EARNED RESPECT: Dennis ‘Meato’ Pye was an astute caption-coach. PHOTOS: CONTRIBUTED
EARNED RESPECT: Dennis ‘Meato’ Pye was an astute caption-coach. PHOTOS: CONTRIBUTED

South Grafton Rebels' best front row too hard to call

SOUTH Grafton Rugby League Club is just two weeks away from naming its Team of the Century.

The announcement will take place alongside the club's 100th anniversary celebrations, honouring its heroes of yesteryear and today.

This week, Gary looks at the front rowers in line for selection.

Viv Hodge

In a nutshell, Viv Hodge was a rugby league legend for South Grafton.

Viv served his apprenticeship in the front row, playing in Newcastle before turning out with Newtown Jets.

Lured to Grafton as the Rebels' first-grade player-coach in 1970, Hodge guided his young side to the grand final that season before taking them all the way in 1972.

An inspirational leader, Hodge was a brilliant scrummager who never took a backward step on the footy field.

Dennis 'Meato' Pye

A South Grafton junior who went on to play a record 310 games for the Rebels from 1971-88, "Meato" was a crafty front-rower who could read a game of football and gave his all every time he took the field.

Respected by his peers, Pye was an astute captain-coach with a cool head on his shoulders.

During his playing career with the Rebels, Pye featured in seven grand finals, scored 56 first-grade tries, landed 159 conversions and slotted five field goals.

A true champion.

Mark 'Tractor' McIntyre

A strong running front-rower, McIntyre was so tough he'd rust in the rain, it was said.

An enforcer of the Rebels' pack during his playing career, McIntyre was a workhorse on the field in both attack and defence.

He represented Group One, Northern Division and Queensland Residents sides in a stellar career.

"Tractor" was also named Group One Player of the Year in 1990, and in 1993 was named in the NSW Country Team of the Decade.

Jobie Jarrett

A member of South Grafton Cup sides from 1932-39, Jarrett had a physical presence on the footy field.

From all reports, he breathed fire and brimstone from the opening whistle and didn't mind putting his head on the block with no questions asked.

Former Radio 2GF commentator Jack Burgess rated Jarrett as the toughest forward he had seen.

"On one occasion he (Jarrett) kicked an entire scrum off their feet striking for the ball," Burgess said.

Many formidable players have made their mark in the engine room for South Grafton over the years.

Here's a few more who would not be out of place in any side: Ron Hensby, John Eccelston, Ray "Dog" Pereira, Terry Alford, Dave Clay and, in more recent times, Xavier Sullivan.



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