The Sydney Cricket Ground Trust will preserve the names M.A. Noble, Bradman and Dally Messenger to the grandstand and scoreboard presently under construction at the northern end of the SCG.
The names Noble and Bradman will apply to approximately the same places as the names on the old stands, which were demolished last year to make way for the new development.
The scoreboard and video screen, built on the site of the former Dally Messenger Stand and now in operation, will carry the name of Messenger.
SCG Trust Chairman, Rodney Cavalier said the Trust resolved to retain the three previous names after lengthy consideration. “There was, at the end of a lot of thinking, no reason to replace three such grand names in Australian sport and the history of the SCG,” Mr Cavalier stated.
The NSW Minister for Sport, the Hon. Graham Annesley, endorsed the Trust’s decision. “The SCG is such an important part of the history of Sydney and NSW, I agree that its traditional associations should not readily be changed,” Mr Annesley said.
The names will be placed on the stand and scoreboard as they approach completion. The stand will be in operation for the Ashes cricket Test between Australia and England commencing 3 January next year.
STATEMENT BY SCG TRUST CHAIRMAN
The new stand, though one construction, will have an obvious point of separation. More so than the previous M.A.Noble and Bradman Stands which, though built 30 years apart, were indistinct.
Different names work better for spectators trying to locate seats and for ticketing. Facilities inside the stands will provide opportunities for new honouring. The Trust has been cautious and careful about conferring these honours.
The SCG and Allianz Stadium should be seen as integrated facilities in which the Walk of Honour and the Basil Sellers Sports Sculptures Project honour a large number of fine Australian sportsmen and women. Below are the reasons behind the individuals.
If anyone’s place faced disturbance it was Don Bradman. Don has been recognised with stands and representations in so many other places. The plenitude of recognition reflects the truth that the boy from Bowral now belongs to all of Australian and the world of cricket.
Don Bradman first came to the SCG for the Test in the Ashes series of 1920-21, saw a fine century by Charlie Macartney and resolved he would not be satisfied until he had played there himself.
During Country Week in the 1926-27 season, he slept in the dormitory at the back of the Members Pavilion. After more than 160 years of first class cricket at the SCG, Don Bradman still holds the record for the highest individual innings – 452 not out.
As a field of play, Don regarded the SCG as the finest in the world. Bradman played 52 Tests, scoring 6996 runs and averaged 99.94. He played 234 first class games, scoring 28,067 runs and averaged 95.14.
Monty Noble was an all-rounder worthy of his place in NSW and Australians sides as either batsman or bowler.
He was a captain of the highest rank, his authority accepted by his players. He was a selector, author of a cricket classic (The Game’s the Thing) and Chairman of the SCG Trust.
The Trust decided to name the new Northern Stand, built in 1936, after the Trustee who had driven construction of the new stand. The decision to rename the stand, the MA Noble Stand in 1947, was well received at the time. There is no cause to disturb that recognition.
Noble played 42 Tests scoring 1997 runs and averaged 30.25. He took 121 wickets at 25.00.
He played 248 first class games, scoring 13,975 runs at an average of 40.74. He took 625 first class wickets at 23.11.
Dally Messenger was the star of rugby union whose switch to the new code of rugby league in 1907 granted the new code a legitimacy otherwise beyond purchase.
Dally was a star in every facet of the game, its public face. He cuts a presence to this day. The highest player award in rugby league is named after him.
Messenger played Tests for Australia in Rugby League (seven) and Rugby Union (two). He also played three Rugby League Tests for New Zealand. He played Rugby League for NSW (six games) and Queensland (one). He played 12 times for the NSW Rugby Union team. He played Rugby League and Rugby Union for Eastern Suburbs.
United by Victor Trumper
The stands and scoreboard look south across the sacred soil to the stand named after Victor Trumper.
When Dally contemplated whether he would switch codes, he placed enormous importance on a presentation of what was involved delivered by a delegation of three from the rugby league.
One of those three was the league’s first Treasurer, Victor Trumper, the greatest cricketer of his age and a towering giant in Sydney sport. Contemporary accounts concur that the presence of Vic was decisive in swaying Mrs Messenger.
Monty Noble worshipped Victor Trumper. He regarded playing and touring with Vic as a highlight of his cricket career.
Vic died suddenly in 1915, age 37. A nation which did not lack cause for grief went into a mourning difficult for our sensibilities to comprehend. Being so close to Vic, Monty was at the edge of the grave as Vic’s body was lowered into it. In the realisation that this was final, Monty fell apart. He needed physical support to see him through his grief.
For Don Bradman, the legend of Victor Trumper was the standard against which he was measured throughout his emergence. The only comparison for Don’s formidable deeds was against the palpable memory of Vic. Statistics do not convey Vic’s mastery of his era.
Another reason was a spur: Don’s parents were both cricket fanatics. They named their first born after the greatest cricket of the age. Don’s older brother was Victor Bradman. If Don had been born first, our two greatest cricketers would both have borne the name of Victor.