76 Charlie Savory was one tough rooster. He had a reputation for never taking a backward step in not one, but two, rugby codes.
Savory played the 15-man game for Ponsonby until 1910 when he was banned for two years. The rugged prop was accused of kicking another player.
The Grey Lynn driver switched to league with Ponsonby United, picking up where he left off. Impressed national selectors picked him for the New Zealand team which toured Australia in 1911 and he was one of four Kiwis who went to Britain with the 1911-12 Kangaroos.
Savory, one report said at the time, was the "coping stone that carried the weight of the scrum" and near the line would "smilingly emerge from a mass of wriggling players".
Despite a prominent league identity describing the happy-go-lucky forward as a "thorough gentleman on the football field" the burly forward seemed to draw trouble.
During a game against Newton in 1912, Savory was banished from the field and suspended for the season. Though he appealed, league bosses refused him a hearing. The incident cost him a place in another tour across the Tasman.
The following year, with the season just started, Savory was again in hot water. After a game at Onehunga between Ponsonby and Manukau, the feisty front-rower was cited for foul play.
Summoned to an inquiry by Auckland Rugby League, Savory was found guilty of kicking an opponent and banned for life.
The disenchanted footballer complained it was a case of mistaken identity. In what has become known in rugby league folklore as the "Savory affair", the New Zealand Rugby League stepped in and allowed an appeal.
Evidence from match officials and players saw the lifetime ban overturned after the injuries were deemed "accidental". The NZRL referred the case back to the Auckland body.
But Auckland administrators dug their toes in, and refused to reopen the matter.
Stung by this defiance, the NZRL suspended the Auckland office-holders. Savory, though still "disqualified for life" was picked by the national selectors to play for the Kiwis against New South Wales.
The administrative split deepened; the NZRL replaced the entire Auckland executive with hand-picked alternatives.
For his part Savory was unstoppable. He earned another Kiwi cap in August 1914 and took to the boxing ring where the rugged 89kg scrapper was crowned the New Zealand amateur heavyweight champion.
When war broke out Savory enlisted with the Auckland Infantry Regiment and sailed to Egypt with the main Expeditionary Force. Hungry for action, he helped organise two 15-man games against artillery men camped at Zeitoun near Cairo. The sides drew one game, Auckland winning the decider 6-3.
"Never in all its history had the Egyptian Railway ground seen such struggles," noted the regiment's official record.
In May 1915 Charlie Savory's war ended, his head blown off by a shell at Gallipoli. One report of his death said the 25-year-old lance corporal yelled "I'm going to fight for my country" as he charged the Ottoman ranks.
His gravestone is at Twelve Trees Copse Cemetery near Krithia on Gallipoli Peninsula.
To read the first 75 stories in this series go to tinyurl.com/nzhworldwarone.