Chris Skelton joined Canterbury in 1974 as a fullback and became a regular member of the Under 23s team, playing in the Grand Final against St George.
In 1975, Chris was a regular member of the reserve grade team and received the opportunity to play first grade late in the season against Balmain when Gary Dowling was injured.
At 2.55pm on Sunday August 24, 1975 at Belmore very few people in the record crowd of 24,239 had heard of Canterbury fullback Skelton.
At 4.45pm, he was the name on everybody’s lips.
His performance for Canterbury as Gary Dowling’s replacement had inspired his side to a one-point win over Balmain.
Chris was awarded Man of the Match for his two try effort.
Few if any youngsters have made a more dramatic or controversial debut to first grade. If Skelton had not played there might never have been any need for the play-offs.
Skelton’s debut went like this:
3.02pm - A high kick from Balmain centre Alan McMahon was directed at him. Balmain winger Merv Muggleton knocked Skelton over and the ball was snapped up by the Tigers’ attack. Les Mara flashed over for the first points of the match.
3.11pm – Skelton scores a try.
4.20pm – Skelton scores another try. He is stopped a metre short of the try-line but is on his back and rolls over the line to score.
Quite a day!
He also saved a certain try with a glorious covering tackle.