Souths Match Fixing Scandal

By Mark Emery for Bunnies TV.

‘If You Build It’

‘If you build it, they will come’. A classic line from the movie FIELD OF DREAMS. In this movie a farmer is convinced to build a baseball pitch on his farm. If he does this, players from long ago will come, like ghosts, and play.

The players were from the 1919 Chicago White Sox team, including ‘Shoeless’ Jo Jackson, who was accused of fixing a game in one of baseball’s worst match fixing scandals.

Souths Match Fixing Scandal
1938 semifinal team.

Rugby League Scandals

Over the history of rugby league there has certainly been some unsavoury times. The non selection of Len Smith in the 1948 Kangaroos comes to mind. Another one is when Jack Rayner was not happy with the refereeing during the 1952 Grand Final against Western Suburbs.

In 1968 S.G. Ball told a story about a direct bribe to a Souths player to ‘throw’ a game. What is the story behind it?

Souths Match Fixing Scandal
Grand Final 1939 for State Championship.

‘Duck’ Walsh

Jack Walsh nicknamed ‘Duck’ was a South Sydney player from 1937 till 1944 for a total of 96 games as a prop. He played in the Final of 1939 as well as the State Championship Grand Final in the same year.

For a while he was Souths captain. After leaving Souths he then played for Western Suburbs and played in a premiership winning team in 1948.

Souths Match Fixing Scandal
1939 Semi final report from THE REFEREE – last ever issue.

A Visit In 1943

On the morning of June 5th 1943, Walsh was relaxing on the lounge of his Surry Hills home when the door bell rang.

Opening the door, he found himself facing a man who said he represented a betting syndicate. He said it would be appreciated if Walsh did all he could to make sure Souths lost the game against Easts at the S.C.G.

He said if Walsh did his part, he would receive a worthwhile dividend.

‘But I’m only a forward’, Jack replied, trying to control himself from flattening the bloke.

‘No worries, there are lots of ways to get unquestionably penalized as a forward in a game’.

Walsh slammed the door in his face.

Souths Match Fixing Scandal
Action shot from THE REFEREE.

Telling S.G. Ball

When he saw the visitor walk away down the street, a very worried Walsh rushed off to tell S.G. Ball, Souths secretary, of the meeting.

Walsh suggested that, in the circumstances, it might be best if he does not play.

Ball would not hear of it. Calling the team together, he told the players of the offer (without mentioning names) and said he had told the footballer concerned to carry on as if nothing had happened.

Souths 1st grade team 1941 with Walsh.

The Big Game Against Easts

And so, Walsh trotted out onto the S.C.G. for the big clash against Easts with the rest of the team.

With the final whistle coming up, Easts were leading 8-6. 40,000 fans rose to their feet as, not far from Easts line, the ball flew from a ruck to Jack Walsh.

Walsh then put his massive shoulder right shoulder hard down and made off for the tryline, bumping off Sinclair and Kane on the way to the line.

Another defender came in for the tackle. Walsh stumbled but regained his feet. He charged off again as a couple more tacklers came at him.

Despite a mighty effort he slipped and fell. The ball came down and hit the ground an agonizingly three inches short of the line. Three inches short of a great victory.

The final whistle blew.

1939 Final program.

A Thought To Ponder

In the dressing room after the game, Jack pondered a thought. He wondered what the betting syndicate representative thought of that last effort. He therefore never got to find out as he never saw him again.

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