The Cumberland Throw were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Arch Brown, player number 231 for the Parramatta Eels.
Arch was a goal kicking winger blessed with exceptional pace. He was a prized signature for the Eels after the 1964 season as the club looked for a goal kicking solution heading into 1965.
After earning Queensland honours in 1964, the then 20 year old Brown inked his five year contract with the Eels. However, moving from his Wests Brisbane club to NSW would not prove to be quite so easy.
Back in those days the QRL had attempted to prevent a player drain to the illustrious Sydney premiership via an interstate transfer ban. The ban was supported by the NSWRL and upheld in the Equity Court when challenged by Manly and Parramatta.
The Sea Eagles were battling to engage the services of Mick Veivers and Ken Day, whilst the Eels sought to bring Brown to Sydney. Threats of legal action by the players themselves brought a change of heart from the QRL, and for Arch Brown that meant his career with the Eels could begin in 1965 as planned.
His first season in 1965 saw both individual and team success for Brown. His 131 points from 5 tries and 58 goals was a record for the Club, whilst the Eels qualified for their fourth consecutive finals appearance.
The following year was one of personal tragedy for Brown and his wife Diana, losing their baby daughter in a tragic car accident.
Brown would go on to fulfil his five year contract, finishing as top point scorer for the club in the final two seasons – notching up 124 points in1968 and 123 points in 1969. This YouTube clip includes footage of Brown in an Eels 1969 clash with the Dragons.
His 460 points during his career with the Eels has Brown still placed in fourth spot behind Mick Cronin (1971 points) and Luke Burt (1793 points) and Steve Ella (552 points). Jarryd Hayne is currently sitting on 459 points.
Arch was a popular figure with fans during his time with the club. He was renowned for always giving his time to the fans. Though the Eels only qualified for one finals series during his career, Brown’s tally of 460 points remained a club record until Mick Cronin set his benchmark.
Besides his importance to the team with his accurate goal kicking, Brown’s sprinting prowess was exceptional enough for him to earn extra income on the sprint circuit during the off season.
Back in those days the Eels were blessed with two of the fastest wingers in the premiership in Brown and Dave Irvine. Both wingers would train under a specialist sprint coach in preparation for these off season sprint events.
In this fabulous feature on Brown from 1969, the winger discusses how he varies his training and his weight for the different sports. The image of famous footballer/sprinter Mike Cleary in pursuit of Brown should bring back some memories for older followers of the game.
The Cumberland Throw extends our condolences to the family and friends of Arch Brown.
I’d like to thank Arch’s daughter-in-law Leasa, Parra Pete and Parrathruandthru for their assistance with this post.