SOME of the greatest names in Australian Rugby League history will be in Perth this month to pay tribute to WA’s landmark players and to help launch the WA chapter of Men of League Foundation.
The WA Rugby League’s Legends of League celebration at Wesley College on July 25 will incorporate the launch of the foundation, a national not-for-profit organisation set up to help former players and officials in need.
It also aims to record and preserve the history of the game in WA.
League legend Ron Coote will deliver the keynote talk to about 200 former players in his official capacity as MOL’s founder and director.
Mr Coote and the MOL executive have invited several former internationals to join the tribute, including Bob Fulton, the “mercurial Manly-Warringah wizard”; and Fremantle-born Billy Smith, the St George player who represented Australia in 18 Tests and eight World Cup matches.
WARL chief executive John Sackson said the Legends of League event would lay the foundation for preserving the sport’s colourful history in WA, which began in 1948 with four clubs – Perth, South Perth, Fremantle and Cottesloe.
“WA actually has the richest rugby league heritage of any Australian state or territory outside of NSW and Queensland,” he said.
“It’s a sad fact that many of the stories and historical items relating to the formation of the pioneering clubs in the west have been lost due to the fact that so many of the players from that era are no longer around.”
Past players are encouraged to attend the Legends of League-MOL launch on July 25 by contacting WARL organiser Samantha Archibald on 9228 9275 or sarchibald @warugbyleague.com.au.