TWO front rowers, a halfback and a five-eighth will be the latest inductees into the Group Three Rugby League Hall of Fame this month.
They are prop Lloyd Hudson from Kempsey, five-eighth Robert ‘Rocky’ Laurie from Wauchope, Wingham prop Jake Kennett and halfback Joe White from Gloucester.
The induction will be held at the Wingham Services Club on Saturday November 25 and will be run by Group Three Rugby League and the Mid North Coast branch of the Men of League.
Hudson will be the first Kempsey player to go into the hall of fame since it was instigated by Group Three in 2013. He played in three premiership winning Central Kempsey sides from 1947-49 before switching to North Sydney, where he featured in 89 first grade games from 1950-55. Hudson represented Sydney against the touring American All Stars side in 1953 and also played two matches for NSW against Queensland. Hudson played for both City and Country and also captained a Northern NSW side in a match against New Zealand. He represented North Coast on five occasions. He captain-coached Central Kempsey to premierships in the Group Three competition in 1956 and 1962. He also served in the army during World War II where he was the Australian Army heavyweight boxing champion. He died in 2015, aged 92.
Kennett was renowned as one of the hardest props to ply his trade in Group 18/Group Three football in the 1950s, 60s and early 1970s. He was a regular representative at group level and also turned out for North Coast. Kennett was a key member of Wingham’s premier teams of 1961 and 62 while the Tigers were grand finalists in 196/63/64/66 and 72. In all he played 208 first grade game for Wingham. He was also heavily involved with coaching after retiring.
Laurie was the first winner of the Dally M player of the year award when playing for South Sydney in 1980. A Wauchope junior, he switched to Eastern Suburbs in 1975 before moving to Souths, where he also represented NSW in the pre-State of Origin days.
Laurie was only 27 when he returned to captain-coach Wauchope in 1983. He was captained North Coast to the division’s first Country Championship final, where they were beaten by Southern Division. Laurie was named Country Firsts captain that year where for the first time the side contained players from Sydney clubs.
Laurie captain-coached Wauchope to three successive grand finals, losing in 83 and 85 and winning in 84. He moved to take up coaching appointments in other country areas but returned to finish his career with the Blues.
White will be the second Gloucester player to be inducted into the hall of fame.
He will follow centre/five-eighth Kevin Everitt, who was inducted last year. The hall of fame was instigated by Group Three in 2013. While Gloucester no long plays in Group Three, players from earlier eras are still eligible for the hall of fame.
A halfback, White was a member of the great Gloucester sides that dominated the Group 18/Group Three competitions in the 1950s and 60s. He won first grade premierships in 1958, 59 and 60 under the coaching of Max Bailey and Toby Wilson while he was in the powerful teams captain-coached by Bandy Adams when the Magpies were premiers from 1963 to 1966. He retired in 1967.
He was named in the North Coast side to play in the inaugural Country Divisional Championships in 1960 but was forced to withdraw because of injury. In those days the North Coast division covered the area from Gloucester to Tweed Heads.
His finest moment in the representative arena came in 1962 when he played for North Coast against the Great Britain side. The Great Britain side was rated as among the greatest to tour Australia. Great Britain proved too strong for Australia in the Ashes series, winning 2-1. White scored two tries for North Coast and was rated by Englishman Alex Murphy – one of the finest halfbacks to play the game – as the best halfback he’d opposed in Australia.