Jack and Brad Beetson, the grandson and son of Immortal Arthur Beetson.


Beetson's grandson a prop on the rise

The legacy of rugby league Immortal Arthur Beetson lives on through his grandson Jack Beetson, a towering prop who toured New Zealand last month with the Queensland under 15 Murri side.

That legacy is not just about playing with toughness and skill as a footballer, but also about embracing Indigenous culture and becoming a leader off the field.

Jack's father Brad Beetson, a director of the Arthur Beetson Foundation which runs the annual Murri Carnival from which the touring team was selected, was proud of his son's achievement.

"It brought tears to my eyes when he got in the team," Brad said.

"He's six-foot-five, and 90 kilos, so he is a big boy … and pretty fast for a big guy. His best football is certainly in front of him.

The Queensland under 15 Murri team.
The Queensland under 15 Murri team.

"Dad gave him a few tips, but it was more about how to carry himself in life more than football.

"Jack is doing a level four in crime and justice at school, an adult level TAFE course that will qualify him to be a paralegal by the time he leaves.

"He is focused on that because it is more important than footy to start with."

Jack, who plays his junior footy with the Nambour Crushers, said it was "definitely special" to be playing in the same position as his illustrious grandfather.

"I watched quite a bit of him [on video] and it was awesome the things he could do on a football field, just how he could play like a halfback and do a forward's job as well," Jack said.

"He was ahead of his time and an awesome grandfather. We'd go to his place when he was at the Gold Coast for family meetings and he was always fun."

Jack wanted to "just see how far I can go and try my hardest" with regards to his footy while making the point that the cultural aspects of the Murri 15s camp meant a lot to him.

The players were taught an Indigenous dance to do in response to the Haka.

"It was a mixture of dances that we have learned because we are all from different parts of Queensland and different tribal groups," Jack said.

"It is important because it is our heritage, and it is where we come from."

Mal Meninga and league Immortal Arthur Beetson during the 1989 Origin series.
Mal Meninga and league Immortal Arthur Beetson during the 1989 Origin series. ©NRL Photos

The under 15s team will form the base of the Murri under 16s side which will take on the NSW Koori team this year.

Ash Taylor, Brenko Lee and Gideon Gela-Mosby have all played for the Murri side in the past.

"David Fifita, the nephew of Andrew, was our captain a couple of years ago and he's going to be a superstar so watch out for him," Brad said.

"He'd be the best junior footballer in Australia."

In camp, Brad spoke to the players about his famous father and his Indigenous history.

Keiron Lander, who was contracted to the Broncos and Cowboys and captained the Ipswich Jets to the 2015 Intrust Super Cup title, also spoke to the players about what it means to be an Indigenous leader.

"Keiron runs the Deadly Choices program, and along with us is trying to create young leaders," Brad said.

"Not everyone can be an NRL star, but we tell the players that they can still be leaders in their community, which is more important.

"I tell them that I think I am a successful Indigenous man because I am a good father and a role model back home."

Brad said the experience was "the best thing Jack has ever done" and another step in his development as a young man.

"Jack has been privileged in his life with what dad has achieved and what we get to do as a family," Brad said.

"He got to run out on the field before State of Origin the night Queensland returned dad's jersey and he is in tune with what dad achieved.

"Dad taught me about culture and I have reiterated that with my continued involvement with the Foundation. I have taken Jack out to Cherbourg to meet the mob because we have family out there. We are actually from the Sunshine Coast but our Stolen Generation got taken out to Cherbourg."

The Murri Carnival was started in 2011 by former Maroons star Tony Currie, who handed the running of it over to the Arthur Beetson Foundation after Beetson's death in December of that year.

"We had around 20 sides play from the Gold Coast to the Torres Strait, so 400 to 50 kids," Brad said.

"Those kids have got to have minimum 90 per cent school attendance and all must have a complete health check to help close the gap."