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Interesting and Fun Facts about Arthur Beetson, an Indigenous Australian Rugby League Captain and Coach



Interesting and Fun Facts about Arthur Beetson an Indigenous Australian Rugby League Captain and Coach

Arthur Beetson, an Indigenous Australian rugby league captain and coach who is regarded as one of the game’s all-time greats, is honored with a Google Doodle. Arthur Beetson is one of the all-time great rugby league players, and he is honored in this Doodle created by guest artist Blak Douglas, who is based in NSW. Because of his extraordinary ball-handling abilities, which altered modern athlete norms and rugby league standards, Beetson became well-known. He became the first Indigenous person to captain a mainstream Australian sports team on this day in 1973. Here are some interesting and fun facts about Arthur Beetson that you should need to know.

Celebrating Arthur Beetson Google Doodle
Google Doodle For Celebrating Arthur Beetson

Here is a look at the life and work of Arthur Beetson.

Who was Arthur Beetson?

Australian rugby league football player and coach Arthur Henry “Artie” Beetson OAM. From 1964 until 1981, he served as a representative for Queensland, New South Wales, and Australia. His primary role was prop. As the first Indigenous Australian to captain Australia in any sport, Beetson holds a prestigious distinction as the greatest forward in Australian rugby league history after World War II. During his long coaching career, which lasted from the 1970s to the 1990s, he coached Eastern Suburbs, Queensland, Australia, Redcliffe Dolphins, and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.

Quick Look

Full name: Arthur Henry Beetson
Birth date: 21 January 1945
Birthplace: Roma, Queensland, Australia
Died on: 1 December 2011 (aged 66)
Death place: Paradise Point, Queensland, Australia

40 Interesting Facts about Arthur Beetson

  1. Arthur Beetson is also known for being a very humble man who had a strong sense of loyalty to his people and traditions. The Arthur Beetson Medal is awarded to rugby league players who exhibit exceptional skills and traits that are similar to those of Beetson. The Arthur Beetson Foundation bears Beetson’s name in memory.
  2. One of the Stolen Generation’s members was Beetson’s mother. He was born on January 21, 1945, in Roma, Queensland.
  3. All of Beetson’s teams won numerous games thanks to his large frame, uncanny speed, and outstanding ball skills. His ability to offload and attack broke the mold for front-row players, changing their style of play.
  4. In the Brisbane Rugby League from 1964 to 1965, Redcliffe was where Beetson started his rugby league career.
  5. Arthur Beetson moved to Sydney to play in the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership with the Balmain club, following his victories as the club’s Player of the Year in 1965 and the Brisbane Rugby League premiership.
  6. His first NSWRFL season was 1966 when he was selected for the New South Wales squad and made his grand final debut as a second-row forward against St. George.
  7. In addition, Arthur Beetson was chosen to open the scoring for the first two tries in his Australian representative debut against England.
  8. In the 1968 Rugby League World Cup, he played as a prop forward for Australia in the victory over France in the championship match. After that, Beetson played for Balmain, spending 1968 on loan at Hull Kingston Rovers in England.
  9. Following the 1970 NSWRFL season, Beetson moved from Balmain to become a member of the Eastern Suburbs club, where he remained until 1978. He was unmatched as a ball player and had exceptional strength, toughness, and a surprising turn of speed for a big man.
  10. During the 1972 Rugby League World Cup, Arthur Beetson represented Australia once more. He played at prop forward against Great Britain in the tournament’s draw.
  11. He was selected as Australia’s vice-captain for the 1973 Kangaroo tour of Britain and France, and he started at prop forward in each of the three Ashes test matches. When Australia played France in the second test, Beetson became the first player of Aboriginal descent to captain the team.
  12. Arthur Beetson was known as “Meat Pie Artie” because of his exceptional eating skills, which were only surpassed by his football prowess. His 1973 act of consuming eleven hot dogs before the Australian team’s gala dinner made him famous and immortalized.
  13. Eastern Suburbs won premierships in 1974 and 1975 under the leadership of Beetson. In addition, Beetson kept up his stellar play for Australia during this time, winning Player of the Year honors from Rugby League Week in 1974.
  14. Eastern Suburbs won premierships in 1974 and 1975 under the leadership of Beetson. In addition, Beetson kept up his stellar play for Australia during this time, winning Player of the Year honors from Rugby League Week in 1974.
  15. As the captain of the Kangaroos in the 1975 World Series, Beetson solidified his reputation as one of the best players and leaders in the annals of Australian rugby league. Throughout his four-decade career, he broke records in 14 test matches, four World Club campaigns, 20 interstate matches, and 222 first-grade New South Wales Rugby League games.
  16. In the unofficial 1976 World Club Challenge match between Eastern Suburbs and British champions St Helens in Sydney during the 1976 NSWRFL season, Beetson captained the team to victory. One of the best club teams in rugby league history would be this Easts squad. In 1979, Beetson signed with the Parramatta Eels.
  17. While still a Parramatta player in Sydney, Arthur Beetson gained even more notoriety as the captain of Queensland in the 1980 State of Origin match, which Queensland won 20–10 on July 8.
  18. His man-of-the-match performance in the Eels’ 8-5 victory over Balmain in the Tooth Cup Final sealed the deal for him that year.
  19. In 1981, Beetson returned to Queensland to play one last season with his former Redcliffe team. While there, he captained the Datsun South Queensland team to a 59-3 victory over Papua New Guinea.
  20. During the season, he captained Queensland in the final ‘traditional’ interstate match in 1981. The Dolphins were defeated by Southern Suburbs in the final minute of the grand final.
  21. In 1977, Arthur Beetson started his coaching career while he was still an Easts player. In 1981, he was Redcliffe’s captain and coach. Later that year, he was named coach of the Queensland State of Origin team, leading them to consecutive series wins against New South Wales from 1981 to 1984.
  22. In 1981, Beetson also served as the rugby league coach for Brisbane. After a brief but fruitless stint as Australia’s coach in 1983, he went back to Eastern Suburbs, where he coached from 1985 to 1988, winning Coach of the Year in 1987. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1987 as well, “in recognition of service to the sport of Rugby League”.
  23. Following his resignation as Queensland coach after Queensland’s loss to NSW in the 1990 State of Origin series, Beetson joined ABC’s commentary team in 1991 for their Saturday Afternoon League telecasts, where he was joined on the sidelines by chief caller and former Western Suburbs winger Warren Boland, as well as John Peard, a former teammate from the Eastern Suburbs who played for Parramatta, and Debbie Spillane, a media liaison from Canterbury-Bankstown.
  24. During the 1992 and 1993 seasons, Beetson led the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, with varying degrees of success. Part-way through the 1994 NSWRL season, Beetson took over as the Eastern Suburbs Roosters’ coach for a brief period after Mark Murray was fired. Additionally, Beetson has worked for many years as a recruitment officer for Queensland and the Eastern Suburbs.
  25. The national team of Papua New Guinea was defeated by an Aboriginal team led by Arthur Beetson in the 1999 NRL season. After that, he made vain attempts to get the Australian national team to play on Australia Day.
  26. Many people believe that Beetson is the greatest forward to have ever played for Australia. He won the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and the Centenary Medal in 2001 “for service to Australian society through the sport of rugby league.”
  27. In 2003, Arthur Beetson was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Australian Rugby League.
  28. Big Artie: The Autobiography, his book, was published in May 2004. In the same year, he was selected as the seventh “Immortal” of the Australian game, following Wally Lewis, Churchill, Raper, Gasnier, Fulton, and Langlands.
  29. In February 2008, the NRL and ARL commissioned a list of Australia’s 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) to celebrate the code’s centenary year in Australia, and Beetson was included.
  30. Later, Beetson was included in the Australian Rugby League’s Team of the Century, front row. The team revealed on April 17, 2008, consists of the thirteen starting positions and four interchange players that the panel feels best fits.
  31. Because he disagreed with the rugby league’s direction, Beetson decided to skip the presentation ceremony. He was selected as a second-rower for the Queensland Rugby League’s Team of the Century in June 2008. In 2008, Beetson was selected as a second-row forward for the Toowoomba and South West Teams of the Century during rugby league’s centennial celebrations in Australia.
  32. Arthur Beetson was inducted into the Sydney Cricket Ground’s Life Membership, and his career is honored with a plaque in the Walk of Honour there. The Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) has been awarded to him.
  33. In celebration of the 2008 Centennial of the League, Beetson received the Clive Churchill Medal in retrospect for his performance as Man of the Match in the 1974 Grand Final.
  34. A 2009 inductee into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame was Arthur Beetson.
  35. The number 11 jersey for the Queensland State of Origin was “retired” for Beetson in 2014.
  36. On December 1, 2011, while riding his bicycle at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Beetson suffered a heart attack and passed away. He was sixty-six.
  37. The announcement was made by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh that a bronze statue of Beetson would be placed at Lang Park. It was made public on July 3, 2012.
  38. To empower Indigenous Australians to achieve better results in health, education, sport, employment, and business development, the Arthur Beetson Foundation was established.
  39. Rugby league players who have distinguished themselves and demonstrated not only skill on the field but also some of the traits embodied by Beetson and a strong sense of community-building are honored with the Arthur Beetson Medal.
  40. In remembrance of Arthur Beetson’s life and career, a Google Doodle was created on December 16, 2023. The date was selected because it signified 50 years since he was named captain of a major Australian sports team.
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