ARL's fight against Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd in the Super League war. [6] On 28 February 1997, in order to improve the chances of a peace deal with Super League being reached, Arthurson resigned as ARL chairman. Also in 1997, Arthurson released his book, Arko, My Game.

On 24 October 2000, Arthurson was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his fourteen years presiding over the NSWRL and ARL. [7]

The Ken Arthurson Stand, located in the south-eastern corner at Brookvale Oval and linking the Jane Try and (now) Fulton-Menzies stands, is named in his honour and was officially opened by Arthurson and the Mayor of Warringah Council Brian Green on Sunday 14 June 1995.

During his time as head of the ARL, Arthurson also served as President of the Manly Leagues Club until retiring in October 2004.

Honours

In November 2009, Arthurson was awarded the 'Spirit of Rugby League Award' by the Rugby League International Federation, [8] in their inaugural awards presentation. He was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2010. [9]

The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have also named one of their club awards in his honour. The Sea Eagles' Rookie of the Year award is known as the "Ken Arthurson Award - Rookie of the Year".

Retirement

Ken Arthurson currently lives with his wife Barbara on the Gold Coast in Queensland where his love of rugby league has seen him attend NRL games involving the Gold Coast Titans and Manly as a guest of the Titans, though he has stated that his heart will always be at Brookvale and he remains a staunch supporter of his beloved Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. [10]

Related Research Articles

New South Wales Rugby League Governing body of rugby league in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory

The New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) is the governing body of rugby league in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory and is a member of the Australian Rugby League Commission. It was formed in Sydney on 8 August 1907 and was known as the New South Wales Rugby Football League (NSWRFL) until 1984. From 1908 to 1994, the NSWRL ran Sydney's, then New South Wales', and eventually Australia's top-level rugby league club competition from their headquarters on Phillip Street, Sydney. The organisation is responsible for administering the New South Wales rugby league team.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Australian rugby league football club

The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles are an Australian professional rugby league club representing the Manly and Warringah regions of Sydney's Northern Beaches. The team colours are maroon and white, while their namesake and logo is the sea eagle. They compete in Australia's premier rugby league competition, the National Rugby League (NRL). The club debuted in the 1947 New South Wales Rugby Football League season and currently host the majority of its home games from Brookvale Oval, while training at the New South Wales Academy of Sport in Narrabeen. The club hold the record of longest period in Australian Rugby League history without a wooden spoon.

Paul Vautin

Paul "Fatty" Vautin is an Australian football commentator and formerly a professional rugby league footballer, captain and coach. He has provided commentary for the Nine Network's coverage of rugby league since joining the network in 1992 and has also hosted The Footy Show since its beginnings in 1994 opposite co-host Peter Sterling, until 2017. An Australian Kangaroos test and Queensland State of Origin representative lock or second-row forward, Vautin played club football in Brisbane with Wests, before moving to Sydney in 1979 to play with Manly-Warringah, whom he would captain to the 1987 NSWRL premiership. He also played for Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, and in England for St Helens.

Peter Sydney "Bullfrog" Moore OAM was an Australian rugby league administrator, particularly associated with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, where he was Chief Executive from 1969 to 1995, serving a record 26 years at the helm. The Canterbury club won four grand finals during his time as its CEO, and he was largely considered responsible for fostering the proud "family" culture for which the club became renowned.

Robert Fulton AM is a former professional rugby league footballer, coach and commentator. Fulton played, coached, selected for and has commentated on the game with great success at the highest levels and has been named amongst Australia's greatest rugby league players of the 20th century. As a player Fulton won three premierships with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the 1970s, the last as captain. He represented for the Australian national side on thirty-five occasions, seven times as captain. He had a long coaching career at the first grade level, taking Manly to premiership victory in 1987 and 1996. He coached the Australian national team to thirty-nine Tests and World Cup games. He was a New South Wales State selector and a national selector. He is currently a radio commentator with 2GB. In 1985 he was selected as one of the initial four post-war "Immortals" of the Australian game and in 2008 he was named in Australia's team of the century.

Kenneth John Irvine, also known by the nickname of "Mongo", was an Australian professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. He holds the standing Australian record for the most tries in a first-grade career – 212. No other player has yet managed 200 tries in their Australian club career, with the closest to Irvine's tally being Melbourne Storm player Billy Slater, who scored 190. He is also the 2nd all-time top try-scorer for the Australian national team with 33, two behind Darren Lockyer's 35. Irvine's great speed is legendary and he is regarded as Australia's greatest ever winger, being named in 2008 in the list of Australian rugby league's 100 greatest players, as well as being an automatic selection for the Australian Rugby League's "Team of the Century".

Des Hasler Australian RL coach and former Australia international rugby league footballer

Desmond John Hasler is an Australian professional rugby league coach who is the head coach of the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in the NRL, and a former professional rugby league footballer.

Geoff Toovey Australian RL coach and former Australia international rugby league footballer

Geoffrey "Geoff" Toovey, also known by the nickname of "Toovs" or "Tooves", is the former head coach of the Bradford Bulls and former professional rugby league footballer. Toovey played halfback for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, then played as a hooker later in his career at the Northern Eagles. He played 286 first-grade matches in all, and captained Manly to the 1996 ARL premiership and the 1995 and 1997 grand finals. He played in 13 international matches for Australia between 1991 and 1998. Toovey is the former head coach of Manly-Warringah.

Cliff Lyons

Cliff Lyons is an indigenous Australian former international rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s and 1990s. A Clive Churchill Medallist and two-time Dally M Medallist, he made 309 first-grade appearances with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, winning grand finals with them in 1987 and 1996. Lyons also represented New South Wales and Australia, being part of the successful 1990 Kangaroo Tour of Great Britain and France.

Roy Bull

Roy Bull was an Australian rugby league footballer who played in the 1940s and 1950s and spent his whole career - as player, coach & administrator - with the Manly-Warringah club in Sydney. In addition to playing in three New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership grand finals, he was a representative for the New South Wales rugby league team and the Australian national side. He has since been named amongst the nation's finest footballers of the 20th century.

The 1987 NSWRL season was the 80th season of professional rugby league football in Australia. Thirteen clubs competed for the New South Wales Rugby League premiership's J J Giltinan Shield and Winfield Cup during the season, which culminated in the grand final between the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the Canberra Raiders who were the first club ever from outside Sydney to appear in a premiership decider. This season, NSWRL teams also competed for the 1987 National Panasonic Cup.

The 1976 New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership was the 69th season of Sydney's professional rugby league football competition, Australia's first. Twelve teams, including six of 1908's foundation clubs and another six from around Sydney, competed for the J. J. Giltinan Shield and WD & HO Wills Cup during the season, which culminated in a grand final between the Manly-Warringah and Parramatta clubs. NSWRFL teams also competed for the 1976 Amco Cup.

The history of the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles dates back to 1932 when the Manly-Warringah Junior Rugby Football League was founded. In 1947 the New South Wales Rugby Football League included two additional teams: Manly-Warringah DRLFC and Parramatta DRLFC. The new club adopted the nickname "Sea Eagles" and went on to compete in every season of top-level rugby league until merging with the nearby North Sydney Bears to form the Northern Eagles club at the end of 1999. After three years the joint-venture team was disbanded with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles returning as a sole entity once more to the National Rugby League.

Danny Moore is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1990s and 2000s. An Australian international and Queensland State of Origin representative who played most of his career either at Centre or on the Wing, he played his club football in Australia for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the North Queensland Cowboys. He also played in England for the Wigan Warriors and the London Broncos.1st player to win a grand final in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere

The 1987 World Club Challenge was only the second game of its kind to be played between Britain's and Australia's respective domestic rugby league champion clubs. Chairman of Britain's 1986–87 Rugby Football League season champions Wigan, Maurice Lindsay, invited Australia's 1987 NSWRL season premiers, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles to Wigan for the game. After this memorable match, the World Club Challenge was decided to be made an official annual feature on the rugby league calendar.

Mal Cochrane is an Indigenous Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s and 1990s. He played for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership. Cochrane primarily played at hooker.

Allan Kevin Thomson is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1960s and 1970s, and coached in the 1980s. He played for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) competition.

Robert W. "Bob" Batty was an Australian rugby league footballer who played in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. A prolific goal kicking Fullback, Batty played his entire career with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership.

The 1976 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles season was the 30th in the club's history since their entry into the then New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership in 1947.

References

  1. "Yesterday's Hero". yesterdayshero.com.au. Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  2. "Rugby League Project". rugbyleagueproject.org. Archived from the original on 29 January 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  3. "Rugby League Project Coaches". rugbyleagueproject.org. Archived from the original on 29 January 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  4. Riccio, David (15 February 2009). "Arko offers to broker ceasefire". The Sunday Telegraph . Archived from the original on 24 September 2020. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  5. "Kenneth Richard Arthurson AM". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  6. Westfield, Mark (2000). The gatekeepers: the global media battle to control Australia's pay TV. Australia: Pluto Press. pp. xv. ISBN   978-1-871204-19-3. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  7. "Kenneth Arthurson". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  8. "Awards". rlif.com. Rugby League International Federation. Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  9. "Kenneth Arthurson". Sport Australia Hall of Fame . Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  10. "Arthurson names Bob Fulton as the Greatest Sea Eagle". dailytelegraph.com.au. Archived from the original on 24 September 2020. Retrieved 26 July 2014.

Further reading

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Pat Devery
1955-1956
Coach
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg
Manly

1957–1961
Succeeded by
Ron Willey
1962