Lewis, Sterling, Simmons Royce's Big Walk

Wally Lewis during the 1986 Kangaroo tour with Peter Sterling and Royce Simmons in the background.
Photo: NRL Images.

Rugby League Immortal Wally Lewis will join a strong Queensland contingent to support his former Kangaroos teammate Royce Simmons during the second week of Royce’s Big Walk from Gooloogong to Penrith.

‘The King’ of State of Origin will join fellow Maroons Gene Miles, Allan Langer, Trevor Gillmeister and Martin Lang will cross ‘enemy lines’ and join a host of sporting celebrities by walking alongside the Panthers legend and being special guests at fund-raising events for junior rugby league en route.

Lewis, Miles and Gillmeister will complete an array of speakers probably never seen before at the one event in the region when they join Great Britain all-time great James Graham, coaching guru Tim Sheens and former NRL premiership-winning props John Skandalis and Paul ‘Nobby’ Clarke at a sportsman’s dinner at Katoomba RSL on Wednesday, May 25.

Lewis was captain of the 1986 Kangaroos that were the second to go through Britain and France unbeaten and Simmons was his hooker in all five Tests on tour. Lewis still remembers how influential Simmons’ performance in the third Test at Central Park, Wigan, was with the little hooker scoring a try then providing the lead-up to Lewis’ game-clincher – both with dummies and scurries from dummy half.

“He was outstanding on that tour but what I remember most about Royce Simmons is just what a great person he is generally,” said Lewis.

“If you wanted to get rid of someone for a day, just send them out to find one person who doesn’t like or respect Royce Simmons because you’d know they’ll come back empty handed.

“He’s just a remarkable bloke and that’s why so many of us were shattered to hear the news about his dementia. There’s the comic side of him, which I got to know well on that tour, and the serious side which we are seeing now with how he is raising funds and awareness about dementia.

“The only time I ever disliked him was when he wore a Blues jersey – and even that was a bit hard.

“As a footballer he was one of those players that, when the going got tough, he never went missing while others might have floundered. And he’s showing all those attributes now.”

Nine of that successful 1986 Kangaroo tourists will take part in Royce’s Big Walk which kicks-off with a sportsman’s lunch at Canowindra Services Club this Sunday. They are Simmons, Lewis, Miles, Chris Mortimer, Steve Roach, Paul Sironen, Garry Jack, Terry Lamb and Paul Langmack.

Other events to be held during the walk include barefoot bowls and a Chinese meal at Gooloogong Country Club (Monday, May 16, 6pm) with Chris Mortimer and Greg Brentnall as guests; an open training session with Simmons, Farrar and Brad Fittler in Cowra next Tuesday followed by a sportsman’s dinner at Cowra Bowling Club that evening.

Next day Carcoar’s Paralympic champion Kurt Fearnley will return home to join Simmons, Lamb, Langmack and Luke Goodwin at the Central Stock Exchange (8.45am).

Other events include dinners at Blayney Community Centre on Friday, May 20 and the next night at Bathurst Panthers (special guests are Allan Langer, John Cartwright, Martin Lang and Barry Walker); Lithgow Workers (Tuesday, May 24 – Neil Paine, Chris Lawrence, Tim Sheens, Robbie Farah) and Katoomba RSL (Wednesday, May 25 – Tim Sheens, John Skandalis, Gene Miles, Wally Lewis, Paul ‘Nobby’ Clarke, James Graham, Trevor Gillmeister).

For details of all events and how to buy tickets go to: https://roycesbigwalk.com.au



Royce’s former Panthers teammate Lou Zivanovic was the mastermind of a phenomenally successful corporate launch of Royce’s walk, on Sydney Harbour last Saturday. Click below for full story:


Photo available for use on request via return email