Purely by accident, I have discovered that right now, there have been a combined 150 players who have captained the rugby union Wallabies and rugby league Kangaroos.
There have been 83 Wallaby captains and 68 Kangaroo captains, with Chris McKivat the only man to captain both the Wallabies (in 1908-09) and Kangaroos (in 1911-12).
The list of the 83 Wallaby captains is as follows:
|1. Frank ‘Banger’ Row||22. Tom ‘Ghost’ Lawton||43. Des Connor||64. Phil Kearns|
|2. Bob McCowan||23. Arthur ‘Johnnie’ Wallace||44. Charlie ‘Chilla’ Wilson||65. Rod McCall|
|3. Stan Wickham||24. Sydney Malcolm||45. Peter Fenwicke||66. John Eales|
|4. Frank Nicholson||25. Bob Loudon||46. Ken Catchpole||67. Tim Horan|
|5. Peter ‘Emu’ Burge||26. Jimmy Clark||47. Peter Johnson||68. David Wilson|
|6. Allen ‘Butch’ Oxlade||27. Denis ‘Dave’ Cowper||48. Jim Lenehan||69. Jason Little|
|7. Herbert ‘Paddy’ Moran||28. Alex Ross||49. John Thornett||70. George Gregan|
|8. Chris McKivat||29. Ron Walden||50. Greg Davis||71. Chris Whitaker|
|9. Syd Middleton||30. Cyril Towers||51. Peter Sullivan||72. Nathan Sharpe|
|10. Ward Prentice||31. Vay Wilson||52. John Hipwell||73. Phil Waugh|
|11. Ted Fahey||32. Bil McLean||53. Geoff Shaw||74. Stirling Mortlock|
|12. Larry Dwyer||33. Phil Hardcastle||54. Tony ‘Crazy’ Shaw||75. George Smith|
|13. Fred ‘Possum’ Wood||34. Trevor Allan||55. Mark Loane||76. Rocky Elsom|
|14. Jimmy Flynn||35. Nev ‘Notty’ Cottrell||56. Paul McLean||77. James Horwill|
|15. Bill Watson||36. Keith Winning||57. Mark Ella||78. Will Genia|
|16. Arthur ‘Wakka’ Walker||37. Col ‘Breeze’ Windon||58. Andy Slack||79. David Pocock|
|17. Darby Loudon||38. John Solomon||59. Steve Williams||80. Ben Mowen|
|18. Walter ‘Watty’ Friend||39. Nick Shehadie||60. Simon Poidevin||81. Steve Moore|
|19. Billy Sheehan||40. Alan Cameron||61. David Codey||82. Michael Hooper|
|20. Ted Thorn||41. Dick Tooth||62. Michael Lynagh||83. Dean Mumm|
|21. Charlie Fox||42. Bob Davidson||63. Nick Farr-Jones|
The list of 68 Kangaroo captains is as follows:
|1. Arthur Hennessy||18. Peter ‘Mick’ Madsen||35. Reg ‘Puff’ Gasnier||52. Bob ‘Bozo’ Fulton|
|2. Denis ‘Dinny’ Lutge||19. Dave Brown||36. Arthur Summons||53. George Peponis|
|3. Alex Burdon||20. Wally Prigg||37. Billy Wilson||54. Steve Rogers|
|4. Herb ‘Dally’ Messenger||21. Joe Jorgenson||38. Ian Walsh||55. Max Krilich|
|5. Larry O’Malley||22. Ron Bailey||39. Peter Gallagher||56. Wally Lewis|
|6. Bob Graves||23. Len Smith||40. Johnny Raper||57. Mal Meninga|
|7. Bill Heidke||24. Col Maxwell||41. Johnny Sattler||58. Laurie Daley|
|8. Chris McKivat||25. Wally O’Connell||42. Graeme Langlands||59. Brad Fittler|
|9. Sid Deane||26. Bill Tyquin||43. Phil Hawthorne||60. Paul Harragon|
|10. Arthur ‘Pony’ Halloway||27. Keith Froome||44. Ron Coote||61. Geoff Toovey|
|11. Albert ‘Rick’ Johnston||28. Clive Churchill||45. Billy Smith||62. Allan Langer|
|12. Herb Gilbert||29. Ken ‘Killer’ Kearney||46. Bob McCarthy||63. Gorden Tallis|
|13. Charles ‘Chook’ Fraser||30. Dick Poole||47.Tom Raudonikis||64. Andrew Johns|
|14. Jimmy Craig||31. Brian Davies||48. Arthur Beetson||65. Darren Lockyer|
|15. Tom Gorman||32. Brian Carlson||49. John Brass||66. Danny Buderus|
|16. Herb Steinohrt||33. Keith Barnes||50. Greg Veivers||67. Craig Gower|
|17. Frank McMillan||34. Barry Muir||51. Greg Pierce||68. Cameron Smith|
There are two players unlucky to not be on the list.
Edwin ‘Dooney’ Hayes captained the Wallabies on a trip to New Zealand in 1936. But due to injury, he only played three matches but no Tests. He would have come between Alex Ross (28) and Ron Walden (29).
Les Cubitt captained the Kangaroos to great Britain in 1921-22. But due to injury he only played four matches on the entire tour, and no Tests. He would have come between Herb Gilbert (12) and Charles ‘Chook’ Fraser (13).
Of the Wallaby captains, Darby and Bob Loudon are the only brothers to captain Australia in union. Bill and Paul McLean were uncle and nephew.
Geoff and Tony Shaw are unrelated. There are three Wilsons, Vay, Chilla and David, all unrelated, although all are Queenslanders.
The most capped Wallaby captains are:
1. George Gregan – 59
2. John Eales – 55
3. Nick Farr-Jones – 36
4. Stirling Mortlock – 29
5. Rocky Elsom – 24
6. Andy Slack – 19
The most capped Kangaroo captains are:
1. Darren Lockyer – 38
2. Clive Churchill – 27
3. Brad Fittler – 25
4. Wally Lewis – 24
4. Mal Meninga – 24
6. Cameron Smith – 21
Former Wallabies to also captain the Kangaroos are as follows:
Dinny Lutge, Alex Burdon, Dally Messenger, Chris McKivat, Herb Gilbert, Len Smith, Ken Kearney, Arthur Summons, Phil Hawthorne and John Brass.
There are two gross acts of betrayal against standing captains.
In 1948, Len Smith, who had been selected on the ill-fated Wallabies tour of 1939-40, captained the Kangaroos in two winning Tests against New Zealand. He was sensationally dumped from the 1948-49 Kangaroos touring team.
In 1957, Dick Tooth, a marvellously versatile player, led the Wallabies in two losing Tests against the All Blacks. He was also dumped from the 1957-58 Wallabies touring team.
The great Wally Lewis never played for the Wallabies, which is a crying shame. I would have loved to see him playing inside centre in between Mark Ella and Mick O’Connor.
But he did join those two players and a host of other outstanding players on the 1977-78 Australian Rugby Schoolboys tour of Europe and Japan.