On This Day 1970: Coote Captains Australia To World Cup Glory
On this day in 1970: Souths lock Ron Coote captains Australia in the World Cup Final against Great Britain at Leeds. In a spiteful match where brutal confrontation is commonplace, Souths prop John O'Neill refuses to take a backward step, standing toe-to-toe with the fearsome British pack.
Ron Coote was thrust the captaincy of the Australian side after Graham Langlands missed the tour through injury, and he came through with honours.
Having retained the Ashes, Great Britain were favourites to win the final, which would become known as the 'Battle of Headingly' due to its brutality. However, it went completely against expectations as Britain failed to play any decent football despite overwhelming possession.
The Kangaroos led 5–4 at half-time with a try to Australian three-quarter Father John Cootes. They went on to utilise their meagre chances to the full.
Australia emerged from the battle as 12-7 victors and Coote triumphantly lifted the World Cup.
The game itself was an extended punch-up.
The only surprise was that it took 79 minutes before anyone was sent off. Two sacrificial lambs, Billy Smith of Australia and Sid Hynes of Britain, were sent off the field in the last minute for what had been going unpunished throughout the game.
Souths were well represented in the match with Eric Simms, Paul Sait, John O'Neill, Ron Coote,Ray Branigha and Elwyn Walters all featuring.