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Stars that died 2010

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Arthur Beetson, Australian rugby league footballer, first Indigenous Australian to captain a national team in any sport, heart attack.Arthur Beetson, 66, Australian rugby league footballer, first Indigenous Australian to captain a national team in any sport, died from a heart attack he was 66.

Arthur Henry "Artie" Beetson OAM  was an Australian rugby league footballer and coach died from a heart attack he was 66.. He represented Australia, NSW and Queensland from 1964 to 1981. His main position was at prop. Beetson became the first Indigenous Australian to captain his country in any sport [3] and is frequently cited as the best post-war forward in Australian rugby league history. He also had an extensive coaching career, spanning the 1970s to the 1990s, coaching Australia, Queensland, Eastern Suburbs, Redcliffe Dolphins and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. On 1 December 2011, Beetson died after a heart attack, aged 66.

(22 January 1945 – 1 December 2011[2])

Playing career

Beetson's mother was a member of the Stolen Generation.[4] His rugby league career began with Redcliffe in the Brisbane Rugby League competition between 1964 and 1965. After winning the club's player of the year award in 1965 as well as the Brisbane Rugby League premiership with them, he moved to Sydney to play in the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership with the Balmain Tigers. In his first year with them, 1966, he played in the grand final against St. George and was also selected to make his representative debut for Australia against England and scored two tries. Beetson played with Balmain from then until 1970, with a spell in England with Hull Kingston Rovers in 1968.[5] He later joined the Eastern Suburbs club where he stayed from 1971 to 1978, where he captained the side to the 1974 and 1975 premierships. During the 1976 NSWRFL season, Beetson captained Eastern Suburbs to victory in their unofficial 1976 World Club Challenge match against British champions St. Helens in Sydney. This Easts team would go down as one of the greatest club sides in rugby league history. During this period Beetson also played with distinction for Australia and in 1974 he was named as Rugby League Week's player of the year.
He possessed great strength and toughness, a surprising turn of speed for a big man and was unequalled as a ball player. His skill as a footballer was matched only by his skill as an eater, earning nicknames such as 'Meat Pie Artie'. He is known and immortalised by his performance of eating 11 hot dogs before a gala dinner for the Australian team in 1973.
His big frame, pure speed and brilliant ball skills won countless games for all his teams. His off-loading and attacking workrate broke the mould for front rowers and changed the way they played the game.
After two years with Parramatta in 1979 and 1980, capped off with a man of the match performance in the Eels 8-5 Tooth Cup Final win over Balmain. Beetson achieved further immortality as captain of Queensland in the inaugural 1980 State of Origin game, won 20–10 by Queensland on 8 July. He returned to Queensland for one final year of playing with his old Redcliffe team in 1981. He also captained Queensland for the final 'traditional' interstate match in 1981 and at the end of the season the Dolphins were beaten in the final minute of the grand final by Southern Suburbs.
In 1987 he received the Medal of the Order of Australia "in recognition of service to the sport of Rugby League".


Beetson's coaching career began while still playing for Easts in 1977. He was captain-coach of Redcliffe in 1981 and that season was appointed coach of the Queensland State of Origin side, taking them to repeated series victories over New South Wales from 1981 to 1984 . He had a brief, but unsuccessful period, coaching Australia in 1983 before returning to coach his former club Eastern Suburbs, from 1985 to 1988, being named Coach of the Year in 1987 and Cronulla-Sutherland for the 1992 and 1993 seasons, where he enjoyed mixed success.
Beetson has also spent many years years as a recruitment officer for both Eastern Suburbs and Queensland.
In the post-1999 NRL season an Aboriginal side managed by Arthur Beetson defeated the Papua New Guinean national team. He then pushed, unsuccessfully, for an Australia Day match against the Australian national team.[6]


Big Artie the autobiography.jpg
Beetson is often regarded as Australia's best ever forward, and in 2000 he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal, then in 2001 the Centenary Medal "for service to Australian society through the sport of rugby league". He was inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame in 2003. In May 2004 his book, Big Artie: The Autobiography was published. Also that year he became the seventh selected post-war "Immortal" of the Australian game with Churchill, Raper, Gasnier, Fulton, Langlands and Wally Lewis.
In February 2008, Beetson was named in a list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia.[7][8] Beetson went on to be named in the front-row in Australian rugby league's Team of the Century. Announced on 17 April 2008, the team is the panel's majority choice for each of the thirteen starting positions and four interchange players.[9][10] Beetson chose to boycott the presentation ceremony, stating that he did not agree with the direction rugby league is taking.[11] In June 2008, he was chosen in the Queensland Rugby League's Team of the Century at second-row.[12] In 2008, rugby league in Australia's centenary year, Beetson was named at second-row forward in the Toowoomba and South West Team of the Century.[13] He was made a life member of the Sydney Cricket Ground and a plaque in the Walk of Honour there commemorates his career. He is a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
As part of the Centenary of League celebrations in 2008, Beetson was retrospectively awarded the Clive Churchill Medal as Man of the Match in the 1974 Grand final.[14]


On 1 December 2011, Beetson died following a heart attack while riding his bicycle at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast, Queensland. He was 66.[15]

Public memorial

The Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh announced that a bronze statue of Beetson is to be situated at Lang Park.[16] It was unveiled on 3 July 2012.[17]

To see more of who died in 2011 click here

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