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Ken Arthurson

Kenneth Richard Arthurson AM (aka "Arko") has had a distinguished association with the Manly Warringah District Rugby League Club for more than half a century as a player, coach and administrator. He is more than just a legend he is a Manly icon, some say he is Manly Warringah.

Arko was born in Glebe on 1 October 1929. He was educated at Bondi Primary School and Randwick High School where he first played rugby league. He spent some time at Adelong before returning to Sydney and continuing his schooling at Manly Boys High. After leaving high school at the age of 15 Arko played rugby league for Freshwater Surf Club.

Arko played in Manly's Presidents Cup team in 1948-49 and made grade in 1950 playing 15 lower grade matches and 3 first grade games for Manly. In 1951 he played the entire season in first grade including Manly's first grand final. After playing his second full season in top grade in 1952, he accepted an offer to captain coach Parkes in 1953. In Parkes he suffered a shocking, life threatening, head injury that ended his playing career.

rko returned to Sydney and coached Manly's third grade team in 1954 and reserve grade in 1955-56. Arko was first grade coach from 1957 to 1961, making the semi finals every year and the grand final in 1957 and 1959.

He began his administrative career in 1962 as Honorary Treasurer and became the first full time Secretary of the club in 1963, a position he held until 1983 when he resigned to take on the position of Chairman of the Australian Rugby League in 1984. He continued his association with Manly as President of the Leagues Club until retiring in October 2004.

His time as Executive Chairman of the ARL was dominated by the Super League War in which Arko led the ARL battle against Murdoch's incursion into the game, The Super League War took its toll on Arko's health and he retired from the ARL in January 1997.

Arko gave his all to his beloved Manly and to rugby league in general. He played in Manly's first grand final, coached Manly to its second and third grand finals, and, as club secretary took Manly to the top, winning 4 grand finals in seven seasons from 1972 to 1978.

He is without doubt the most influential individual in Manly's history and has been rightfully crowned "King Arko of Manly".


Arko My Game, Ken Arthurson with Ian Heads, Ironbark, Sydney, 1997

The Sea Eagle has Landed: The Story of Manly Warringah Rugby League Club, Robert Smith, Sea Eagle Marketing, Brookvale, 1991


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