150 combined captains for the Wallabies and Kangaroos

sheek Roar Guru

By sheek, sheek is a Roar Guru

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    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.

    Enjoy!

    A former rugby lock, cricket no.11 bat and no.10 bowler, and surfboat rower. A fan of the major team sports in Australia.

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    The Crowd Says (52)

    • June 30th 2016 @ 10:58am
      Johnno said | June 30th 2016 @ 10:58am | ! Report

      Plenty of those rugby league back Kangaroos captain would of made the wallabies over the years, at least 1 or 2 tests.

    • June 30th 2016 @ 10:59am
      Ryan said | June 30th 2016 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      Sheek – they published it! You wrote this a few weeks didn’t you? Anyhow, this Kiwi enjoyed the read – thanks.

      • Roar Guru

        June 30th 2016 @ 11:08am
        sheek said | June 30th 2016 @ 11:08am | ! Report

        Thanks Guys.

        Yes, Ryan, I think it’s been sitting in The Roar drawer for two weeks. Thankfully there weren’t any new captains in the meantime!

        • Editor

          June 30th 2016 @ 3:25pm
          Patrick Effeney said | June 30th 2016 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

          Formatting killed us! Sorry Sheek.

          • Roar Guru

            June 30th 2016 @ 6:06pm
            sheek said | June 30th 2016 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

            That’s okay Pat – all forgiven!

    • Roar Guru

      June 30th 2016 @ 11:14am
      Diggercane said | June 30th 2016 @ 11:14am | ! Report

      Really interesting read thank you Sheek.

      I don’t think I could of named half of the Captains during my time (which is about Farr Jones on) Can I assume some of those names were given Captaincy during World Cup tournaments?

      • Roar Guru

        June 30th 2016 @ 12:49pm
        sheek said | June 30th 2016 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

        Diggercane,

        Actually only Little (qualifier 1998), Whitaker (pool) & Mumm (pool) had their only captaincy opportunity related to the world cup.

        Bizarrely, as the wheels fell off Alan Jones’ coaching incumbency in the latter half of 1987, the Wallabies had four different captains in their last four tests.

        Andy Slack, the normal captain, led the team in the RWC play-off for 3rd against Wales.

        David Codey then led the team against the ABs, after Slack had been dropped.

        Slack & Codey then went off to South Africa to arrange a rebel tour. The ARU banned both of them.

        Simon Poidevin, the world cup vice-captain, who had also been dropped for the ABs, led the team to Argentina & was captain in the 1st test.

        Michael Lynagh was captain in the 2nd test, when Poidevin was injured.

        Nick Farr-Jones actually became the 5th captain in as many tests, when new coach Bob Dwyer appointed Far-Jones as captain in 1988.

        • Roar Guru

          July 1st 2016 @ 7:39am
          Diggercane said | July 1st 2016 @ 7:39am | ! Report

          Thank you Sheek, very interesting indeed.

    • June 30th 2016 @ 11:42am
      David Sibley said | June 30th 2016 @ 11:42am | ! Report

      nice read, Sheek – do you know who from both the Wallabies and Kangaroos is the current oldest surviving captain?

      • Roar Guru

        June 30th 2016 @ 12:50pm
        sheek said | June 30th 2016 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

        David,

        Not with certainty. I would have to check it out.

        • Roar Guru

          June 30th 2016 @ 12:59pm
          sheek said | June 30th 2016 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

          David,

          A quick perusal suggests John Solomon & Dick Tooth, both born 1929, are the oldest surviving Wallaby captains.

          Keith Barnes (b. 1934) & Arthur Summons (b. 1935) are the oldest surviving Kangaroo captains.

          It’s possible I might have missed someone, but at this stage I think that’s it!

    • June 30th 2016 @ 12:03pm
      Jimmy said | June 30th 2016 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

      Nice read, thanks. I didn’t realise that Michael Lynagh (62) was a test captain before Nick Farr Jones (63). I had always thought that Noddy got the nod in Nick’s absence or after he retired.

      When was Michael Lynagh first made captain and was Nick Farr Jones also availabile at the time?

      • Roar Guru

        June 30th 2016 @ 12:51pm
        sheek said | June 30th 2016 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

        Jimmy,

        The answer is above in response to Diggercane.

    • June 30th 2016 @ 12:16pm
      Dave_S said | June 30th 2016 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

      Thanks sheek, very interesting.

      It shows the extraordinary stability the Wallabies had in the Farr-Jones / Eales / Gregan / Mortlock era, given that those interspersed between them captained only a relative handful of times. Contrast that with the number of recent WB captains.

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