League’s first inductees in Hall of Fame
Auckland Rugby League inducted its first group of sporting legends into the ARL Hall of Fame on April 8.
The inaugural six inductees were Frank Delgrosso, Ron Ackland, Tony Kriletich, Roger Bailey, Dennis Williams and Owen Wright.
The ceremony, which took place at Alexandra Park, doubled as the launch of the 2015 Appliance Shed Fox Memorial season.
Delgrosso, Kriletic and Bailey all belonged to Auckland inner city clubs and had outstanding careers for both the Auckland representative team and the New Zealand Kiwis.
Through the 1960s and 1970s Bailey was the star of the Auckland league scene.
He won three Fox Memorial finals with the Ponsonby Ponies in 1967, 1972 and 1973.
A stoic captain of the Ponies side for many years, he was also a regular captain of Auckland.
Bailey played 75 games for the Kiwis and is a member of the NZRL Team of the Century.
Delgrosso played 11 seasons for the Ponsonby Ponies between 1919-1930, winning four Auckland Premierships in 1919, 1926, 1929 and 1930.
He also forged a successful 10-year career with Auckland between 1919 and 1929. He would go on to play nine matches for his country, scoring three tries and kicking nine goals.
Kriletich played 11 seasons with the Marist Saints, and appeared in three Fox Memorial finals in 1965, 1966 and 1969, winning titles in the first two.
Between 1967 and 1972 Kriletich played 22 consecutive matches for the Kiwis. In 1971 he became part of history as part of the first ever Kiwis side to beat Great Britain on UK soil.
A selection panel containing John Ackland, ARL president Gary Whittle, ARL life member Ray Cranch and veteran broadcaster Allen McLaughlin spent over a year working on the inaugural induction group.