Almanac Rugby League – Artie


It’s a sad, sad day for lovers of rugby league the world over with the death of Artie Beetson at the all too young age of 66. The achievements, awards, acclamations,  will be fully documented in the coming days. Among all the things that will be said and read, perhaps a telling indicator of Artie’s legacy is that he was equally admired, respected and loved in NSW as he was in his home State of Queensland, in the UK as in Australia.

Peerless player, highly successful coach, insightful talent scout, provider of opportunities to indigenous kids, forthright raconteur, entertainer on and off the field, pie eater extraordinaire, larger than life man who never forgot his roots, and a hundred other epithets – to one and all, he was “our Artie”.

Today we simply put on the record the grassroots fans’ gratitude that we were lucky enough to witness a true legend of the game in all the best senses of that sobriquet.

Arthur Henry Beetson OAM, (22/01/1945 – 1/12/2011)


About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A loyal Queenslander, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. Enjoys travel, coffee and cake, reading, and has been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. One of Footy Almanac's online editors who enjoys the occasional editing opportunity to assist aspiring writers.


  1. I was at the Test at the Gabba when the bloke sitting next to me told me the news. He then proceeded to drink six beers in the first session of play and wandered off. There were converstions about Artie among groups in the crowd and in the Clarence Corner Hotel after the day’s play. He will remain in the memory as not only one of the great Rugby League players but a charasmatic and inspirational person.

    Ian – your short number of words have captured the essence of Artie far better than all that will be said and written about him in the times ahead.

    JJ Leahy

  2. Sad to lose him – 66 is not old. He was such a large part of the Rugby League world that I grew up with in the seventies. One of the best forwards I’ve ever seen. Thanks Artie for the memories.

  3. Big Artie was my introduction to rugby when i moved to Qld in the late seventies. Always had a smile on his face, except when he was smashing through the NSW defence in those classic early state of origin games. RIP big fella.

  4. Hadn’t seen much of him but the recent grabs indicated he had a taste for the biffo. Don’t mess with AB.

  5. One of Australia’s true sporting legends. What he did for rugby league, Queensland and the indigenous community was astonishing. He should be remembered as one of the greats. Few have contributed more.

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