40th reunion for 1977 Grand Slam Auckland Rugby League players

By Tepara Koti
1977 Auckland Rugby League Premier Team - Photo / Carlaw Park Die Hards

A 40th reunion has been planned for this weekend for former players of the 1977 Grand Slam Auckland Rugby League team.  40 years ago they made their mark in the game's history when they completed an unprecedented grand slam over Australia, Great Britain and France.

It was the Auckland squad and others of the era who paved the way for the Warriors’ introduction to the Winfield Cup.  

Auckland played against Australian clubs in the mid-1970s, in the midweek Amco Cup competition, which eventuated into pushing for inclusion in the old Sydney premiership.

This Friday will be the first time the former players will be reunited since their prime time.

Hosted by the Vodafone Warriors for Friday night's NRL clash against Canterbury-Bankstown at Mount Smart Stadium, their guests will also visit the New Zealand Rugby League National Museum and the Members' Clubrooms.

Most poignant perhaps of moments ahead will be the chance to walk through the "tunnel" again as they will walk alongside the Vodafone Warriors onto the field just ahead of kick-off for the big match against the Bulldogs.

In an interview with Vodafone Warriors TV, former player Fred Ah Kuoi says, "It is a great time for us to catch up, and you know when I look back, that was the last time I saw some of those guys back then. It's been a long time."

He went on to say, "This Friday when we meet, it's gonna be quite an event!"  The whole interview can be found here.

1977 GRAND SLAM AUCKLAND TEAM

Gary Kemble (Ellerslie) | Kiwi No 555, 19 tests, 1980-86 (1 try)

Dane O’Hara (Glenora) | Kiwi No 528, 36 tests, 1977-86 (14 tries)

Chris Jordan (Ellerslie) | Kiwi No 530, 5 tests, 1977-78 (2 tries, 16 goals)

Warren Winter (Mt Wellington) | Kiwi No 538, 1 test, 1978

Olsen Filipaina (Mangere East) | Kiwi No 529, 29 tests, 1977-86 (6 tries, 44 goals)

Dennis Williams (Te Atatu) | Kiwi No 490, 31 tests, 1971-81 (4 tries, 4 goals, 1 field goal)

Fred Ah Kuoi (Richmond) | Kiwi No 522, 28 tests, 1975-85 (5 tries)

Dave Sorensen (Glenora) | Kiwi No 494, 1 test, 1971-72

John Smith (Te Atatu) | Kiwi No 523, 12 tests, 1975-79 (3 tries)

Lyndsay Proctor (Ellerslie) | Kiwi No 507, 13 tests, 1974-78 (1 try)

John Wilson (Northcote) | Kiwi No 504, 2 tests, 1972 (3 goals)

Glenn Taylor (Otahuhu) | Kiwi No 540, 1 test, 1978

Kurt Sorensen (Mt Wellington) | Kiwi No 524, 27 tests, 1975-89 (4 tries)

Mark Graham (Otahuhu) | Kiwi No 535, 29 tests, 1977-88 (7 tries)

Alan McCarthy (Ponsonby) | Kiwi trialist

Mark Lowe (Mt Wellington) | Kiwi trialist

Stan Napa (Otahuhu) | Kiwi trialist

Dave Lepper (Northcote) | Kiwi trialist

Luther Toloa (Richmond) | Kiwi trialist