Digital media goes crazy to honour Arthur

SOCIAL media sites Facebook and Twitter have been swamped by birthday wishes for former rugby league great Arthur Beetson on what would have been his 70th birthday.

The first indigenous Australian to captain his country in any sport, and the man regarded as the finest front-rower to play the game (pictured), died of a heart attack on the Gold Coast on December 1, 2011.

Beetson ensured State of Origin was an instant success, leading Queensland to victory in the first game at Lang Park in 1980, spawning the catch phrase "mate against mate, state against state" after belting his then Parramatta teammate Mick Cronin during the 20-10 win.

Beetson, born in Roma, began his career for Redcliffe in Brisbane before playing for the Balmain Tigers (74 games), Eastern Surburbs (131 games) and Parramatta (16 games).

He was a member of Australia's Team of the Century and played 29 games for his country.

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