The North Sydney Bears are proud to announce that 1980’s fan favourite will be attending and signing copies of his biography at Bears Legends day on Sunday June 6, 2021 at North Sydney Oval.

Filipaina, who also played for the Balmain Tigers and Eastern Suburbs Roosters is famed for his brilliant play in his 29 tests for the New Zealand Kiwis including outplaying Wally Lewis in the 1985 Test Series.

In 1986, Olsen was signed to play for North Sydney and still has great affection for the club.

“I loved everything about playing with Norths and for me it seemed a much nicer place to play than other clubs in Sydney which were pretty cut throat,” said Filipaina.

“I made a lot of friends and have got lots of good memories of North Sydney Oval including helping a young Greg Florimo make his debut and having a laugh with fans after the game.”

“The Galloping Garbo”, as Filipaina is affectionately known, is Sydney’s longest serving garbage collector and still services the same run in Ryde that he started in 1980.

His biography ‘The Big O – The Life and Times of Olsen Filipaina’ has sold out the first run and the response has not surprised biographer Patrick Skene.

“The sales of the book surprised our publisher, but I see everywhere how much he is remembered and loved and it’s an honour to tell the real story behind a mythical Polynesian pioneer in our game,” says Skene.

When Filipaina first arrived in Sydney, there were less than 1% Pacific players in the NSWRL which has grown to 48% according to NRL official audit figures.

“Olsen’s first year at Norths under Brian ‘Chicka’ Norton was clearly his happiest alongside his Kiwi mates Clayton Friend and Mark Graham and writing the book I learnt a lot about the unique culture and character of Norths as a club.” Skene added.


Event: Olsen Filipaina book Signing

Venue: Inside North Sydney Oval

Date: Sunday June 6, 2021

Book Signing Starting Time: 1pm

Match: NSW Cup match between North Sydney Bears and Blacktown Workers starts at 1.30pm

Click here for more information.

Click here to visit The Big O Kiwi website


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