Les ‘Chicka’ Cowie – League Husky

Leslie Gordon Cowie was born in Rockhampton in 1925. Les, as he was known, put his age up to join the army and served in World War Two. He came to Sydney after the war and joined South Sydney. Chicka subsequently played from 1947 until 1957, a total of 178 games with 6 test appearances and 66 tries.

Kangaroo Tourist

Les 'Chicka’ Cowie - League Husky
Chick Cowie league husky

Dark Times To Glory Glory

In 1946 Souths suffered some dark times. The team did not win one match. During 1946 and ’47 four new players joined the club. These were Jack Rayner, Clive Churchill, Johnny Graves and Cowie. Significantly, all four were to tour with the Kangaroos in 1948 and subsequently become an integral part of premiership glory for the red and green club. What did Chicka do to deserve a hallowed place in Souths’ History?

Defensive Master

In defense one story illustrates his expertise. One day in 1951 South Sydney played Newtown at the SCG. A scrum broke. The half got the ball away cleanly. However, as the five-eight got the ball his legs were taken away from under him. Despite this, he did get the ball to the inside centre but this player also got flattened.

Les 'Chicka’ Cowie - League Husky

Shoulder Charges

The ball became loose. Picking up the loose ball, the outside centre was hit with a tremendous shoulder charge. He did get a pass to the winger. Just after the winger got the ball, he was flattened. He landed several feet over the sideline. The funny thing was that Chicka made every tackle. Imagine Cam Murray doing that!

Les 'Chicka’ Cowie - League Husky
Bunnies TV featured Les Cowie in 2021.

Winger Terror

In fact, wingers most probably had nightmares before they played Souths. Cowie made a habit of burying wingers over the sideline. It did not matter how fast the ball traveled along the backline, by the time the winger got the ball, Cowie was there to say ’hello’. Rarely did a player get up quickly after being tackled by one of Chicka’s ferocious hits.

Always There In Attack

In attack he was just as hungry. One scribe mentioned that it seemed in every photo taken of Souths in action, Cowie was in it. He made a point of being close to the ball. When a kicker was attempting a kick at goal he would follow the kick. If the kick missed Chicka would be there to take the ball and score a try. Cowie scored a remarkable, for a forward, four tries in a semi final in 1956.


After he retired, he became a South Sydney selector. Later he was an Australian selector. Les Cowie’s love for Souths was demonstrated during an interview in the 1987 video ‘History of Souths’. When asked what he thought about playing for the red and greens, he became rather emotional.

Souths selectors 1972

Leslie ‘Chicka’ Cowie died in 1995.

1948 STAMINA card

This ‘League husky’ certainly deserves a place in ‘Remembering a Rabbitoh’.

Les ‘Chicka’ Cowie – League Husky
By Mark Emery for Bunnies TV.


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    • Thank you for your comment Paul. Yes I would have to agree. Souths have had some wonderful locks, Cann, Cowie and Coote. Funnily enough, there is no player from the premiership from 1925-1932. Why? Because Souths only had to play with 5 forwards they were so strong, and therefore had an extra back. No wonder they were so hard to beat. Let’s hope Cameron will be in the same club.

  • Was a great honour for me to be presented a best and fairest award by Ckicka when I played in the Group 6 second division comp. A thorough gentleman with plenty of stories to tell about his playing days. RIP Chicka.

    • Thank you for your comment Ray. Yes he was always regarded as a gentleman off the field but a tough man on the field- similar to John Sattler.

  • Hi Mark,

    Do you know where I could find the footage of Chicka from the 1987 video ‘History of Souths’ you mentioned, please?

    Thank you