Wagga Magpies relive success of Arthur Summons era at 50-year reunion

MEMORY LANE: (from left) Arthur Briggs, Arthur Summons, Tom McDonell, Barry Cottam, Ross Scott, Bill Rake, Geoff Chambers and Ray Sims. Picture: Les Smith

MEMORY LANE: (from left) Arthur Briggs, Arthur Summons, Tom McDonell, Barry Cottam, Ross Scott, Bill Rake, Geoff Chambers and Ray Sims. Picture: Les Smith

“The goalkicks are getting longer each year, of course,” said Barry Cottam. 

A flying winger for Wagga Magpies in the Arthur Summons-era, Cottam was one of many recounting the good times at a 50-year reunion of their 1966 premiership.

Cottam said the calibre of footballers playing in the bush made rugby league what it was, from teammates to opponents. Even former Kangaroo Ross Scott was welcomed with open arms, where once it might’ve been a stiff arm given the fierce rivalry between the clubs. 

MAGPIE MEMORIES: (back, from left) Bruce Stewart and Mel Hopwood and (front, from left) Brian Partridge and Cyril Wild at the Wagga Magpies reunion of the 1965, 1966, 1967 premierships. Picture: Les Smith

MAGPIE MEMORIES: (back, from left) Bruce Stewart and Mel Hopwood and (front, from left) Brian Partridge and Cyril Wild at the Wagga Magpies reunion of the 1965, 1966, 1967 premierships. Picture: Les Smith

Magpies’ 20-0 grand final victory over Tumbarumba came in the inaugural season of the breakaway Murrumbidgee Rugby League competition. 

And it was the middle leg of a hat-trick under Summons, with Magpies beating Kangaroos in the Group 20 decider in 1965 and defending their Murrumbidgee title against Tumut in 1967.

The former captain-coach was among those at Wagga’s Riverina Hotel last week where organiser and former lock Tom McDonell recalled the mid-60s success.

“I played under four different coaches and Arthur was by far the standout coach,” McDonell said.

“He knew how to talk to the players and he just seemed to be able to get the best out of everybody.”

1966 PREMIERS: (Back, from left) Cyril Wild, Kevin Brown, Ken Cluff, William Rake, Michael Walker, William Hickford, John Mavroudis; (centre) trainer John Knowles, Ron Wright, Tom McDonell, selector Tom Hilton, Robert Wallace, Barry Cottam, treasurer Paddy O'Brien; (front) selector Ernie Lloyd, Fred Norden, Terry Gaffney, captain-coach Arthur Summons, Robert Honeysett, Garry Wheeler, president Keith Inglis.

1966 PREMIERS: (Back, from left) Cyril Wild, Kevin Brown, Ken Cluff, William Rake, Michael Walker, William Hickford, John Mavroudis; (centre) trainer John Knowles, Ron Wright, Tom McDonell, selector Tom Hilton, Robert Wallace, Barry Cottam, treasurer Paddy O'Brien; (front) selector Ernie Lloyd, Fred Norden, Terry Gaffney, captain-coach Arthur Summons, Robert Honeysett, Garry Wheeler, president Keith Inglis.

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