ONE OF THE FEATURES of St George’s 11-year winning run was how rarely a player left the club before the club was ready to let him go. It is true that a number of players left Kogarah and went on to contribute well for their new team — Peter Provan at Balmain, Bob Bugden at Parramatta, Billy Wilson at Norths, Johnny Greaves at Canterbury and Brian James at Souths are good examples — but only Kevin Ryan, who led Canterbury to the 1967 grand final, was a traumatic loss.
In Never Before, Never Again, Eddie Lumsden explained what kept him a Saint …
‘Saints looked after me. The money wasn’t the best, but why play with a losing team? Easts offered Ian Walsh big money and I asked him why he didn’t switch. He said, “Well, for starters, it’s much easier playing with you, Poppa and Billy Wilson, than against you.”
‘If you wanted to win premierships and play for Australia, St George was your club. The Western Suburbs players in my era were paid far more money than me, some were on a flat £1000 a season, but I have ten premiership blazers in my wardrobe. They don’t have one.
‘I’m way ahead.’