The original NRL Fantasy: 1976 'computer team' includes familiar names

Long before computers were an integral part of life, perhaps the first rugby league "Computer team" was devised.

The devices were far more primitive than the data-crunching machines used nowadays, but the likes of Arthur Beetson and Bob Fulton were still rightfully named. 

Titled 'Computer team ...', this article was first published by Rugby League Week on July 31, 1976

Eastern Suburbs players dominate a "computer team" chosen after analysing volumes of facts and figures.

All the facts and figures, relating to players from three clubs — Easts, Manly and Parramatta — were fed into a computer.

The players' performances were reported by Rugby League Week experts. The reports covered every aspect of the players' form including passing, handling, tackling and the ability to create moves.

Six Easts players were chosen, but their two glamor players, Russell Fairfax and Ian Schubert, missed out.

Four Manly players were selected and three came from Parramatta.

Then two Rugby League Week experts named their combined team from the three clubs.

Keith Barnes' side: G. Eadie; M. Harris, R. Fulton, J. Brass, W. Mullins; J. Peard, J. Kolc; T. Randall, R. Higgs, P.Lowe, A. Beetson, E. Walters, D. Fitzgerald.

Barnes' team differs from the computer. He includes John Kolc, the Parramatta half, Phil Lowe, the Manly second-rower and Elwyn Walters, the Easts hooker.

Ferris Ashton's side: G. Eadie; J. Porter, R. Ful-ton, J. Brass, W. Mullins; J. Peard, K. Stevens; T. Randall, R. Higgs, A. Beetson, D. Fitzgerald, M. Krilich, K. Jones.

Ashton's side also differs. He has included Jim Porter, the Parramatta winger and Ken Jones, the Easts prop.

Easts do appear to have the edge. Anybody want to argue with the computer.