EDGAR WRIGLEY played Rugby Union for the Red Star club in Masterton and for Wairarapa. When he made his All Blacks debut in 1905 he was only 19 years 79 days of age and was the youngest person to play a test for the All Blacks. This record stood until 1994 when it was broken by Jonah Lomu. Wrigley was selected for the All Golds Tour in 1907/08 and played in eight test matches. He was involved in one of the most important moments of the tour towards the end of the third test in Cheltenham. In appalling weather, he amazingly kicked a conversion form the touch line to level the scores and give Massa Johnson the opportunity to score the match winning try. At the end of the tour, Wrigley signed for Runcorn for a £400 fee and a guarantee of employment as a plumber. He later moved to Huddersfield, making 169 appearances before joining Hunslet for a fee of £550. He coached Bradford and Hull and died in 1958 in Huddersfield.
He became the main organiser of The All Golds tour and played in the first test against Australia scoring a try. A few days later, he contracted pneumonia and died, aged 25 in Brisbane, on 20th May 1908. His body was returned to Wellington and, like five other members of the touring party, he was buried at Karori Cemetery.
The Lance Todd trophy is named after him and is awarded to the man of the match in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final. It commemorates his work as a manager and radio commentator.
Arthur Kelly stayed in England after the tour and fought in World War 1 as part of the "Corps of Colonials." He survived.
Herbert Henry "Dally" Messenger is recognised as one of the greatest ever players in either code. "The Master" as he was called, represented his country at Rugby Union and played for New South Wales in the very first Rugby League match played in Australia. His signing was a major boost for the new code and he was invited to join The All Golds tour as a guest. Messenger played a starring role on tour but represented Australia against then when they returned.
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He signed for Eastern Suburbs and in 1908 was selected for the first Kangaroo tour of Great Britain who were called "The Pioneers." Messenger captained Australia in the first two tests and scored a memorable, individual try in the second. He was captain of Australia when they hosted the 1910 Great Britain Lions tourists. The 1911 season was his best scoring a total of 270 points in 21 matches. In one interstate match for New South Wales, he scored 32 points (from four tries and 10 goals) a record which has only been equalled in recent years (with tries now being worth 4 points rather than 3) Messenger was top points scorer in New South Wales for three consecutive seasons 1910-12. He led Eastern Suburbs to their first premiership in 1911 and this was repeated in 1912 and 1913. He retired from playing in 1913 and lived until 1959.
The Dally M medal is awarded annually to the best player in Australian Rugby League.
BERT BASKERVILLE was a postal clerk in Wellington. He played rugby for the Oriental club on was on the verge of provincial selection. His father had been killed in 1903 and Bert was the main bread winner for his family. His book "Modern Rugby Football: New Zealand Methods" was published in 1907 and was widely read.
LANCE TODD played for the Parnell club and the Auckland Provincial side but was never selected for the All Blacks. He was involved in organising the All Golds tour in 1907/08 and served on the Management Committee.
Todd excelled at the game of rugby league, playing in four Test matches and scoring eight tries. Along with five others, her chose to remain in Great Britain at the end of the tour.
Back home in New Zealand, the tourists organised an exhibition game at Athletic Park which was the first game of Rugby League ever played in New Zealand. This match was played on 13th June 1908 and 8000 people attended to watch "Bumper Wright's Blacks" defeat "Jum Turtill's Reds" 55–20. The match allowed the team to raise £300 for Bert Baskerville's family.
The tour was a massive success both financially (the tour made a £5641 profit and each player received almost £300) and on the field where New Zealand defeated both Great Britain and Australia 2–1. These exploits were not repeated for many years with New Zealand failing to win another series in Australia until 1952 and in Great Britain until 1971.
Other members of the touring party soon returned to Great Britain to join George Smith, Lance Todd, Duncan McGregor and Joseph Lavery who were all playing professionally in the Northern Union. Edgar Wrigley signed with Runcorn for £400 and guaranteed of employment as a plumber. Harold Rowe joined Leeds and Massa Johnston joined Lance Todd at Wigan. Jum Turtill joined St Helens and was soon joined by Arthur Kelly. William Trevarthen and Conrad Byrne joined Huddersfield.
In Great Britain, the tour massively boosted the credibility of the Northern Union and provided its first international test opponent.
In Australia, the tour helped establish the new code and helped offset the costs of the New South Wales Rugby League's expensive first season. It soon began to flourish and soon after, Australia sent their own touring team to Great Britain although they did not make as much of a profit as The All Golds.
In New Zealand, the new code did not successfully establish itself as quickly as it did in Australia. Bert Baskerville was the main organiser and his death was a massive blow to the players personally and the game in New Zealand. Baskerville was talking about arranging a tour of the United States of America before his death. Perhaps The All Golds were too successful because so many players signed professional contracts and there were fewer players available to help establish the game back home.
Daniel Fraser helped to organise some matches and, at Victoria Park on 24th August 1908, 8000 people watched Auckland, (captained by Dick Wynyard) defeat Wellington 16–14 in the first provincial match in New Zealand. The two sides met again in Petone on 12th September 1908 and drew 13-13. A New Zealand side toured Australia in 1909 and included six All Golds. In Auckland, Billy Tyler and Charlie Dunning helped form the Ponsonby Ponies club while William Mackrell was involved in establishing the Newton Rugby League club. The Auckland Rugby League competition started in 1910. The New Zealand Rugby League was formally established on 25th April 1910 in preparation for a Great Britain tour later that same year.
Joe Lavery stayed in England after the tour, fought in World War 1 and was wounded in action before returning to New Zealand.
HUBERT "JUM" TURTILL was nicknamed Jumbo as a child and this was shortened to Jum. He played Rugby Union for Christchurch Albion, Canterbury and South Island before becoming an All Black in 1905 against Australia. Turtill joined The All Golds tour in 1907/08 and was considered to be a fine player in wet conditions. He played six test matches and captained the side in the first test against Australia in 1908. After the tour, he returned to England with his wife and signed for St Helens where he also owned a pub, the "Lord Nelson Hotel." During World War 1, he served with the British Army and became a sergeant in the Royal Engineers. He was killed in France in 1918.
GEORGE SMITH was born in Auckland and became a successful jockey winning the 1894 New Zealand Cup, riding Impulse but had to abandon his racing career after putting on weight. He became an outstanding sprinter and hurdler, winning national championships, Australasian championships and the 1902 British AAA quarter-mile hurdles - the event in which he held an unofficial world record of 58.5s. Smith also played Rugby Union for the City Club, Auckland Province and New Zealand and was one of the stars of The Originals tour in 1905. He played in 19 games including the internationals against Scotland and Ireland and scored 19 tries. With Bert Baskerville, Smith played a leading part in organising the All Golds Rugby League tour in 1907/08 and he was elected Vice Captain. He later described the tour as the happiest one he had ever been associated with. After the tour, Smith remained in Britain and played professionally for Oldham until 1916. He later coached the team and died in Oldham in 1954.
Todd signed for Wigan and became an outstanding centre making 186 appearances for the club. In 1914, Todd transferred to Dewsbury for £450 which was a huge fee at the time, He left Dewsbury and served with the ANZACs during the First World War. In 1928, Todd became the team manager of Salford and subsequently achieved legendary status by turning a team close to folding into a hugely successful organisation. In 1933, he became the Rugby League commentator for BBC Radio. Todd died on 14th November 1942 in a motor accident while serving with the Salford section of the Home Guard. He is buried in Wigan (Ince) Cemetary
Charlie Dunning returned to New Zealand after the tour, fought in World War 1 and suffered a severe leg injury. He walked with the aid of a walking stick for the rest of his life
The RMS Ortona was refurbished as a cruise ship in 1910 and renamed the SS Arcadian. It was used as a troop carrier during the Gallipoli campaign and sank after being torpedoed on 15th April 1917