Top 5 Rabbitohs Of The 1950s

There is no denying the Rabbitohs are a Club with a great history full of great players. The team at Rabbitohs.com.au have put our heads together to look back and name, in our opinion, the Top 5 Players of each decade from the 1950s to the 2000s.

Here are our Top 5 Players of the 1950s - Let us know what you think on Twitter or Facebook!

 

5) Les 'Chicka' Cowie

Arguably one of the best lock forwards of his time, ‘Chicka’ Cowie played an integral role in the dominance of the golden era of the Rabbitohs. A brutal tackler and effective blind-side attacking player, Cowie played in five premiership winning teams between during his 178 appearance for Souths. His four tries in the 1956 final against Balmain, a Club record for a forward, was a reflection of his brilliant positional ability. Cowie also represented Australia six times in his career. When his career ended in 1958, Cowie continued with Souths as a selector before progressing to the Australian selection panel in 1978.

Born

17 May 1925

Position

Lock

Club Appearance

178

Club Points

198 (66 Tries)

Representative Honours

10 Matches For NSW, 6 Tests For Australia

Representative Points

6 (2 Tries)

 

4) Ian Moir

The fastest man in Rugby League during the 1950s, Ian Moir was a try scoring phenomenon in the 1950s. Debuting in 1952, Moir quickly established himself as a force on the field. In 1953 he was the season’s leading try scorer with 20 tries and another three coming in the Grand Final win over St George. Moir would be joint leading try-scorer in the 1957 World Cup and help Australia lift the trophy in their undefeated campaign. With 104 tries to his name in 110 appearance, Moir still stands in the Souths records book thanks to his five tries in a game against Parramatta in 1957 – he shares this record with several other Rabbitohs. Even in 1988 Moir still had his trademark athleticism, winning the 1988 NSW Veterans (50-54 years old) 100m Championship in 12.7 seconds.

Born

1932

Position

Winger

Club Appearance

110

Club Points

312 (104 Tries)

Representative Honours

10 Matches For NSW, 8 Tests For Australia

Representative Points

51 (17 Tries)

 

3) Bernie Purcell

A product of St Peters, Surry Hills, Purcell was a stalwart for the Rabbitohs during their golden era. A goal-kicking second-row forward with absolute composure on the ball, Purcell became the first Australian forward to score over 1,000 career points and the first Australian forward to kick over 500 goals (a record only matched by three other players up until 2011). Captaining Souths on several occasions, Purcell’s coolness sealed the 1955 premiership with a late conversion to beat Newtown by a point (12-11). After retiring, Bernie went on the coach Souths in the 60s. He played a huge part in working to save Souths from a financial crisis in the early 70s and again when we were excluded from the NRL competition. Sadly, Purcell passed away in 2001, aged 73, and did not get the chance to see Souths take the field in their return season.

Born

1928

Position

Second-Row

Club Appearance

178

Club Points

1126 (36 Tries, 509 Goals)

Representative Honours

4 Matches For NSW, 1 Test For Australia

Representative Points

3 (1 Try)

 

2) Jack Rayner 

The most dominant Captain and Coach in Souths history, Jack Rayner led Souths during our golden era of the 1950s. Winning premierships in ’50, ’51, ’53, ’54 and ’55, Jack stands as the most successful captain in Rugby League history (alongside Ken Kearney) and was the first man to coach a side to five Grand Final victories. A police detective by trade, his tough leadership and inspirational performances as a forward culminated in the miracle of ’55 when Rayner managed to rouse Souths to a remarkable comeback to claim the premiership. In the words of Clive Churchill; “He was a brilliant tactician. I never saw a better forward in cover defence on the blind side than Rayner. Jack was the crankiest forward I played with but what a grand fellow he was.”

Born

11 April 1921

Position

Second-Row

Club Appearance

194

Club Points

190 (58 Tries, 8 Goals)

Representative Honours

16 Matches For NSW, 5 Test For Australia

Representative Points

15 (5 Tries)

 

1) Clive Churchill

The Little Master - a Rugby League Immortal and namesake of the Clive Churchill Medal for man-of-the-match in NRL Grand Finals – Clive Churchill retired as the most capped Kangaroo and left a huge imprint on the game in the way he changed the role of fullback. There was no aspect of his game that he didn’t master – attack, defence, support play, kicking, captaincy and finally, coaching. Churchill was courageous in standing up to bigger opponents and was electrifying when he came into the attack. His courage was best displayed in the last regular game of the 1955 season when Churchill kicked a successful sideline conversion after the full-time bell with a broken arm wrapped in cardboard. After retiring he linked up with Souths again in 1966 to preside over a record ten season in the Club’s second golden period.

Born

21 January 1927

Position

Fullback

Club Appearance

164

Club Points

193 (13 Tries, 75 Goals, 2 Field Goals)

Representative Honours

27 Matches For NSW, 34 Test For Australia

Representative Points

68 (4 Tries, 28 Goals)