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Inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Charles Edward (Bronco) Seeling (1883-1956) was a Whanganui-born member of the 1905-06 “Originals” All Blacks side and was regarded as the best loose forward in world rugby at the time and later in rugby league when he switched codes.
Seeling played for Wanganui Pirates and for Whanganui in 1903 before moving to Auckland.
Between 1904 and 1908 he played 39 matches for New Zealand which included 11 tests. Twenty-five of these matches and four of the tests were on the “Originals” tour. Seeling, who was renowned and feared for his famous dive tackles, became a key member of the victorious Auckland Ranfurly Shield side between 1904 and 1909.
He was first spotted by league scouts on the tour of Britain and subsequently signed for Wigan in early 1910, playing 13 seasons with the club including three as captain. Although he started as a back in league, he soon made his name, as with the All Blacks, as an outstanding forward. Seeling played more than 200 games for Wigan, including three successive English rugby league finals (1910-12) plus the 1911 Challenge Cup final. Regarded as one of the club’s immortal players, the name of Charlie Seeling is one of only six chiselled in stone as you enter the club’s field at Central Park.
‘Bronco’ Seeling always regarded Whanganui as his home and in 1956 was planning a trip back to New Zealand when he was unfortunately killed in a car crash. He was 73 years old.
Noted British rugby writer, E.H.D. Sewell, wrote of Seeling when at the height of his playing career, “Search where one may, a better forward than Seeling does not exist”.