Celebrations for long-standing league clubs

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 30/03/2013

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Two of Canterbury's oldest rugby league clubs who boast 19 premier grade titles and 21 Kiwis between them are celebrating their centenaries this weekend.

Addington are the oldest club in Christchurch, formed at a meeting at the Oddfellows Hall on January 31, 1913. Sydenham, who will hold their centennial celebrations in October, are second oldest and Linwood- the team with the most premier grade experience - were third. The Keas beat Hornby in a premier league game yesterday.

Addington and Linwood are both holding their centennials over Easter with clutches of ex-Canterbury and Kiwi representatives attending.

Canterbury Rugby Football League historian John Coffey said Linwood have had a premier team for 96 of the past 100 years, apart from 1916 when the top grade was in recess during World War I and between 1927 and 1929 when they were demoted. They combined with Woolston in the senior grade in 1942 and 1943.

Addington, who still field lower grade and junior teams, have not played at premier level since 1997 but both clubs have proud pasts.

The Addington Mapgies won nine club titles in 1923, 1929, 1931, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1944, 1982, 1989. Frank Endacott, who went on to coach the Warriors, Wigan and the Kiwis, was Addington's grand final winning coach in 1982.

The Magpies were beaten grand finalists in 1967, 1971, 1981 and 1990 when future Kiwis prop Brent Stuart scored two tries on the losing side.

The club's 11 Kiwis included Charlie Pearce, a member of the original All Golds New Zealand touring team to the UK in 1907-8, who captained the first Canterbury representative team that played in 1912 before a Christchurch club competition had been formed.

Jim Amos, a Kiwi from Addington in 1930 and 1932, went on to coach New Zealand to successive series victories over Australia in 1952 and 1953 and at the inaugural World Cup tournament in France in 1954.

Linwood, still one of the leading clubs in Christchurch, haveplayed in seven 21st century grand finals for two victories.

They won premierships in 1932, 1938, 1951, 1960 (shared with Papanui) 1961, 1963, 1968, 1970, 2005 and 2008 and were grand final runners-up in 1974, 1995, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009.

Linwood's legion of Kiwis included Lory Blanchard, who played in the front row from 1951 to 1956 and coached the Kiwis in the late 60s and early 70s, guiding them to series victories in Britain and France in 1971.

The Keas' Kiwis complement also features three of the most successful Kiwis in the New South Wales first grade competition, Bill Noonan (Canterbury Bankstown and Newtown) and Canberra Raiders duo Brent Todd and Quentin Pongia. Front rowers seem to abound in Christchurch's inner east with Jim Fisher (1960s) and John Greengrass (1970s) other Linwood Keas to don the Kiwis jersey with distinction.

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Brothers Glen and Marty Turner graduated from Linwood juniors to NRL first grade with the Melbourne Storm. Glen finished his career at Canberra where he works in the player welfare field.

Linwood was also an incubator for some of Canterbury rugby league's leading administrators, including Les Huston, Merv James, Jimmy O'Neill, Bill Desmond, New Zealand schoolboys board supremo Archie Stuart and Ian Jenkins, a former Kiwis team manager who recently retired as CRFL board chairman.

Arguably the most influential was Ray Haffenden, who played in Linwood's grand final winning teams of 1968 and 1970 under player-coach John Flanagan. Haffenden coached Canterbury and, after a business move to Auckland, managed the Kiwis. He is a longstanding New Zealand Rugby League board member and current deputy chairman after serving an earlier spell as chairman.

ROLL OF HONOUR

Kiwis representatives from the Addington and Linwood clubs.

ADDINGTON: Charlie Pearce (1913), Jim Sanders (1919-1926-27), Tony Green (1925), Jim Amos (1930, 32), Reg Ward (1935), Ces Davidson (1937), Arthur Gillman (1946), Pat White (1964-66), Jimmy White (1965-66), Brent Stuart (1992-93)

LINWOOD: Alister Atkinson (1951-56), Lory Blanchard (1951-56), Tony Smith (1961), Jim Fisher (1963), Bill Noonan (1967, 1969), John Greengrass (1970-75), Lewis Hudson (1979-80, 1982), Wally Wilson (1981), Brent Todd (1985-86), Quentin Pongia (1992)

- The Press

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