Dragons greats to mark milestone
The title of the book says it all.
'Never before, Never again' from acclaimed author Larry Writer details the extraordinary run of 11 successive premierships won by the St George Dragons from 1956-66 and some of the club's greatest names will gather at the scene of their triumphs next week to mark the 50th anniversary of their 11th consecutive grand final victory.
Fittingly the reunion of players from each of the St George teams over those 11 seasons will take place at the place where the premiership trophy was lifted, the Sydney Cricket Ground, with former Prime Minister – and mad Dragons fan – the Honourable John Howard OM, AC and former Australian cricket captain Mark Taylor among the special guests.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary and 21 years after it was first published, 'Never before, Never again' has been re-published with additional forewords by Dragons legends Craig Young and Mark Gasnier and a fascinating epilogue from an interview conducted with Johnny King and Eddie Lumsden earlier this year.
Throughout St George's incredible run of success the name of either King or Lumsden featured on the try-scorers in every one of the grand finals except the first and the last, the pair scoring 29 tries in finals matches for St George including all four in the 1961 grand final win over Western Suburbs.
While Lumsden jokes that he and King are in relatively good shape at their age because "we were wingers and never did the dirty work," King had some defensive advice for the wingers of the modern game.
"Modern wingers make bad defensive reads," King says. "I never left my wing because I had confidence that 'Rape' (Johnny Raper), 'Pop' (Brian Clay) or 'Sticks' (Norm Provan) would be there to tackle the centre.
"'Stay on your wing,' Chook would tell me. 'I can't catch a winger but I can bloody well mow down a centre.'
"I never left my wing unless I was absolutely sure that I was going to smash the rival centre with a ball-and-all tackle."
The insights on the modern game and recollections of days of old are wonderful additions to a book that, like its subject, has continued to stand the test of time.
Published by Stoke Hill Press, 'Never before, Never again' is on sale now at all good bookstores.
To make booking enquiries for the luncheon on Thursday, September 8 at the SCG contact Front Row Events on email@example.com.