Have a look at this!

By Daniel Andruczyk

First up, A big thanks to Jovan Vujesovic for showing me this and allowing me to write something about it!

The Challenge Cup weekend and the RLEF AGM threw up a lot of things to consider and ponder. I got to meet members from all the European nations playing Rugby League, I got to sit in Club Wembley to watch the game and I also was able to go to the post game function and meet the players. I also held the actual Challenge Cup Trophy!

But all of this pales in comparison to something that I was shown on Thursday night by Jovan Vujosevic, who looks after the Eastern European countries for the Rugby League European federation (RLEF). A bit of Rugby League History, little known by many and almost forgotten by most. But this, my friends, this was just absolutely fantastic.

Let M Tell You a Story…

So as I finish dinner Thursday night, Jovan is sitting there with a huge grin on his face. ” Hey Druzik, come here, I want to show you something. Come here, come here”. I was like what is it. “Just come here you’ll be the only one here who will appreciate this.” So I went over and sat next down to Jovan. What he then proceeded to tell and show me just blew me out of the water.

He put his hands into his back pack and pulls out the ORIGINAL score sheet of a Croatian and Serbian club form the days when Yugoslavia were playing league in 1960!


He then pulls out a manual, put out by the Yugoslavian Sports Ministry on how to play Rugby League from THE YEAR 1955!!! Holy (insert a word I can’t repeat) I screamed out. Where the hell did you get this. This is absolutely amazing, a gold nugget in Rugby League, I said.





I was like, “Jovan this needs to get to the Rugby League museum in Huddersfield mate, as soon as possible!”

“Yeah, I know, I think I will. That is a good idea.” he says I asked him how he got this,?

“I got all this documents from the Budimir Tomanovic – Tamba – 80 year old Serbian Rugby League veteran. Budimir was captain and player of the Belgrade teams Radnicki and after Partizan. He was part of Serbian delegation in 1960 who was invited as guest at two games Italy vs Australia.” which leads on to…

Italy v Australia 1960 in Italy!

“But look at this Druzik, Look what else I have”. Jovan sticks his hand into the backpack once again and pulls out a little diamond! An ORIGINAL match program from when the Kangaroos played the Italians in Treviso on 24th Januarry 1960. My jaw just dropped to the ground. “Oh my GOD, Jovan what the hell?!” I said.





“Look, look at the names in the Australian Squad Druzik, look who’s there. Gasnier, its Gasnier’s Uncle” he said, “Hold on there are two immortals in here, Gasnier and Johnny Raper! “ I responded. This is amazing Jovan.

Australian Team
William Barnes, Darrel Chapman, Edmund Lumsden, Brian Carlson, Donald Parish, Ken Irvine, Reg Gasnier, Harry Wells, Ron Boden, John Ryley, Andrew Brown, Barry Muir, Robert Bugden, Tom Burke, John Raper, Brian Clay, Elton Rasmussen, Rex Mossop, Brian Clinton, James Patterson, William Wilson, Garry Parcell, William Delamare, Dudley Beattie, Noel KellyIan Walsh.

Did I Just Stir Up Controversy?

So Saturday night while watching the USARL Grand Final, Jovan pulled all of this out again to show Danny Kazandjian. I got to look at it a second time. Looking through the Italia – Australia program I said something that got everyone saying is controversial.

No we all know how much I have been harping on about the Germans having the world record with 4 brothers that played together in the same match: Jimmy (who played in the Challenge Cup for Leeds), Nick, Marcus and Kristian Keinhorst. But have a really close look at the Italian team list from 1960. See it?


There are 5 Giovanni’s in there! Bortolozzo, Cattaneo, Fiorin, Naddeo, Vigna. Now I have no idea if they are all related as brothers of cousins or what. But if any four of them are brothers, and they did actually play together in the match then they have the world record. There was a look of shock amongst all of us when we all saw this. What an amazing find!

More History

Since then Jovan has sent me some more information and pictures featuring Rugby League in the old Yugoslavia back in the 60s. Photos of Club games and also when French and Yugoslavian teams played against each other.

Dinamo - Zmaj ragbi 13

Dinamo ragbi 13 1

rugby league club partizan 1st June 1956

rugby league club partizan 4th june 1956 Avignon

rugby league club partizan 4th june 1956

rugby league club partizan 27th May1956

Some other information can be found here, though it is all in Serbian.


and about Serbian veterans:


Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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21 Responses to “Have a look at this!”

  1. deluded pom? says:

    Sorry to shoot you down dru but Giovanni is the first name of the Italian players? As is Luigi, Carlo, Gilberto etc. The team list has it down as last name followed by the first name. The Keinhorst’s are still the world record holders.

  2. dragons4eva says:

    Pretty amazing stuff! We hear about how these games were played and when you actually look at the physical evidence in front of you you find it hard to believe!

    As you said Dru it MUST become RL memorabilia!

    • druzik says:

      Yes, I do hope Jovan donates it to the Museum in Huddersfield.

      Iamgine if we could find some f the stuff from the Kangaroos v SA match or the French 50’s tours.

      • I hope Jovan keeps it here so we can display it in an eventual Serbian rugby league Hall of Fame – Stevo & chums can get copies 😉

        Great news by the way and Tamba’s a great guy. Young for his age, he actually came to Banja Luka on the bus with Red Star this summer, just to be part of our historic day.

        p.s. for those who don’t know but are interested, league was banned in Yugoslavia in 1964 after lobbying from the Croatian RFU to unite the then country under one form of rugby football; and, purportedly, league in Italy was hounded out by not being granted official status as a sport in the country, leaving the players unable to secure insurance. The sport has now returned to the two countries.

      • druzik says:

        A Serbian Rugby League Museum??? Is that even a possibility, this would be phenomenal!

        Thanks for the info on what happened to the Yugoslav RL. Interesting read.

  3. Johnoco says:

    Brilliant find. Just shows its not all bitterness when some people wonder ‘what might have been’ for RL.

  4. deluded pom? says:

    This stuff would sell for a small fortune on ebay.

  5. Joel M says:

    I would love to purchase the Italia vs Kangaroos program or make a donation to Serbian RL, it would be in safe hands!

  6. Joel M says:

    But yes it would be good to see it in some form of sport or rugby league museum

  7. deluded pom? says:

    The ideal scenario is someone buys it and then loans it indefiniteley to a dedicated RL museum. We get to keep the items where they should be and also raise some money for a deserving RL cause in the process.

  8. paulmac says:

    Amazing stuff.Its a shame the administrators didnt think of having a world cup in the late 50s-early 60s featuring Aus,NZ,England,Wales,France, Italy,Yugoslavia,USA,South Africa and Scotland.Who knows where international league could be today.

  9. DRCL says:

    The scoresheet is from the game between Partizan Belgrade and Jedinstvo Pancevo. The both teams are from Serbia. Partizan was one of rare Serbian clubs who switched codes. Jedinstvo was disbanded, but is re-established these days and already played their first game in the new century. The next weekend will see their second game against Red Star, another club that existed in 1950s and 60S. With Radnicki Belgrade, who was re-restablished early in the year, these are three clubs with new life breathed.

    No single Croatian club ever played single official rugby league game in the history, but who knows what will happen in the future.

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