The 21st Annual Tom Brock Lecture

Braham Dabscheck will deliver the 21st Annual Tom Brock Lecture

DATE: Tuesday 24th September 2019
TIME: 6 for 6.30 pm
VENUE: Petersham RSL Auditorium 
7 Regent Street, Petersham
SPEAKER: Braham Dabscheck
TOPIC: ‘Big Artie’s Most Important Offload; Forty Years of the Rugby League Players’ Association’


In April 1979, Arthur Beetson convened a meeting of senior and past players, coaches and others supportive of players to form a players’ association — to enable players to have a say in decision-making processes of rugby league — and the Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) was formed.

Over 40 years, different generations of leaders and activist players have confronted and sought to overcome important player issues. RLPA has operated with limited financial and personnel resources, often battling internal conflicts over the best ways to proceed.

These disputes have been integral to the success of RLPA, enhancing its operation as a democratic and viable organisation. The association has not only obtained a range of benefits for members, but played an important broader role in enhancing the governance and operation of rugby league, consistent with Arthur Beetson’s rationale for forming a players’ association 40 years ago.

The presentation will be followed by a conversation with two representatives of the RLPA: CEO Ian Prendergast and former player Clint Newton, now General Manager of Stakeholder Relations.

Speaker biography

BRAHAM DABSCHECK, a Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, has been conducting research in professional sport for four and a half decades.

He has been a consultant to various player associations in Australia and overseas, being an  expert witness in a 1991 case which found against the NSWRL’s draft and a consultant to the RLPA in negotiating a collective bargaining agreement in 2012. He has been a member of dispute tribunals in Australian football and of player agent boards in both the AFL and rugby.

He was the first chair of the Tom Brock Bequest Committee and was president of the Australian Society for Sports History from 1997 to 1999 and received a Service Award in 2009. He received the Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association Contribution to Sport Award 2018.

His happiest rugby league moment was when the Roosters defeated St. George 38 to nil in 1975.

Click here to RSVP for this event!


Parking is available, or two minutes’ walk from Petersham Railway Station. Light refreshments will be served after the lecture

RSVP 18 SEPTEMBER via the link above or PHONE Terry Williams 0428 993 183 (leave a message).