Favorite Moments - 001-025 Your fun memories from EOTB

fm20 - Saints Fijian Legend Apisia Toga snaps leg

Posted by... quigs eraofthebiff - on ... Monday, May 14, 2012
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I remember as a young kid watching a game at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah, home shall I say it,(hand over my mouth) the mighty St George Dragons. Cough, shit that was hard to say.

It must of been in the early 70's, perhaps one of the saints fans can correct me on this. I believe the Dragons were playing against my beloved Cronulla Sharks.

At the time Saint George had a man mountain of a forward named Apisia Toga in their player ranks. Big Apisia was a real crowd favorite, whether you followed bloody Saints or not. Everyone loved big apisia, except I guess the poor bastard that he was running at.

pics courtesy of the St George/Illawarra History Website.

Apisai Toga in full flight eyeing off Bob Fulton

(I think it is Ken Maddison in support)

The game sticks in my mind as poor Apisia snapped his leg during the game and was right in the middle of the paddock. His leg snapped and it sounded like a wip cracking. Play was stopped immediately and the zambuck was called into the centre of the field.

In those days the "zambucks" were members of the St Johns Amublance society, all volunteers, wearing their St Johns Uniforms and all usually carrying a bloody big wooden first aid box with a big red cross on it. None of this converted golf buggy crap with flashing revolving lights, it was all straight out of WW11.

As the game stalled and more and more Zambucks attended poor Apisia, some of the crowd were getting a bit restless.

As one of the more senior Zambucks jogged off the the field to get a rigid canvas stretcher, the crowd "gave" him a bit of curry.

He emerged from under the stand with the stretcher and was just about to run out on the field when some of the hecklers started up again.

"Come on will ya, we come to watch the footy" or words to that effect, one of the wags yelled out.

The senior Zambuck never missed a beat, he turned to the crowd and yelled as he headed off towards the centre, "It's alright for you, you bastard, I've gotta carry the big bastard".

It broke all up who heard. Ridicule turned to Sympathy as the Zambucks struggled to carry poor Apisia past us. He was one big forward.

FOOTNOTE:

A popular player, Apisai Toga came to Saints from Fiji and also played with Lancashire club Rochdale (UK) in the late 1960s.

In 1973, Toga collapsed during a training session and later tragically died of tetanus poisoning; an injury sustained while diving amongst coral in Fiji in the off season

Apisia's points for Saints - 1968-72, 60 games + 5 repl., 9 tries (27pts)

 

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