Four new members for Group Three hall of fame

Hall of fame special guest Mick Sullivan with inductees Robert Laurie, Emily Lee, representing her grandfather, the late Lloyd Hudson, Jake Kennett and Joe White.
Hall of fame special guest Mick Sullivan with inductees Robert Laurie, Emily Lee, representing her grandfather, the late Lloyd Hudson, Jake Kennett and Joe White.

GROUP Three Rugby League’s most exclusive club has four new members following the latest induction to the hall of fame.

They are Robert ‘Rocky’ Laurie, from Wauchope, Wingham’s Jake Kennett, Joe White from Gloucester and the late Lloyd Hudson were inducted into the hall of fame, that was instigated in 2013. They join Kevin Hardy (Taree), Wally Sneddon (Taree/Wauchope), Tony Paskins (Forster-Tuncurry), Warren Kimberley (Wauchope), Errol Ruprecht (Taree), Garry McQuillan (Forster-Tuncurry), Harry Smith (Wingham), Bruce ‘Porky’ Slater (Wingham), Kevin Everitt (Gloucester), Pat Cudmore (Port Macquarie) and Tony Hinton (Taree) in the hall of fame.

The night is promoted by the Mid North Coast Men of League along with Group Three Rugby League. Marshall Loadsman from the men of league was the compere.

Laurie returned to captain-coach his home town of Wauchope in 1983 when aged just 27 after successful stints at Eastern Suburbs and South Sydney, where he represented NSW as a five-eighth. He captained Country Firsts in 1983 when the match against City was played at Newcastle. He stayed in Group Three for three seasons, guiding Wauchope to three successive grand finals for two losses and a win. He then moved to Inverell and Maitland before returning to Wauchope to finish his playing days. When with South Sydney Laurie was named the first Dally M player of the year in 1980.

A halfback, Joe White was a member of powerful Gloucester sides that dominated the then Group 18 competition in the 1950s and 60s. His first grade career ran from 1958 to 66 in which time the Magpies won seven premierships. He also represented North Coast against the touring Great Britain side in 1962 – regaded as one of the best sides to play in Australia. Englishman Alex Murphy rated White the best half he played against that year in Australia after the match against North Coast at Lismore.

Kennett, a prop, played 208 first grade games for the Wingham Tigers between 1958 and 72. A group and North Coast representative, captaining North Coast one one occasion. He was renowned as one of the toughest players in what was a tough and at times brutal era of rugby league. He won premierships with the Tigers in 1961 and 62 and after retiring coached Wingham junior teams.

Hudson was also a prop.  He served with the army in New Guinea and Borneo during World War II where he also won the army’s heavyweight boxing title. After the war he won three successive premierships with Central Kempsey before carving out a successful career in Sydney with North Sydney, where he represented City and NSW. He returned to captain-coach Central Kempsey in 1956, winning the premiership in 1962. He is the first Kempsey player to be included in the hall of fame.

Former NRL star Mick Sullivan, who started his career in the Wingham juniors, was the special guest at the evening along with Man of League NSW manager Bruce Walker. A crowd of nearly 200 attended.

Sullivan has met with enormous success captain-coaching Orange CYMS in Group 10, where he has won five premierships in seven years since leaving the NRL, where he played with Northern Eagles, Cronulla and Canterbury.