36. Jack Beaton

John James (Jack) Beaton's rugby league career was brief, yet in just five extraordinary seasons he established himself as an all-time great.

Beaton was a member of the great Eastern Suburbs team of the 1930s, a versatile player who was equally at home at fullback, wing or centre; he was also an accomplished goalkicker.

Originally from Yass in southern New South Wales, Beaton played league as a youngster before heading to Sydney to attend St Joseph's College, Hunter's Hill.

There he developed into one of the finest footballers in GPS history, representing St Joseph's first XV from 1930 to 1932.

In 1933, Beaton moved to Lismore, where he captained the local league team, before returning to Sydney a year later to link up with Easts.

He played for New South Wales for the first time that season. With Beaton an integral member, Easts developed into one of the great club teams, rewriting the record books with a series of astonishing performances. In 1936 and 1937 the club was undefeated in premiership matches.

Beaton made his Test debut against the Jim Brough's English side in 1936 and toured with the Kangaroos of 1937–38, but after returning to Australia he shocked the league world by announcing his retirement.

In difficult times, the opportunity to hold down full-time employment was too good for Beaton to pass up, so at the age of 24 he slipped quietly into league history.

Position: Centre/fullback/winger.

Clubs: Lismore 1933; Eastern Suburbs 1934–38.

Club landmarks: Won premierships with Easts 1935–37.

Games for NSW: 13 (1934–37).

Tests for Australia: 10 (1936–38)

Representative landmarks: Kangaroo tour 1937–38