Ted Verrenkamp scored four tries for Leeds in a 63-3 win over fellow Yorkshire club, York, setting the stage for another fine season for the former Queensland rugby league representative, who had joined the club at the end of the 1947 Australian season.
Verrenkamp played six games for Queensland from the Brisbane Souths club, in 1946 and ’47, five against New South Wales and one game against Canberra.
After his first season with Leeds, the club’s official journal praised his whole hearted play, and great pluck.
“But his versatility proved to be his biggest handicap,” the journal reported. “Rarely in a settled position he gave, however, many fine displays.”
Leeds also had signed Len Kenny from Brisbane Valleys for the 1947-48 season, along with rugby union recruits, Norman Davies (Wales) and Jack Pansegrouw (South Africa).
At the start of the 1948-49 season Leeds announced the signing of Wallaby rugby union stars, ‘Wallaby’ Bob McMaster and Ken ‘Killer’ Kearney, as well as Scots union stars, Tommy Wright and Andrew Turnbull.
Going into the 1949-50 there were no headline signings.
Reputedly slow starters, Leeds won four of their first five matches in that season, but then came disaster with five defeats in a row.
Three of those four early wins came in August – against York (twice) and Workington Town. (One of the matches against York was a knock-out Yorkshire Cup clash).
Leeds began September in fine style, with a 26-10 home win over Hull Kingston Rovers, but four days later lost 13-12 to Wigan at Central Park, with Kiwi Ces Mountford scoring the winning try for the home side.
The 1949-50 season saw the debut of local youngster, Gordon Brown, who would go on to captain Leeds and also play for Great Britain in their triumphant campaign in the inaugural World Cup in France, in 1954.
Verrenkamp stayed with Leeds for a decade, before returning to Australia, first as a player-coach in Cairns and then as non-playing coach with Wests in Brisbane, before linking with Easts where he was a coach, and then administrator. He coached Queensland along the way.
One can only guess how many games he would have played for Queensland, if he had not gone to England.
He died on December 10, 2010 aged 83.
Photo 1: Ted Verrenkamp, fourth from left, front row, at Leeds in 1952 2 Ces Mountford scores the match winner for Wigan against Leeds, September 7, 1949.