By Barry Ross
There was much joy among Sydney sporting fans when it was announced the Sydney Cricket Ground would host its first ever Rugby League Test. The date was 29 June 1914 and Australia defeated England 12-7.
But just two years later a player from both teams was killed in France in World War One during the fierce fighting at the Battle of the Somme. Tragically, neither man’s bodies were ever found but they are remembered for their heroic actions in both of their nations.
Robert Richardson Tidyman was born at Townsville on 6 October 1891. He moved to Sydney with his family as a young boy and lived at Queen Street Woollahra. After taking up rugby league at the local school, he quickly established himself as a star player. He was selected in junior representative teams from the Woollahra Borough club and was selected in Eastern Suburbs first grade side as five eighth for the opening competition match of 1913. This was at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 3 May 1913 and Easts beat Newtown 17-15. This was the first ever rugby league club game to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
John Raper MBE celebrated his 78th birthday on Wednesday 12 April. He enjoyed a pleasant lunch with family, friends and former team-mates at the Prince Hotel, Kirrawee in Sydney’s south.
Carol Raper delivering John his birthday cake
For a man who never played Sydney football, John Hobby had an amazing 17 year career.
He toured New Zealand with NSW Country in 1968, as well as representing Country Seconds four times, playing six matches against International touring teams, representing three divisions in a total of 30 plus games, playing for four Country Groups and winning six Premierships as a captain/coach.
Highly respected by his team-mates and opponents alike, John gave back plenty to the game he loved after his playing career had finished.
The Illawarra region have produced some great wingers since the code was first played in the Wollongong district in the 1911 season.
Among these stars are Charlie "Saus" Hazelton (1 Test), Ian Moir (12 Tests), Bob Dimond (1948 Kangaroo), Peter Dimond (10 Tests), Les Hanigan (2 Tests), Brett Morris (18 Tests), Rod Wishart (17 Tests), Allan McMahon (5 Tests) and Charlie Kentwell.
While Charlie Kentwell did not play a Test, in fact he did not even play Sydney football, he was still one of the best wingers ever produced by the strong Illawarra competition.
Illawarra's first Kick Off Club for 2017 was held at Kiama Leagues Club on Friday 24 February with 125 supporters enjoying the coastal views and generous hospitality of the Leagues Club.
by Barry Ross
In 1989, the Illawarra Steelers won the S.G (Samuel George) Ball Cup. The squad was Greg Clarke, Tony Crnkovic, John Cross, Ben Dabin, Craig Dixon, Adam Dunn, Ryan Girdler, Simon Lacey, Paul Malone, Michael Misiti, Darren Motbey, John Neden, Paul Nigro, David Riolo, Jason Seadon, Craig Simon, John Simon, Robert Walsh. Coach Bill Wright, Manager Allan Barry.
The S.G Ball was an under 17 competition in 1989 and several of these players went on to big things in our game. It is interesting to see what they did, football-wise, down the track.