The month of June will mark 40 years since the 'remarkable grand slam' when the Auckland premier representative team beat Australia, Great Britain and France at Carlaw Park in 1977.
Squaring off against the international sides, the provincial team made headlines for their magnificent and historic performance in taking down Australia 19-15 on June 1, Great Britain 14-10 on June 14 and France 17-0 on June 21 – ‘the treble against international sides had been completed’.
Former Kiwis prop and Auckland player Lyndsay Proctor who played in the infamous fixtures has set out to reunite all 19 players to remember the nights played under the lights at Carlaw Park and their supreme victories.
“I am very proud to be a player of the Auckland side of 1977,” said Proctor.
“We were named the best Auckland team to represent our province, and most certainly the most successful on record.”
“Looking back, it certainly was a great time for us all. We all played part in a team that made its mark on Auckland Rugby League history.”
Of the 19 players to take the field of dreams that month, 14 played for the Kiwis or went on to represent New Zealand, five were named Kiwi captains and three were inducted into New Zealand Rugby League’s Legends of League. Former Kiwi loose forward and Auckland player Mark Graham was also named New Zealand Rugby League’s Player of the Century.
The record-setting side will be guests of honour at the Vodafone Warriors match when they play the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday June 23 (8.00pm kick-off).
On Saturday, the Auckland Rugby League will pay tribute to the side at the home of the Richmond Bulldogs (Grey Lynn Park) where clubs, players and fans can join them in celebrating their reunion of 40 years.
“In 2007, the Warriors acknowledged our 30-year anniversary and paid homage to the team by playing in replica Auckland jerseys that night,” said Proctor.
“It was a special occasion and I think it was the first time I’ve been cheered by supporters, compared to the boo's I received at Carlaw Park all those years ago – thank god for the memories,” he quipped.
“It’s been ten years since our last get together and both the Auckland Rugby League and Warriors have been wonderful in helping me organise this special occasion.”
“Our guys are coming from Australia, Auckland and the rural towns of the North Island for a weekend affair.
“We are all excited for what will be a great weekend of footy and as you can imagine, lots of laughs.”
What: 40-year reunion of the 1977 Auckland international champion team with ‘grand slam’ wins over Australia, Great Britain and France.
Who: Auckland’s 1977 international champion team. All players will be attending including Dave Lepper, Alan McCarthy, Dane O’Hara, Mark Lowe, Dave Sorensen, Luther Toloa, Gary Kemble, Kurt Sorensen, Lyndsay Proctor, Mark Graham, Stan Napa, John Smith, Fred Ah Kuoi, Dennis Williams (captain), Chris Jordan, Warren Winter, Glen Taylor, Olsen Filipaina, John Wilson and masseur Graham Coutts.
When/Where: Friday June 23 – Guests at Warriors home game v Bulldogs at Mt Smart Stadium, Saturday June 24 – Richmond Rovers Rugby League Club Game of the Round (SAS Fox Memorial ) VS Northcote Tigers at Grey Lynn Park