The sons of Immortal Arthur Beetson have issued a public plea to find their dad's most treasured possession - his iconic Queensland jumper worn in the very first State of Origin game 40 years ago.

With sleeves cut off and weightlifting chalk across the jersey for increased ball security, Beetson's family has started a search to locate the legendary jersey.

Sons Brad Beetson and Kristian Heffernan are desperately trying to track down Arthur's jumper before donating it to the NRL museum at League Central.

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Brad has contacted Arthur's brother, Barry, nicknamed Pedro, along with former Queensland stars Colin Scott, Gene Miles and Chris Close - plus ex-Maroons official Brian Canavan - but no-one knows the jumper's whereabouts.

"We're looking for whoever has it - no-one knows," said Brad. "It's an iconic jumper."

The Beetson family desperately want to locate the jumper given they have little memorabilia from Arthur's playing days and the fact 2020 is Origin's 40-year anniversary.

Before his death in December, 2011, Beetson was known for his generosity and would often hand over any collectables worn during an amazing career.

Queensland captain Arthur Beetson leads the Maroons out for the first State of Origin match. Beetson’s family are on the hunt for the jersey. Picture by Geoff McLachlan.
Queensland captain Arthur Beetson leads the Maroons out for the first State of Origin match. Beetson’s family are on the hunt for the jersey. Picture by Geoff McLachlan.

The brothers' previously owned two of Arthur's representative jumpers - one Australian, one NSW - but both were stolen.

"Someone has got to know where it is. It's out there somewhere," Heffernan said. "We would love to know where it is.

"Maybe it could go in the museum. Our belief - along with that of brothers Brad, Mark and Scott - is that it deserves to be in the museum. Dad thought that first game was very special.

"We don't have a lot of memorabilia. Dad gave it all away. He always said that if it meant more to somebody else then he was happy for them to have it. Dad wasn't a man for material possessions.

"Dad had his memories and he had the games. He didn't need any of the memorabilia. That was the type of bloke that he was. He just wanted to make people happy.

"He never said no to an autograph and never said no to having a chat with somebody. If someone wanted a jumper, then no problem. His Immortal jacket is hanging on the wall inside Redcliffe Leagues Club.

"There are some great historical pieces in the NRL museum and we'd love for Dad's jumper to be one of them. Dad was a proud Queenslander, a proud Aboriginal and a proud Australian. It was one of his career highlights to play for Queensland."

Queensland captain Artie (Arthur) Beetson is swamped by well-wishers after the first State of Origin match. Picture: Jim Fenwick
Queensland captain Artie (Arthur) Beetson is swamped by well-wishers after the first State of Origin match. Picture: Jim Fenwick

The NRL has a Queensland jumper worn by Beetson in the museum but the family do not believe it is the original guernsey worn back in 1980.

"Brad told me it's not the original because he had it. Brad had it at the start but then he thought maybe Pedro had it," Kristian said.

Beetson starred in the inaugural Origin game and is credited with injecting immediate passion and sting into what was a flagging interstate series. And it all started in the Queensland No. 11 jumper.

"Given Origin is 40-years old, the jumper means a lot to the family," Brad said. "It would be good to put it in the rugby league museum. It would be good to know where it is and who he gave it to.

"And I am a one-eyed Queensland supporter."

If anyone knows who has the jumper, please contact Daily Telegraph reporter Dean Ritchie through social media. @BulldogRitchie


Originally published as Family's plea: Search for Origin's most famous jersey



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