John Raper, widely acknowledged as being one of the greatest players in the history of Rugby League football, was recently awarded a new honour to accompany his many other footballing accomplishments.
Along with the Australian Rules legend, Leigh Matthews, John was granted the privilege by Sport Australia of being upgraded from being a Member of the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame to becoming a fully-fledged Legend within the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame.
John and Leigh received their awards at a glittering function held recently in Melbourne, and recognition of this award was also made to "JR" at the NSW Rugby League Annual Dinner held at the NSW Leagues Club on the evening of Friday, 3 December.
A young John Raper gets ready to nail Wests forward Billy Owens at the SCG in 1957.
John Raper began his Rugby League career with the Camperdown Dragons junior club and played with Newtown from 1956 to 1958. In his final season at Newtown he won selection in the NSW Colts team that played the multi-talented Great Britain team that toured Australia and New Zealand that year.
John transferred to the St George club in 1959 and went on to a magnificent playing career in club, interstate and Test football that finished in the Newcastle club competition in 1974. He coached at Cronulla-Sutherland and Newtown in the late 1970's.
The late Frank Hyde regarded John Raper as being the greatest Australian Rugby League player he had seen in more than eighty years of following the game.