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Vale Arthur Summons

13 December 1935 – 16 May 2020

HBHS Alumnus – Class of ’52

Arthur James Summons was an Australian representative rugby union and rugby league player, a dual- code rugby international fly-half or five-eighth. He captained the Australian National Rugby League team in five undefeated test matches from 1962 until 1964 and later also coached the side.

Arthur was educated at Homebush Boys High School where he captained the school's first grade rugby union side. He also represented for the Combined High Schools team. Mr Summons won one of only Three School Blues awards where he was described as: “A brilliant leader and five-eighth. Possibly the finest all-round player to don a Homebush jersey.”

Arthur was also an outstanding Athlete whilst at Homebush Boys high school. Excelling in running, both sprinting and longer distances and hurdling. He also went on to represent at the Combined High Schools Athletics Carnival where he placed 2nd in the 100 yards events.

In his final year at Homebush, Arthur received a Teachers’ College Scholarship. Whilst there he also captained a Sydney combined Teacher’s College side.

Arthur signed with Western Suburbs in 1960. He played in the 3 consecutive Wests Grand final losses to St George between 1961 and 1963. He was a dual international having played rugby union for Australia before his nine Tests for the Kangaroos. He also played seven games for NSW Firsts in his four seasons with the Magpies and had the distinction of playing for both NSW City and Country sides.

In 1962 he played in all three Tests against Great Britain, including being named captain in the Third Test. In 1963-64 he was captain-coach of the Kangaroos that won the Ashes in England for the first time since 1911.

Arthur is the subject of one of the most memorable sporting photographic images ever captured in Australia. The 1963 NSW Rugby League Premiership grand final between long term rivals Western Suburbs and St George was played in a torrential downpour on Saturday, 24 August. This, combined with the fact that the centre cricket pitch area of Sydney Cricket Ground was notoriously muddy in such conditions, ensured that the players were not only saturated but also caked in mud from head to toe. At the conclusion of the hard-fought match, which was won by St George, the captains of the two teams, the very tall Norm Provan and more diminutive Summons, embraced in appreciation of each other's stoic efforts. The moment was captured by a newspaper photographer, John O'Gready, and published in the following day's Sun Herald. The image became known as The Gladiators. This image was the inspiration for the current premiership trophy's bronze statue.

In 1964 Summons retired to Wagga Wagga and was secretary-manager of the Wagga Wagga Leagues Club. He died aged 84 on May 16th, 2020.