Top Five Broken Myths In Rugby League – March 2007

Its very easy for a start to gather momentum in Rugby League, and as League Freak looks to keep his fans in the know, its time to break some long standing myths in the game.

1. New Zealand And Great Britain Reach An Agreement On The Baskerville Shield
Holders of the Baskerville Shield, New Zealand had won the first game of their series and by drawing the second game of the series ensures that the series itself would also end in an anti climactic draw. With a potential marketing problem for the third and final test, the RFL announced that an agreement had been made between the RLF and the NZRL for the winner of the third test to be named winners of the Baskerville series. Embarrassing scenes ensued after Great Britain won the final test as Great Britain celebrated a series draw and held a celebration ceremony mid pitch with all the pop and ceremony of a Cup Final win, much to the bemusement of a New Zealand camp who had made no such agreement having rightfully retained the Baskerville Shield with a draw in the previous match.

2. The True Bowler Hat Wearer
As one of the great characters of the game, there are many stories involving John Raper. The most famous by far however started during the1967-68 Kangaroo Tour. The story involves a late night walk down the street by a player who wore not a shred of clothing, except for a bowler hat! The fact of the matter is that it was not John Raper. It was team mate Dennis Manteit.

3. John Lomax Caused Adam Ritson’s Early Retirement
A promising young from rower for the Parramatta Eels, Adam Ritson was hit in a head high tackle by Canberra prop John Lomax in a game I was attending. Many people believe that the injury Ritson received in that game was the cause of his later health problems, but that is not the case. Having suffered a severe concussion Ritson was given a cat scan and this scan revealed a
Brain tumour that was no in any way caused by the tackle. If anything, the head high tackle was a blessing in disgusted as it directly to the tumor being detected.

4. William Webb Ellis’ Existence And The Origin Of “Rugby”
The story is that during a game of soccer at the Rugby school, a youngster called William Web Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it, and the game of “rugby” was born. The fact of the matter is William Web Ellis did not exist. There was no absolute point in which “Rugby” was invented. Before the late 1800’s there were many codes of “Football” with many different rules. These different lose interpretations of the different codes were eventually brought under the association of the Football Association, the Rugby Football Union and many other governing bodies that formalized rules under which their sports were to be played.

5. Wally Lewis Was A Rugby Union Player That Switched Codes
It’s a common misconception that Wally Lewis was a rugby union player that turned his back on his native code to play Rugby League. That’s wrong. Lewis was a top junior sportsman and played many sports including Rugby League and rugby union. He toured with the Australian rugby union schoolboys side and did not so much switch to Rugby League but rather stopped playing rugby union to continue his Rugby League career.

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