Gordon Greats Honoured

THE ROUND FOUR clash at Chatswood between Gordon and Warringah will embrace an emotional kick-off as tributes flow for two high achievers of Gordon’s past.

Television viewers on 7Two will note that the Gordon team is wearing black armbands, and those at the game will be privy to a brief half- time ceremony in honour of Arthur Summons and John Fordham, significant figures in Gordon’s history, who died over recent months.

Summons, widely known for his later deeds in Rugby League and his image on the NRL Trophy, played six seasons with Gordon in the 1950s, and was the premier fly-half of his time.

Gordon was Sydney’s top club in those days, winning three premierships through the 1950s and supplying through that era no fewer than nine Wallabies. Eight of them were in the 1956 premiership team.

Summons was arguably their finest player, winning 10 Test caps and excelling on Wallaby tours of New Zealand and the British Isles.

He was a master of his time, a quicksilver attacking player with a lightning step who darted through defences before they could work out which way he was going.

He played more football with Gordon than he did in senior league. His 10 Rugby Tests, too, were more than he played in league, despite his relative immortality as captain-coach of the 1963 league Kangaroos, perhaps the finest league team ever. He looked upon his rugby days as the most enjoyable of his career.

John Fordham won similar renown later in life as a manager of high profile sportsmen, entertainment and media personalities.
But his first real talent management role was with the premiership-winning Gordon reserves in 1976. He went on to management roles with the first grade side as well, and later with the NSW and Australian Under 21s.

The impact he had on the club however went much beyond simple team management. He had a personality that enthused all around him, and as an ideas man he was in a world of his own.

His influence on the club extended to recent times as well. For more than two decades he had organised a reunion lunch, popularly known as ‘Fordo’s Lunch’ for the players of his time, and latterly for Gordon players of any time, which twice every year has brought together 50-odd people and perpetuated the spirit so evident through the golden years of the 1970s.

Back in amateur days, when rugby was all about volunteer commitment, Fordham was one of a kind.

Both he and Summons have left a mark, and it is fitting that the club – currently experiencing a significant resurgence – sees fit to honour them this week.

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