Testimonials

  • He is one of the most charismatic gentlemen I have met in any sport. 
    Dick 'Tosser' Turner, Long Time Manager of the Queensland State of Origin Team
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  • He could do it all on a football field and he could sell season tickets.  He was an entertainer, and a great player.  With Beetson, things came so naturally to him that we had to restrict him.  There just weren’t the people who could match his skills.  He was good to coach; he was co-operative and he could take tough coaching……. You didn’t have to mince words or sweetheart him.  He contributed, he was generous and he helped other people.  He never blamed anyone else.  If he had a bad game, he’d admit it.

    Jack Gibson
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  • One of the best things about Arthur is that all his achievements and success in football have never changed him.  I didn’t see him as a player, but I’ve seen him on field and I understand what a champion he was.  He is an enduring figure in our game – such a likable character, with his big, friendly smile, and a handshake that offers comfort and confidence to the people he meets.  Everywhere we go, it always amazes me how many people know Arthur and are happy to see him.  In return, his passion and concern for the game and its people shine through.  He’s a man with a really good eye for football talent, and a big traveller in the job he does for the Roosters.  Arthur is a roving ambassador of the game; the numbers of people he would meet each year in the name of rugby league would be astonishing.  The game is lucky to have him
    Ricky Stuart
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  • I go back to the days when he was a teenage postman, riding a pushbike around Roma, delivering mail.  I was mates with the brother Pedro, who was the same age as me, a couple of years younger than Artie.  I came from Charleville, but I used to do a lot of boxing around Roma in the amateurs.  Pedro and I would go to the boxing gym at the railway station and Artie used to go there, too.  We were younger, smaller and quicker than him, and he’s put the gloves on with me and Pedro and he’s let us punch the piss out of him.

    I went away from Roma for a few years during the ‘60s and not long after I got back, I was in the pool room, playing pool, and there was this big bastard stand looking at me.  I had Lyle Capewell with me, a mate who went on to become a good boxer, and he said, ‘Don’t you know this big bloke?’ I said no, and he told me it was Artie.

    “How do you reckon you’d go with me now?’ said Arthur…. And he burst out laughing. He’d been away playing football and brown plenty since the last time I last saw him.  He was real solid.

    I followed Artie’s football career when he went to Sydney and, in my view, he became the best front-row forward we’ve ever had in Australia.  And he became a credit to the indigenous people of the country.  In the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was harder for indigenous people to make it – but Artie did.  It’s also great now to see him going around and talking to the Aboriginal young feels, trying to help them.

    'Sugar' Ray Robinson, Atsic Commissioner, Queensland South
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  • The first time I met Artie Beetson was 1986. My sister Barbara and I were having an evening our and had bumped into former league player Royce Ayliffe, who took us to a bar or club he owned in Randwick.  I mentioned that I had never met Artie and would love to do so. Royce must then have called Artie.

    It was late and Artie was coaching in the morning. He told Royce that he didn’t believe him and put down the phone.  That made Royce bundle us into a car and soon we were knocking on Arite’s door.  As I remember, he appeared, this big bear of a legend, hald asleep and in his dressing gown.  After a bit, Artie disappeared, before coming back into the room all freshly done up in a smart shirt and I had a great time chatting with this gentle giant whom I had admired so much.  He was, and is, an inspiration to all Australians, but particularly to our people and to me, both then and now. Someone told me that night that it was the first time Artie had ever got changed and dressed up for anyone.  Well Artie, I can tell you now that I hold you in such high esteem that should you ever find yourself in my neighbourhood in the early hours, knocking on my door, I will be even faster than you were to shower and dress up nice for you!

    Evonne Goolagong-Cawley
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  • I have always thought that Arthur would have made a great teacher.  He is sincere, intelligent, has a wonderful rapport with people and an ability to impart knowledge.

    I first met Arthur in May 1978 when he came to a match between Marcellin College Randwick and Marist Kogarah.  After we were introduced, I asked him to speak to the Marcellin team before the game.  The loo on the opposition team’s faces as Arthuer Beetson stood among the Marcellin boys was one of awe.  We defeated Marist Kogarah that afternoon and Arthur’s continuing presence throughout the season inspired the team to win not only the MCC competition, but also the State All Schools Open Knockout.

    During half-time breaks in the period, when he talked to individual students and the team, he never raised his voice.  He always encouraged players, pointed out to individuals what they should be doing in their positions, acknowledged the strength of individual players and the team, and identified strengths and weaknesses of opposing teams.

    Arthur Beetson has been a loyal friend to me for 25 years.  Loyalty is not always the most common of human qualities, but with Arthur, I imagine I’m only one of many people to whom he has extended similar loyalty and friendship.

    Brother Pat Howlett, Parramatta Marist School Principal
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  • Arthur was a player with remarkable talents – possessive of enormous strength and an uncanny ability to read the game.  A veritable genius with the ball in hand.  Probably one of the greatest front-row forwards to play the game.  The game’s history will always relate to Arthur Beetson.

    Bob Abbot AM, Manager of Australia's 1975 World Cup Touring Team
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  • In my eyes that was no better player.  For a man of his incredible size he had all the skills – he had everything.  He could tackle, he could run, he could set up play beautifully.  And he also had qualities that made him an outstanding captain.  I’ve always rated him able my other key people – Bob Fulton, Graeme Langlands, Ron Coote and Malcolm Reilly.  And he could have lost it all, with the injures he had and the constant battle he fought with his weight.  The fact that he kept coming back after adversity showed his quality, his commitment.  I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play with someone like him.  The respect Arthur still has out in the land of rugby league is incredible.  He has a presence about him that can get him through any door.  Fundamentally, he’s a good man, but he can be difficult, too, and people have said to me at times that they’ve found him a cranky big bloke.  There were occasions when he was very critical of my administration.  I think he wanted everything to go back to the way it was when blokes like he and I started in the country.  But things had changed, and it was society that had changed, not the game.  As friends……nothing has ever stood in the way of that.

    John Quayle
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  • I always think of Arthur as one of the most humble of our sporting champions.  There is no doubt he is one of rugby league’s all-time greats – a superstar and a team man at the same time.

    His football skills were wonderful.  Through his career, you couldn’t begin to count the number of blokes he put over for tries, despite the ‘attention’ he always received, the punishment he copped.  Today, he’s still working for rugby league, putting back in.  A game can be blessed by its special individuals – and that’s the way it is with league and Artie Beetson.

    I remember playing him years ago in a cricket match at Coogee.  Artie was the wicketkeeper and he did a good job, but after a while he decided to take the gloves off and bowl a few spinners.  The ball was like a ping-pong ball in Artie’s hand, and he spun it the proverbial mile  and enjoyed himself thoroughly.  To him, the game was fun.  That was Artie and sport.

    Alan Davidson, Player of 44 Cricket Tests for Australia between 1953 and 1963, and president of the NSW Cricket Accossiation from 1970 to 2003
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  • I remember a Christmas Day when, as was tradition, a large group of Balmain water polo players gathered at my parents’ house in Balmain for a drink.  Arthur had returned to Australia the previous day from one of his tours of England and popped in at home to see a friend, Ron Jackson, a bloke he knew very well.  The guys were asking Arthur about the tour and in particular how certain players had gone.  I recall clearly that he had praise for every single player on the tour – even though it was obvious to all league followers that some hadn’t performed so well.  That’s the way Arthur was.  When he became a star and was playing for Australia he would still always mix it with his old workmates from Balmain – and blokes who had a beer with him would talk about how Arthur was never critical of other players. 

    Dennis Hamill, Businessman and Balmain Supporter
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  • Artie is something of a legend in East Hull, even today.  Every Rovers fan over 40 has a special place in their footballing heart for him.  Both my father and grandfather thought he was one of the best forwards ever to play for us, despite the fact that he only played a handful of games.  When Roger Millward retired as Hull KR coach in 1991 a lot of Rovers supporters were hoping that Artie would replace him.

    DR Tony Collins, Archivist, Rugby Football League, and a Third Gerneration Hull Kingston Rovers Suppporter
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  • I have never seen anyone play our game better than Arthur Beetson.

    Frank Hyde
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  • When I first encountered Arthur in 1966 I quickly realised that he was potentially the best footballer I’d ever seen, but because of his fitness problems and some injuries we had to rule him out of the first two Ashes Tests.  In the third Test, after just 20 minutes, he wanted to be replaced.  “You’re not going off,” I said.  “You’re killing ‘em!” He stayed until half-time and did a mighty job for us.

    Whatever I drink, you can drink,” I’d said to him in the lead-up to the Test.  ‘But we’re not drinking schooners, we’re only drinking “sevens”.’ That week he never slipped away for a pie or hamburger (as he was known to do) and did everything I asked.  I couldn’t fault him.  And the half of football he played was magical.  It was the making of him.

    He’s a lovable bloke, Arthur, and was a simply brilliant footballer.  He had it all – skill, size, speed.  The only thing he lacked early, as a country boy coming down from Queensland, was commitment.  That came later.

    Iam Walsh, Australian Captain 1966
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  • The name today has a ring about it and the reputation is as big as the man himself.  He is to league as Chappell is to cricket, Crompton to golf, Laver to tennis….

    The Late Phil Tresidder, One of Australia's Finest Sports Journalist's, Writing in 1975
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