Mr Arthur Beetson OAM
Roma born and bred rugby league forward Arthur Beetson will be one of Queensland’s great sporting legends, named in Queensland and Australian Rugby Leagues’ teams of the century and as one of only eight “Immortals” of the game.
After moving to Redcliffe in 1964 and playing in the dolphins first BRL premiership in 1965, “Big Artie” was off to Sydney where he established himself as one of, if not the best, post war forwards in Australian Rugby League history, playing for Balmain, Eastern Suburbs (where he won two Sydney Rugby League premierships) and Parramatta and representing NSW and Queensland and 29 times for Australia.
He finished his playing career in 1981 as captain coach of Redcliffe, his Dolphins beaten the final minute of the grand final and his 18 years as a player.
He also coached Queensland, Australia, eastern suburbs and Cronulla in Sydney but is best remembered perhaps for his initial performances for Australia in the sixties, and his initial game for Queensland in the first ever Origin encounter in 1980, won 20-10 at Lang Park in an historic moment in the code in this country.
Arthur Beetson was the first indigenous Australian to captain his country in any sport and was an enduring advocate for his people and the game he played so well.
He possessed great strength and toughness, a surprising turn of speed for a big man and was unequalled as a ball player, his offloads matched only by his on loads, usually a pie or three.
He was awarded an Australian Sports Medal, a Centenary Medal and an OAM for service to the sport of rugby league.
Arthur Beetson passed away late last year. The outpouring of emotion and recognition of “Big Artie” said it all for the 12th Legend of Queensland Sport.