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Captain in Focus: Ziggy Niszczot

Zbignew (Ziggy) Niszczot was captain of Souths in seasons 1983-84. Born on 1 September 1955, he came to Souths after playing with Maitland and Norths Newcastle on the recommendation of former 1970s Easts and Manly halfback Johnny Mayes.

A Beresfield junior, Niszczot played Newcastle representatives where he played on the wing against Great Britain in 1979. He also scored two tries in Norths' Newcastle grand final win that year.

Ziggy became an instant hit with the Souths fans. The Hill Squad (called The Burrow today) had their songs, among them was ‘Ziggy Niszczot walks on water, tra-la-la-la', to the tune of 'Deck The Halls'.

It was because he seemed to perform miracles on the field with his incredible cover defence coming across from his wing and devastating runs in attack. The NSWRL even ran promotional advertisements urging people to ‘watch Ziggy Zag’.

He turned down offers from Canterbury and Newtown, to join Souths in 1980.

"I thought I had a better chance of playing centres at Souths, my preferred position," Niszczot said.

"John Berne had just gone to Easts and I was hoping to fill his spot".

Ron Willey, Souths coach then, said that he made Ziggy captain because he is so well-respected by the players, and he’s a cool customer and a terrific fellow. He was good at running the team out of trouble when the pressure was on.

If Souths conceded a try, Ziggy would tell them in the huddle behind the posts not to worry and just focus on the next task at hand.

He played 113 games for Souths, all in first grade, scoring 39 tries. In 1982 he played two games for NSW State Of Origin, scoring two tries in game two at Lang Park which helped spur a 20-16 victory for NSW.

Awarded Life Membership of SSDRLFC in 2003, he is a regular attendee at player re-unions.