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GREAT MEN...Western Suburbs Magpies legends John Hayes, Arthur Summons and Noel Kelly with the Men of League Cup

Former Western Suburbs Magpies forward John Hayes believes the 1963 St George Dragons outfit remains the greatest club team ever.

Beaten 8-3 on a bogged field after a week of heavy rain, the premiership decider is well remembered for the controversy surrounding referee Darcy Lawler.

Western Suburbs players claimed St George winger Johnny King was held before getting to his feet again and scoring a crucial try. It later led to claims by former Magpies prop Jack Gibson that Lawler stood to earn 600 pounds if the Dragons won.

Nick-named Chow, Hayes recalls the Magpies run into the grand final. He was 23 at the time of the grand final.

We beat the Dragons three times before the decider. The worst thing we probably did do was beating them in the last minute in the semi-final, Hayes said this week.

Team-mate Jack Gibson seemed to think there was some wagering on the grand final. Maybe we would have got a fairer shake had we not won the semi-final.

Having said that, I never said we would have won, never said we could have won, or never said we should won.

What I have always said was that Im not sure we had the opportunity to win.

There is a famous shot of Johnny King being tackled before getting up from scoring a try. If you look closely at the footage, there was only one player who chased him in Don Malone. He was too far away to hear Darcy say either youre tackled or he is tackled.

We were beaten by a great side. It was probably the greatest club team ever.

The 1963 Grand Final is also famous for the Gladiators photo taken by John OGready of St George captain Norm Provan and Western Suburbs captain Arthur Summons. The image now adorns the Telstra Premiership photo.

Wests Tigers and St George Dragons will play for the Men of League Cup at the Sydney Cricket Ground this Sunday as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the 1963 Grand Final.

Players from both of the grand finals teams will be doing a lap of honour prior to the 3pm kick-off.



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