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Marist lost two of its best players in 1953, A.J. Crooks, not only a great Marist player but also a Southland captain and Pat Griffin, also a Southland player. Both have said that they have business committments that they need to give more attention to.
Bert Crook's career reached a pinnacle that year when he was selected for the New Zealand trials. He is a very heavy nuggety person, but his stature and skill is not the only thing that makes him one of Marist's best players, but his rugby mind and attitude to the game. He obviously has a love of rugby and this shows in the way he plays. Although usually a prop he sometimes had to look at moving into hooker and always done this with the best he could give. He hooked against some of the best in the country and had recently marked R. C. Hemi of Waikato, and outhooked him, who is a certainty for the 1953 All Blacks.
Crook's was a great disciplinarian and his hard training and dedication to the game will be missed by the club in a way which will be hard to replace.
Pat Griffin although light in stature for a full back was a relentless tackler who was afraid of no-one. Griffin won his Southland cap 1952 and again that year in 1953 so it was at the height of his career that he has given away his rugby to pursue business interests.
One memory that Pat Griffin will have forever is the compliment from Bob Scott, New Zealand fullback who played against Griffin against Auckland and said that Griffin had scored a marvellous try and outplayed him with a fine display of a great full-back.
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