FLASHBACK: April, 1960

APRIL 1960
Kangaroo tour co-manager, Jack Argent was fined 50 pounds by the Australian Rugby League Board of Control, for allegedly inducing one of the players, Ron Boden, to sign a contract with the Parramatta Eels.
The inducement allegedly was made while the Kangaroos were touring Britain, France and Italy in late 1959, into 1960.
Boden, who had represented Queensland in 1959, from Toowoomba Valleys, was fined an even greater amount – 70 pounds, with both those sums easily translating to four figure amounts in ‘today’s money’.
It was not in dispute that Boden had signed with Parramatta while on tour. But on his return, Boden signed a contract with Balmain. Twenty pounds of Boden’s fine was imposed for signing with Parramatta, while under contract to the ARL. The other 50 pounds was imposed because Boden misled the Balmain club.
Confusing eh. And it makes some of today’s mercenaries seem like saints.
Argent, an ex-Army Colonel, said he would refuse to pay the fine, claiming he did nothing that was outside his contract with the ARL.
“I will take legal action if any attempt is made to stop money that is due to me,” he said. “There was nothing at all in my contract to say I should not do what I did. My conscience is clear on this matter. The Kangaroos, while on tour, were being bombarded with offers from Australian clubs.
“This is the reward I get for doing three men’s work on the tour. I became the team’s masseur and first aid man, as well as being manager (with Queensland’s Ern Keefer).
There was another twist to the saga, with Sydney officials pointing the finger at Queensland for instigating the investigation into Argent and Boden’s activities.
The Sydney officials believed it was a ‘get square’ from Queensland, after they learned Boden would be leaving Toowoomba.
Boden was cleared by Valleys to play with Balmain, and Balmain were first in with the cheque for the 400 pounds transfer fee. Despite this, Boden played the trials in Sydney with Parramatta, and was elected captain!
South Sydney signed Kangaroo outside back, Darrell Chapman, a former student of Woodlawn College, just outside Lismore. But Souths had to pay Chapman’s club, Kemspey CYO (Catholic Youth Organistion), a 1,250 pounds transfer fee. Chapman, a school teacher, had been transferred to Sydney in his profession.
Clive Churchill, who had coached the 1959 Kangaroos, beat Sydney based Queenslander, Harry Bath and dual international, Ken Kearney for the position of coach of the New South Wales side for the 1960 season. Churchill had coached Queensland to a series win over the Blues in 1959, when he was captain-coach of Brisbane Norths.
In round 1 of the 1960 Brisbane season, debutant halfback, Brian Cook kicked Norths to a 23-16 win over Brothers at Lang Park. Cook, the 19-year-old son of Empire Games (later Commonwealth Games) boxer, ‘Rusty’ Cook, landed six goals from as many shots and played splendidly in attack. A former student of Banyo High, Brian Cook had captained the State Secondary Schools team in 1958. He was also a fine cricketer, with the Toombul club.
Brothers played a man short for the last 30 minutes after lock, Stan Jackson was injured. Jackson, his nose badly broken, ran back on to the field with plaster covering the injury, but, on the report of a touch judge, referee, Col Wright ordered Jackson to leave the field again. This followed a report from the ambulance attendant, that, in his opinion, Jackson was not fit to continue. There was a new regulation in the BRL, giving the referee the authority to do this.
At Oxenham Park, Nundah, Easts halfback, Stan Neave outplayed Wests’ Test star, Barry Muir in the Tigers’ 25-13 win over the Panthers.
Captain-coach, Henry Holloway’s intelligent use of the football proved the difference in Souths 23-18 win over competition newcomers, Redcliffe at Davies Park.
In the Sunday match at Lang Park, Valleys over-ran Wynnum 32-10, with captain/fullback, Norm Pope kicking seven goals from 10 shots.
Player of the match was Valleys’ second rower, Norm McFadden, who was chosen in Brisbane’s Bulimba Cup squad, announced after the match. Also in the squad were Barry Muir AND Stan Neave.
Wynnum had taken the field without two regular first graders – John Geraghty and Harold Law – who were dropped after they missed a training run.
Former Leeds and Hull player, Jack Large emigrated to Australia and signed with Wynnum-Manly.
In Sydney rugby league, Parramatta’s former Queensland player, Paul ‘Pappy’ Pyers was carried from the SCG with his jaw broken in three places, after being hit in a late tackle by a St George player. The Dragons belted Parramatta 52-0 with centre, Reg Gasnier scoring four tries.
In 1975, the year I played for Wingham in the Group 3 competition, Taree based Boden coached the North Coast representative side. I remember him delivering one of the readings at Mass one Sunday.
The ARL later exonerated Argent and refunded the 50 pounds. Argent, a Parramatta stalwart who had been instrumental in the construction of Parramatta Leagues Club, said it was a matter of principal, not the money. He said Parramatta had been negotiating with Boden long before he was chosen in the Kangaroo touring team. I don’t know whether Boden got his money back.
1 The 1959-60 Kangaroo touring party. Captain, Keith Barnes sits between managers, Jack Argent (on Barnes’ right) and Ern Keefer
2 Ron Boden (second player from the left, seated on a chair) in the 1959 Queensland side.
3 Reg Gasnier.

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