This champion South Sydney District Junior Rugby League team won the 1967 Junior Rugby League Knock Out Competition.
The captain holding the ball is Michael Whitney who would grow up to be a left arm fast bowling Australian test cricketer & TV presenter. Mike took 39 test wickets & claimed 46 scalps in One Day Internationals.
We posted this image on our socials (seen by 13717 people) with the heading ‘So Mark Ella did play league & Mike Whitney wasn’t just a cricketer’. The reason for the first part is because at one stage of Mark Ellas career there was speculation that he might switch codes to league. This never happened leaving rugby league fans to wonder what the La Perouse legend might have achieved in the NSWRL. The 2nd part is simply the fact that not many people would know that Mike was actually a very good footballer.
We know this now thanks to the feedback we received –
“The Ella boys did actually play league as 17-18 year olds despite Matto high rugby coach Geoff Mould talking them out of it so that they could play in the Australain school boys tour to England later that year. They played Marist Bros at Redfern Oval and the Ella boys sat in the stand during the first half and their team (Matraville Tigers) were down 30-0 at the break. Mark, Glen and Gary could take it no more and came out and played the 2nd half and tore Marist apart with Matto finishing winners 36-30. One of the best games I ever refereed. Stuart Jeff Maurice
Mike was possibly as good at league as cricket, but cricket got him. Glen Ella is there too. Michael McFadyen
Front row also contains Les Davison who played for Randwick rugby. Worked with him for a year or two at Commonwealth Bank Mascot. A great bloke. Chris Locke
R Simms pictured on the left is my grandfather Bobo Simms. Lyn Ryan Hart
R Simms on the left is my dad. Robbie Simms
Mike was a pretty good centre in his day, did his knee around nineteen years of age, medical advice told him to stick with cricket where he was playing lower grades for Randwick. Paul Cullen