New Zealand Rugby League Whittaker


John Whittaker is a name that is synonymous with New Zealand Rugby League. He was a dynamic and talented player who represented his country at the highest level. Earning him a place in the Kiwis Rugby League Hall of Fame. In this article, we will take a closer look at John Whittaker’s career and his impact on the sport.

New Zealand Rugby League Whittaker – Early Life and Career

John Whittaker grew up in a sporting family and showed an early aptitude for rugby league. Whittaker started playing at a young age and quickly developed his skills.

Success on the 1971 Kiwis Rugby League Tour

John Whittaker performed so well at fullback on the 1971 tour of Britain and France. That local rugby league journalist would not believe he had never previously played in that position. They accused Kiwis coach Lory Blanchard of conning them. As his New Zealand team recovered from two sizeable deficits to win a Test series. On British soil for the first time since the 1907-08 All Golds and then remained unbeaten in France.

John Whittaker burst onto the scene scoring three tries for Wellington

Whittaker burst onto the representative scene. By scoring three tries on debut for Wellington against Canterbury in 1970. And it was no surprise when he stepped up to international football in his first season. He first wore the Kiwis jersey in a thrilling 16-15 World Cup victory over France at Hull. Although Australia and Great Britain contested the final. The foundations of New Zealand’s triumphant 1971 international season were laid on that tour.

Rugby League Full Back, Wing or Centre

New Zealand Rugby League Whittaker alternated between fullback and wing. And scored tries against Australia and Great Britain during the 1972 World Cup. When he reappeared in the Kiwis strip in 1975 it was at centre against Australia. Then at fullback in a record 27-0 defeat of France at Christchurch. Also, a 17-17 draw with England at Auckland. He was unavailable for the overseas leg of that series. But returned to the wing for all three 1977 World Cup games in Australasia.

Kiwi New Zealand Rugby League Caps

He played 26s Test and 69 matches for his country. Eight of his 18 tries were scored in Tests. Such was his versatility that he played 10 of his Tests at fullback. Also, seven on the wing. In addition, six at centre. Finally, three off the bench. The 13 seasons that his international career spanned was then a New Zealand record, at the time. Whittaker also made 73 appearances (scoring 51 tries) for Wellington. Often as captain. Also, played nine times for Central Districts. In addition, he captained and coached Randwick, sharing in five premiership victories.

Impact on Kiwi Rugby League

John Whittaker’s impact on New Zealand Rugby League cannot be overstated. He was a key member of the Kiwis team during one of the most successful periods in the country’s rugby league history. Helping to secure historic victories over Australia and Great Britain.

Whittaker’s speed and strength made him a formidable opponent on the field. And his performances inspired a generation of young rugby league players in New Zealand. In recognition of his achievements. Whittaker was inducted into the Kiwis Rugby League Hall of Fame.

John Whittaker Career

John Whittaker is a true legend of New Zealand Rugby League. He was a talented and dynamic player who represented his country with distinction. Earning him a place among the greats of the game. His legacy continues to inspire rugby league players in New Zealand. Also, his contribution to the sport will always be remembered.

Celebrating New Zealand Rugby League

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