Kiwi keeps his­tory alive

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT - By JU­LIAN RAETHEL

Few can claim to have had as much of an im­pact on New Zealand rugby league as Don Ham­mond.

The Te Atatu Penin­sula man has pulled on the Ki­wis, Te Atatu Roost­ers and Mt Al­bert jer­seys as well as be­com­ing a coach for Auck­land and the Roost­ers.

Th­ese days Ham­mond is best known as cu­ra­tor of the Rugby League Mu­seum, housed on the ground floor of the NZRL head­quar­ters in Pen­rose.

This Sun­day the mu­seum is open­ing its doors for a spe­cial day for the public, which fea­tures some of Ham­mond’s favourite ex­hibits and the sto­ries be­hind them.

‘‘I would have to say the first Ki­wis jer­sey which had the V in 1938,’’ Ham­mond says of his fond­est piece. ‘‘ The V was dif­fer­ent from the rugby [union] jer­sey.’’ Ham­mond’s re­garded as one of the best to ever ap­pear for the Ki­wis, play­ing in the sec­ond row from 1959 to 1965.

A for­mer five-eighth who con­verted to the for­wards in search of game time for his Mt Al­bert club side, Ham­mond was out­sized by most of his op­po­nents, but this didn’t stop him en­joy­ing in­cred­i­ble suc­cess in the Ki­wis jer­sey.

‘‘I never cared where I played, as long as I was on the field,’’ he says.

Known as an old-fash­ioned type of player who tack­led hard and low, Ham­mond de­buted for the Ki­wis on the 1959 tour to Aus­tralia be­fore cap­tain­ing the squad just two years later on the fa­mous 1961 Euro­pean tour. He later cap­tained the side to their first test se­ries win against France on French soil – a feat Ham­mond de­scribes as ‘‘one of [his] proud­est mo­ments in the Ki­wis jer­sey’’.

He played 61 times for his coun­try, in­clud­ing 20 test-match ap­pear­ances.

Af­ter re­tir­ing Ham­mond went on to coach Te Atatu and an Auck­land rep­re­sen­ta­tive side, be­fore be­com­ing in­volved with the New Zealand Ki­wis As­so­ci­a­tion.

He also played a cru­cial role along­side for­mer team-mate and ex-Ki­wis full­back Jack Fa­gan in es­tab­lish­ing the Rugby League Mu­seum which even­tu­ally opened in 2007.

Gate keeper: For­mer Kiwi Don Ham­mond has a few gems to share this Sun­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.