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Captain in Focus: Darrell Bampton

Darrell Maxwell Bampton, captain in 1978, had a distinguished career as a player and administrator. Born on 20 June 1949, he was a junior with the Alexandria Rovers, Waterloo and Zetland clubs, was captain of the President’s Cup premiership winning team in 1969 and a member of the third grade premiership winning team the same year.

Darrell played 116 games for Souths in seasons 1969-73 and 1978-79, including 51 in first grade, scoring one try. He left Souths at the end of 1973 to join Collegians Wollongong as captain-coach, mainly because he was having trouble cementing a place in the back row due to the likes of Paul Sait, Bob McCarthy and Gary Stevens. Ron Coote had departed two years earlier.

He was captain of the victorious Illawarra CRL side against Great Britain in 1975.

At the beginning of 1978, new coach Jack Gibson wanted Darrell to return home. He had been commuting from Coogee to Wollongong three nights a week for training, and jumped at the offer. His form in the pre-season was outstanding, and was rewarded with the captaincy.

As a football administrator his talents have been recognised at club, NSW and Australian levels. He was CEO of Souths Football Club (1997-1999), NSW State Of Origin manager (1999-2002), Tri-series ARL manager (1999), World Cup manager (2000, Kangaroo tour manager (2001) and Anzac Tests manager vs New Zealand (2002). He was also appointed vice-president of the NSWRFL (2002).

Bampton was awarded Life Membership of SSDRLFC in 1994, and on Monday 9 June 2009, his talents were recognised by the Australian Government when he was awarded the Order Of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to Rugby League.

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