Fa­mous re­union 40 years in mak­ing

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - SAMHEWAT

For the first time in 40 years, the leg­endary 1977 Auck­land rugby league side will be re­united.

Fa­mous for mak­ing history by beat­ing Aus­tralia, Great Bri­tain, and France in the space of three weeks - a feat that hasn’t been re­peated - all 19 mem­bers from the 1977 squad will meet at Mt Smart Sta­dium tonight as guests of hon­our for the War­riors ver­sus Bull­dogs match.

They’ll get an hon­orary on­field call-out be­fore they en­joy a week­end of events in­clud­ing a spe­cial lunch at Rich­mond rugby league club on Satur­day.

For­mer Ki­wis prop and Auck­land player Lyn­d­say

Proc­tor, the man be­hind the re­union, said he got the idea when he came across a team photo while clean­ing last year.

‘‘I saw the photo and I looked at all the guys and thought ‘we’re all still alive,’’’ Proc­tor said.

‘‘It’s been 40 years ex­actly this June. So I thought I’d have a go at it and get a hold of some of the guys.’’

In­ci­den­tally, Proc­tor found it easy to get a hold of all 19 play­ers thanks to an email and said the re­sponse was over­whelm­ing.

‘‘I went for the whole 19 and every one of them was as keen as mus­tard.’’

Nine play­ers were com­ing over from Aus­tralia, while others were trav­el­ling up from the South Is­land. They also planned on repli­cat­ing a team photo from one taken 40 years ago.

The squad, then coached by Bill Sorensen, was well known in New Zealand Rugby League history with 14 play­ers go­ing on to rep­re­sent the Ki­wis, and five named as Kiwi cap­tains over the years.

Three were in­ducted into New Zealand Rugby League’s Leg­ends of League and for­mer Kiwi loose for­ward and Auck­land player Mark Gra­ham was named New Zealand Rugby League’s player of the cen­tury.

Proc­tor said he was proud to be a player in such a fa­mous side.

‘‘It was a huge achieve­ment back then,’’ he said.

‘‘It will never be done again, so we’ve got our lit­tle bit of history in there.’’

Proc­tor said any­one who played along­side the Auck­land team mem­bers back in 1977 was en­cour­aged to join the con­tin­gent at Rich­mond rugby league club on Satur­day.

‘‘We’ll say our farewells and wan­der off and see if we can all sur­vive another 10 years,’’

Proc­tor said.

SUP­PLIED

The fa­mous 1977 Auck­land rugby league team which beat Aus­tralia, Great Bri­tain, and France.

SUP­PLIED

Fred Ah Koi (left) and Lyn­d­say

Proc­tor from the 1977 Auck­land rugby league team.

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