Oldest Kangaroo dead at 92

Australia's oldest surviving Rugby League Test player, 92 year old Arch Crippin, was buried last week after a funeral service at Holy Name Catholic Church, Forster on the NSW North Coast.

About 80 mourners said goodbye at the service as former Kangaroos Johnny King, Ron Boden and Ken Thornett presented his family members with one more green and gold jumper. 

Born in Forbes in 1916, Crippin was a talented athlete and cricketer at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, but he was quickly snapped up by North Sydney, as a centre, when he left high school, League HQ reports.

"Each season produces its star footballer," the Sydney Press wrote in 1936. "This season is no exception. Crippin only has to maintain this form and he should find himself racing shoulder to shoulder with Australia's most brilliant footballer, Dave Brown."

Crippin was then selected in the Kangaroos side to play England in 1936. He marked his arrival with a brilliant 60m try in the second Test but tragedy struck in the dying stages of the third when a British kick bounced back over his head and into the arms of an opposition player, who scored the series winning try.

He was selected to play for the 1937-38 Kangaroos but a shoulder dislocation that would sideline a modern player for a matter of weeks forced him into early retirement.

"He was immensely proud of what he did on the football field, but he never made much about it. He was a quiet hero," daughter Judy Pares recalled.

Crippin also served in the 35th Battalion in New Guinea during WWII and played cricket for Souths Juniors until he was 65. His wife, Rosalie, died three years ago.

"This week we have been heartened to learn just how much he meant to other people," Judy said.

Arch is survived by his children, Judy, Ron, Richard, Maureen and David, 13 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.



Former Kangaroos honour Crippin the unassuming hero (League HG, 6/4/08)


Arch Crippin (Rugby League Project)

Vale Arch Crippin (North Sydney Bears)

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