The Green and Gold of the Kangaroos had a tinge of Red & Green back in 1970 when eight of the Club's players were rewarded for having standout seasons. This monumental moment goes up against the 'Hit of the Decade' when Sam Burgess flattened Penrith's Matthew Bell. Which moment will move on? Vote now!
Eight Rabbitohs selected in Kangaroos in 1970
Top Moments - Eight Rabbitohs Crack Kangaroos Squads
On Sunday night, September 20, the Australian Rugby League selectors chose their 19-man squad to defend their World Cup title that they won in 1968. Souths originally had only seven players selected, but when captain Graeme Langlands was ruled out with injury, Ron Coote replaced him as captain and Billy Smith stepped up as the new vice-captain. Eric Simms and Bob Grant were both considered to be unlucky not to be selected in the original side, but Langlands’ departure paved the way for Simms to come into the squad.
The 1970 tournament was only confirmed to go ahead in February of that year, and Great Britain were very confident that they could repeat the feat of their victorious 1960 team and after winning the Test series 2-1 in Australia earlier that year. Several significant innovations were highlighted in the tournament, with the introduction of a tournament sponsor, and as a result the introduction of a new trophy. It also gave us games which were played under floodlights, and the first full internationals to be staged on Sundays in England. The teams played for the ‘V & G Trophy’ (Vehicle & General group of insurance companies). Unfortunately, becoming the first ever major international sponsor didn’t do the company much good because a few years later they went bust.
When Australia named their side for the opening game against New Zealand all eight Souths players were included which made an international record of eight players coming from one club. This record stood until 1998 when the Brisbane Broncos had nine players in the Australian side against New Zealand in the Second Test of their Trans-Tasman series on October 9 at Suncorp Stadium (8 players were in the starting side and 1 on the Interchange).
Game one was played at the old Central Park ground at Wigan, which has been used as a Tesco supermarket car park since 2000. Australia had four players making their international debut, with three of these coming from Souths (Branighan, Sait and O’Neil) and Paramatta’s Bob ‘The Bear’ O’Reilly, who had an outstanding introduction to top-class football. He was the organiser of the attack around the rucks, making a few off-loads and bursts, and then combined splendidly with O’Neill in all the heavy work. The Aussies held a comfortable 17-9 lead over the Kiwis at half-time.
Australia’s captain and Rabbitohs’ lock-forward, Ron Coote, hurt his left shoulder when he dived over for a try in the 48th minute, but refused to come off until Australia scored again 12 minutes later. Hero of the match was Rabbitohs’ fullback, Eric Simms, who gave the crowd a remarkable sample of his point-scoring ability, with a try, 9 goals from 10 attempts, and a field goal, for a personal tally of 23 points. This was a record for an international match at the time, beating the previous record by 3 points held jointly by Lewis Jones, Roger Millward and Graeme Langlands.
Australia 47 (J.Cootes 2, R.Branighan, R.Fulton, W.Smith, R.McCarthy, R.Coote, R.Turner, E.Simms tries; Simms 9 goals; Simms field goal)defeated New Zealand 11 (G.Smith try; G.Ladner goal; Ladner 3 field goals) at Central Park, Wigan, Wednesday night, October 21, 1970 (7.30pm).
Crowd: 9,805. Gate: £2,991. Referee: Billy Thompson (Huddersfield). Touch Judges: J. Meadows (Liverpool), R.J. Percival (Warrington). Halftime: Australia 17-9. Goalkickers: Simms (Australia) 9/10, Ladner (New Zealand) 1/3. Weather: Fine.
AUSTRALIA: Eric Simms (Souths); Ray Branighan† (Souths), John Cootes (Wests Newcastle), Bob Fulton (Manly), Lionel Williamson (Newtown); Denis Pittard (Souths), Billy Smith (St. George); John O'Neill† (Souths), Elwyn Walters (Souths), Bob O'Reilly† (Parramatta), Bob McCarthy (Souths), Paul Sait† (Souths), Ron Coote (Souths - c). Replacements: Ron Turner (Cronulla, for Coote 60 min), Mark Harris (Easts, not used). Coach: Harry Bath.
NEW ZEALAND: Don Ladner (Waro-Rakua, West Coast); Bob McGuinn† (Pt. Chevalier, Auckland), Roy Christian (Otahuhu, Auckland -c), Bernie Lowther (Richmond, Auckland), Maurice Brereton (Marist Christchurch, Canterbury); Gary Woollard (Mt. Albert, Auckland), Graeme Cooksley (Easts Christchurch, Canterbury); Eddie Heatley† (Otahuhu, Auckland), Colin O'Neil (Marist, Wellington), Doug Gailey (Ellerslie, Auckland), Bill Deacon (Ngaruawahia, Waikato), Garry Smith (Marist, Wellington), Tony Kriletich (Marist, Auckland). Replacements: John Greengrass† (Linwood, Canterbury, for Heatley 10 min), Ngaroma 'Lummy' Graham† (Manukau, Auckland, for McGuinn 55 min). Coach: Lory Blanchard.
Man of the match: Simms (Australia).
† Indicates debut international
Australia were defeated by Great Britain in Game 2 by 11-4, with Ron Coote missing owing to injury, while New Zealand narrowly defeated France by 16-15 in Game 3.
Great Britain then defeated France 6-0 in their tryless Game 4 which was played in heavy rain at Castleford. For Game 5 the British Lions displayed their best form against the Kiwis to win easily 27-17, while Australia played in a shocker against France in the last Qualifying game and a 69th minute field goal from Jean-Pierre Capdouze gave the French much needed victory. This meant that Great Britain won all 3 games, and the others had a win each. Australia had the best for and against record to qualify for the final with Great Britain, and how the Lions must have wished that the old rule of first past the post was in use and no final needed.
The final was a blood bath, with Australia coming out on top on the scoreboard 12-7 to win their third World Cup title. Australian captain Ron Coote stated later that the final was one of the hardest games of all time. “The 1970 World Cup final was the toughest game of football I have ever played in,” said Coote. “The final itself was brutal but nothing compared to the action after the full-time whistle involving every player on both sides. Great Britain winger John Atkinson went up to our fullback Eric Simms and gave him a whack across the shoulder. It was no love bite. From there the field erupted into an all-out brawl.”
Eric Simms was the tournaments top scorer with 31 points (1 try, 12 goals and 2 field goals), while Father John Cootes was equal top tryscorer with Frenchman Serge Marsolan (4 tries each). Father John Cootes was a Roman Catholic priest from Newcastle who had been ordained by the Pope at the Vatican. He started each day on tour by saying mass at St. Marys Parish Church in Bradford. Future Immortal Bob Fulton was named the Superstar of the Series.
Burgess' Hit of the Century' on Matthew Bell (2010)
Top Moments - Hit of the Decade
Sam Burgess is back on the footy field this Sunday when England clash with PNG... So we decided to throwback to this monster hit on Panthers forward Matthew Bell back in 2010!
With the Rabbitohs in 5th position leading into the Round 12 clash, the stakes were high for the Red and Greens to make a statement to the rest of the competition by taking down the 2nd placed Panthers at ANZ Stadium.
The home side would strike first through a barging Dave Taylor try in the 13th minute, but Penrith would strike back just a few minutes later through Brad Tighe.
From the ensuing kickoff, Sam Burgess, assisted by Ben Lowe, produced one of the biggest hits in recent memory, on opposition forward Matthew Bell, forcing him to drop the ball in the process.
Channel 9 commentator Ray Warren had this to say about the massive hit:
"Matthew Bell has taken a Burgess bolter! Burgess has hit him with everything, including his birth certificate!"
The colossal impact changed the tide of the battle, as the Rabbitohs would score a few sets later and set themselves up for an emphatic 42-22 victory.