Phil Amidy, Brian Eakin, John Adamson and Snow Clarke inducted into Group Three Hall of Fame

Group Three chairman Wayne Bridge with hall of fame members Brian Eakin, Kevin Hardy and Errol Ruprecht at the induction held at the Wingham Services Club.
Group Three chairman Wayne Bridge with hall of fame members Brian Eakin, Kevin Hardy and Errol Ruprecht at the induction held at the Wingham Services Club.

THREE former Country representatives and a Smithtown great were inducted into the Group Three Rugby League Hall of Fame at a function held at the Wingham Services Club.

They are Brian Eakin, Phil Amidy, John 'Tucker' Adamson and Ken 'Snow' Clarke.

Eakin played with Taree United, Amidy Taree Old Bar and Wauchope, Adamson Taree Old Bar and Clarke with Smithtown when the club was in the Group Three competition during the 1950s and 60s.

Eakin, a front rower, was a Country representative in 1971, touring Queensland with a squad before being named in the Country Firsts side to play City. However, a shoulder injury sustained in a tour game ruled him out of the match.

Adamson, a centre, played for Country Seconds against City in 1971 while Amidy was a Country representative five-eighth in 1977.

Clarke was a goal kicking fullback and group representative. He made his first grade debut at 15 and played 17 years in top grade, figuring in 270 games. He captain-coached Smithtown to successive premierships from 1965-67 and scored 1700 points for the club, including a group record of 256 in 1965.

A former Smithtown player Terry Green, now the general manager at Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club, recalled the massive positive influence Clarke had on the Smithtown community through his efforts on the field.

Eakin, originally from Kempsey, was a member of United's premiership winning side in 1971 - the club's first in first grade. He retired after the 1973 grand final triumph.

Adamson revealed he played in four grand finals with the Taree Old Bar Lifesavers - two in under 18s, one in reserve grade and one in first grade. On each occasion Old Bar played bitter rival Taree United.

"I lost the lot,'' Adamson said.

He was forced into an early retirement when he smashed his knee in a game against Port Macquarie in 1973. Old Bar made the grand final again that year, only to lose to United.

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Amidy came to Taree Old Bar from Merriwa in 1972 as an 18-year-old He represented Group Three and North Coast and was a member of a North Coast side that defeated Newcastle in the 1975 Country Championship and later a touring New Zealand team. He switched to Wauchope in 1975 and scored two tries in the Blues win over Taree United in the grand final.

Amidy then played with Central Charlestown in Newcastle before returning to Wauchope in 1979, where he was named the Group Three player of the year. He then returned to Newcastle and played his last game of rugby league with Kendall in the Hastings League.

Panthers star special guest

Former Penrith star Grahame Moran was the special guest at the Group Three Rugby League Hall of Fame. He started playing rugby league with Zebras in the Taree and District Junior Rugby League and represented Country Firsts in 1966 before he had played a first grade game with Taree United. He signed with Penrith in 1967, the year the club was admitted to the NSW Rugby League first division and was the first Panther to represent City (1968) and NSW (1970).

He recalled in those days State sides were named on Sunday nights. The team came together on the Monday for a fitness check, had a training run that afternoon then went to the pub - a far cry from today's preparation for the State of Origin series.

Moran played 121 first grade games for the Panthers and is a member of the Penrith Hall of Fame.

Hall of fame members Barrie Morrison, Kevin Hardy, Garry McQuillan, Jake Kennett, Joe White, Errol Ruprecht and Tony Hinton were in attendance. Nominations for the hall of fame can be supplied by Group Three clubs or the general public.

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