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Ex-Kiwis honoured for contribution

Richard Becht

2017 Ex-Kiwis 1D

New Zealand’s oldest surviving Kiwi Ray Cranch and former captain Don Hammond were honoured with lifetime awards for their contributions to the New Zealand Rugby League Ex-Kiwi Association at Sunday’s annual reunion in Auckland.

Graeme Farrar, Kiwi #398 (1961-1966), travelled from Australia to make a presentation to Cranch and Hammond.

Both men were accorded stand ovations in recognition of the work they’ve both done supporting the association.

An emotional Hammond thanked the gathering of some 80 former Kiwi players, coaches, managers, team officials and rugby league administrators.

The remarkable Cranch, Kiwi #341 (1951-1952), turns 95 in January. He was at his eloquent best with a heartfelt acceptance speech, making special mention of former Kiwi fullback and coach Gary Kemble (#555, 1980-1986). He said it was tremendous to see him back among ex-Kiwis after the way he had been treated in his short tenure as national coach in 2007.

Cranch also spoke glowingly about the just-aired SKY Sport documentary ‘No Regrets’, an account of the 2008 Kiwis’ Rugby League World Cup triumph over the Kangaroos.

A strong contingent of players from Kemble’s Kiwi-playing era were in attendance – #517 Graeme West (1975-1985), #522 Fred Ah Kuoi (1975-1985), #528 Dane O’Hara (1977-1986), #543 Shane Varley (1978-1984), #545 Toa Fepuleai (1978), #547 James Leuluai (1979-1985), #557 Nolan Tupaea (1980), #563 Clayton Friend (1982-1991), #566 Hugh McGahan (1982-1990), #574 Dean Bell (1983-1989), #584 Shane Cooper (1985-1989) and #596 Tea Ropati (1986-1997) along with coach Graham Lowe.

As well as Cranch and Hammond, five other players who represented New Zealand in the 1950s were on hand - #346 Roy Moore (1952-1956), #347 Alan Riechelmann (1956), #375 Tom Hadfield (1956-1961) and #392 Bill Hattaway (1959).

While the past was remembered as former team-mates shared old stories, the present was very much in focus with emotions running high following the naming of the Kiwis' World Cup squad last week. There was no shortage of opinion about the merits of Jason Taumalolo's decision to switch allegiance to represent Mate Ma'a Tonga at the 11th hour (along with other recent Kiwis who joined him).

The gathering included 12 former Kiwi captains, four ex-coaches and 13 past Vodafone Warriors.

As well as Lowe and Kemble, the other past Kiwi coaches were Bob Bailey and Brian McClennan. Bailey calls Whangamata home these days after previously living in Queenstown for some time.

 

EX-KIWI REUNION | FORMER NEW ZEALAND PLAYERS

341 | Ray Cranch | 1951-1952

346 | Roy Moore | 1952-1956

347 | Alan Riechelmann | 1956

373 | Duncan MacRae | 1956

375 | Tom Hadfield | 1956-1961

392 | Bill Hattaway | 1959

393 | Don Hammond | 1959-1965

398 | Graeme Farrar | 1961-1966

401 | Bruce Castle | 1961-1967

428 | John Bray | 1964

453 | Graham Brown | 1967

463 | Eric Carson | 1968-1970

469 | Dennis Key | 1969

480 | Ray Williams | 1970-1971

488 | Mike McClennan | 1971

489 | Ken Stirling | 1971-1978

491 | Murray Eade | 1971-1978

504 | Johnnie Wilson | 1972

512 | Barrie Dyer | 1975

517 | Graeme West | 1975-1985

522 | Fred Ah Kuoi | 1975-1985

528 | Dane O'Hara | 1977-1986

543 | Shane Varley | 1978-1984

545 | Toa Fepuleai | 1978

547 | James Leuluai | 1979-1985

555 | Gary Kemble | 1980-1986

557 | Nolan Tupaea | 1980

563 | Clayton Friend | 1982-1991

566 | Hugh McGahan | 1982-1990

574 | Dean Bell* | 1983-1989

584 | Shane Cooper | 1985-1989

596 | Tea Ropati* | 1986-1997

618 | Francis Leota | 1989-1990

623 | Paddy Tuimavave | 1990

625 | Mike Patton | 1990-1991

628 | Richie Blackmore* | 1991-2000

650 | Jason Lowrie | 1993-2000

655 | Ruben Wiki* | 1994-2006

657 | Tony Tatupu* | 1994-1995

663 | Tony Tuimavave* | 1995

665 | Stacey Jones* | 1995-2006

669 | Logan Swann* | 1996-2004

672 | Nigel Vagana* | 1998-2006

691 | Monty Betham* | 2001-2009

692 | Jerry Seuseu* | 2001-2004

708 | Brent Webb* | 2004-2008

716 | Jerome Ropati* | 2005-2009

  • Ex-Kiwi captains in bold
  • Asterisk denotes former Vodafone Warriors

 

EX-KIWI REUNION | FORMER NEW ZEALAND COACHES

Graham Lowe | 1983-1986

Bob Bailey | 1990-1991

Brian McClennan | 2005-2007

Gary Kemble | 2007