John O'Neill (rugby league)

Last updated

John O'Neill
Personal information
Born(1943-05-09)9 May 1943
Griffith, New South Wales, Australia
Died9 August 1999(1999-08-09) (aged 56)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Playing information
Position Prop
Club
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
1965–71 South Sydney 128110033
1972–74 Manly-Warringah 513009
1975–76 South Sydney 230000
Total202140042
Representative
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
1967–71 New South Wales 50000
1970–71 City Firsts 20000
1970–75 Australia 102006
Coaching information
Club
YearsTeamGmsWDLW%
1977 South Sydney 22301914
Source: [1] [2] [3] [4]

John O'Neill (9 May 1943 – 9 August 1999) was an Australian representative rugby league prop whose club career was spent with South Sydney and Manly-Warringah during the 1960s and early 1970s. He made 2 Test appearances for the Australian national representative side; he represented in 7 World Cup matches in two World Cups and in one World Championship match and in 5 Kangaroo tour matches in 1973.

Contents

Early life and club career

Born in Griffith but reared in the northern town of Gunnedah, in his early twenties John O'Neill showed promise in appearances for Country against both City and the French tourists and was spotted by Sydney premiership talent scouts 1964.

O'Neill came to South Sydney in 1965 and his aggressive play in the scrums and charging runs close to the rucks caused him to be noticed. His toughness and solidity earned him the nickname "Lurch", and in his debut season O'Neill played for South Sydney in the Grand final against the champion St George team. A tall and strongly framed man, O'Neill was able to develop consistently as he built up his weight from 88 kilograms or 13 stone 12 pounds in 1965 to 104 kilograms or 16 stone 5 pounds by 1970. Between 1967 and 1971 he played in five grand finals for South Sydney, winning all but the 1969 contest against Balmain.

In 1971 the financial problems at South Sydney caused him along with teammate Ray Branighan to leave for Manly until the end of 1974. There O'Neill played in two more premiership sides, and his battle with Cronulla strongman Cliff Watson in the brutal 1973 grand final (won by Manly 10–7) is regarded as one of the toughest conflicts seen in the Australian game.

Representative career

O'Neill first played for New South Wales in 1967, and made his international debut in the 1970 World Cup. It was in this match that his remarkable strength in the toughest conflicts first showed itself. He continued to hit opponents in a way that would have been remarkable for anyone with a split shin, and refused to take first aid even when blood spilt into his sock! John O'Neill remained a regular international player until he retired, He is listed on the Australian Players Register as Kangaroo No. 449. [5]

In 1975, still a major force in representative rugby league, O'Neill returned to South Sydney. Paradoxically, though he was superb in representative games, he was disappointing in club rugby league and retired during the 1976 season. O'Neill coached South Sydney in 1977 but could win only one of the last eighteen games and he stood down.

During his playing days, O'Neill had developed a highly profitable building businesses along with Rabbitoh teammate Gary Stevens, which by 1977 would prevent him from devoting his attention fully to coaching. In the 1980s, he used the profits from this business to build a home at Lake Conjola. [6]

Death and accolades

In 1995, after being named in Australia's best rugby league team since the limited tackle rule was introduced, O'Neill was diagnosed with cancer. He fought a long battle, but died on 9 August 1999 at the age of 56. It is estimated that 4,000 people attended his funeral, showing the respect in which he was held.

In 1990, O'Neill was named in the front row for Manly in their best team from 1947–1990. Later in 2006 he was named in the front row for Manly's 60th anniversary Dream Team.

In 2004 he was named by Souths in their South Sydney Dream Team, [7] consisting of 17 players and a coach representing the club from 1908 through to 2004.In February 2008, O'Neill was named in the list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia. [8] [9]

Footnotes

  1. RL stats Archived 6 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. RLP
  3. Yesterdays Hero Archived 7 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Rugby League Project Coaches
  5. ARL Annual Report 2005, page 55
  6. Whitticker, Alan; Glory Days: the Story of South Sydney's Golden Era, p. 280 ISBN   9781742571386
  7. South Sydney Dream Team Archived 14 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine from the official South Sydney website.
  8. Peter Cassidy (23 February 2008). "Controversy reigns as NRL releases top 100 players". Macquarie National News. Archived from the original on 25 February 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
  9. "Centenary of Rugby League – The Players". NRL & ARL . 23 February 2008. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008.

Related Research Articles

Clive Churchill Australian rugby league footballer and coach

Clive Bernard Churchill AM was an Australian professional rugby league footballer and coach in the mid-20th century. An Australian international and New South Wales and Queensland interstate representative fullback, he played the majority of his club football with and later coached the South Sydney Rabbitohs. He won five premierships with the club as a player and three more as coach. Retiring as the most capped Australian Kangaroos player ever, Churchill is thus considered one of the game's greatest ever players and the prestigious Clive Churchill Medal for man-of-the-match in the NRL grand final bears his name. Churchill's attacking flair as a player is credited with having changed the role of the fullback.

Robert "Bob" Fulton AM is a former professional rugby league footballer, coach and commentator. Fulton played, coached, selected for and has commentated on the game with great success at the highest levels and has been named amongst Australia's greatest rugby league players of the 20th century. As a player Fulton won three premierships with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the 1970s, the last as captain. He represented for the Australian national side on thirty-five occasions, seven times as captain. He had a long coaching career at the first grade level, taking Manly to premiership victory in 1987 and 1996. He coached the Australian national team to thirty-nine Tests and World Cup games. He was a New South Wales State selector and a national selector. He is currently a radio commentator with 2GB. In 1985 he was selected as one of the initial four post-war "Immortals" of the Australian game and in 2008 he was named in Australia's team of the century.

Graham "Wombat" Eadie, is an Australian former rugby league footballer who played in the 1970s and 1980s. He has been named amongst Australia's finest of the 20th century. A New South Wales State of Origin and Australian international representative fullback, he played in Australia during Manly-Warringah's dominance of the NSWRFL competition during the 1970s. He won four premierships with them and his 1,917 points in first grade and 2,070 points in all grades were both records at the time of his retirement. Eadie also played in England for Halifax, winning the Challenge Cup Final of 1987 with them. He also won World Cups with Australia and collected awards such as the Rothmans Medal and Lance Todd Trophy.

Bob McCarthy Australian rugby league footballer and coach

Bob McCarthy MBE is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer and coach. He played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, New South Wales and for the Australian national side. He later coached in Brisbane, taking Souths Magpies to a premiership in 1981 and coaching the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants upon their entry to the Winfield Cup. Since 2001 he has been the Chairman of both the Australian and NSW state selection panels.

Tedda Courtney Australian rugby league footballer and coach

Ed "Tedda" Courtney (1885–1957) was a pioneer Australian rugby league footballer and coach. He played club football for North Sydney, Western Suburbs and representative football for the New South Wales state and Australian national sides. He is considered one of the nation's finest footballers of the 20th century.

Frank Burge Australian rugby league footballer and coach

Frank Burge was one of the greatest forwards in the history of rugby league in Australia. Later Burge became one of the game’s finest coaches. His club career was with Glebe and the St. George Dragons. He represented New South Wales on eighteen occasions and played thirteen test matches for the Kangaroos and played for Australia in a further twenty-three tour matches.

Arthur Halloway Australian rugby league footballer and coach

Arthur 'Pony' Halloway (1885–1961), was a pioneering Australian rugby league footballer and coach. Born in Sydney, New South Wales he played for the Glebe Dirty Reds (1908), Balmain Tigers and Eastern Suburbs (1912–1914), in the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership. He played for New South Wales in the very first rugby match run by the newly created 'New South Wales Rugby Football League' which had just split away from the established New South Wales Rugby Football Union.

Gene Miles is an Australian former rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s and 1990s. An Australian international and Queensland State of Origin representative centre, he played his club football in the Brisbane Rugby League premiership before joining the Brisbane Broncos in 1988 and later captained in 1990.

Edmund Lumsden was an Australian professional rugby league footballer. He was a wing with the St. George Dragons during their eleven-year premiership winning run from 1956 to 1966, playing in and winning nine grand finals. Lumsden is one of four brothers who all played for Country. Jack Lumsden played for Manly and Australia. Eddie Lumsden's twin, Richie, and his other brother, Ray, were both "bush footballers".

Norman "Sticks" Douglas Somerville Provan is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer and coach. A giant of a man, he was a second-row forward with the St. George Dragons during the first 10 of their 11-year consecutive premiership-winning run from 1956 to 1966. Named amongst the nation's finest footballers of the 20th century, he was a representative in the Australian national team from 1954 to 1960 earning 14 Test and 2 World Cup cups. In 2018, he was inducted as the 13th Immortal of Australian Rugby League.

Ian John Walsh was an Australian professional rugby league footballer and coach. He was a hooker with the St. George Dragons during their 11-year consecutive premiership winning run from 1956 to 1966. He was a representative for Australia and captained them in 10 Test matches from 1963 to 1966.

Ray Stehr Australian rugby league footballer and coach

Raymond Ernest Stehr was an Australian rugby league footballer, a state and national representative player whose club career was played at Sydney's Eastern Suburbs club. He has been named as one of the nation's finest footballers of the 20th century.

Joe Pearce Australian rugby league footballer and coach

Sid 'Joe' Pearce (1910–1995) was an Australian rugby league footballer who played in the 1930s and 1940s. An Australian international and New South Wales representative second-row forward, he played his club football for Eastern Suburbs with whom he won the NSWRFL Premiership in 1935, '36, 37 'and '40. Son of fellow Australian Rugby League Hall of Famer, Sandy Pearce, he is considered one of the nation's finest footballers of the 20th century.

Herb Steinohrt Australian rugby league footballer, coach and administrator

Herbert "Herb" Steinohrt was an Australian rugby league footballer who played in the 1920s and 1930s as a front row forward for the Australian national team. He played in 9 Tests between 1928 and 1932 as captain on 3 occasions. He has been widely regarded as one of the greatest forwards in rugby league history, being named in the "Queensland Rugby League's Team of the Century", Australian rugby league's 100 greatest players and Toowoomba and South West Team of the Century. Steinohrt was terrific on and off the field, he never lost his temper and was a smart tactician who never played the same game twice.

Jack Beaton Australian rugby league footballer

John Beaton was an Australian rugby league player, a national representative of the 1930s whose short but brilliant club career was played with Sydney's Eastern Suburbs club. He has been named amongst the nation's finest footballers of the 20th century.

George Treweek Australian rugby league footballer

George Treweek was an Australian rugby league footballer who played in the 1920s and 1930s. He was a towering second-row in his time, who formed an integral part of the champion South Sydney Rabbitohs teams of the 1920s and early 1930s. He is rated as one of the finest second-row forwards ever to play for Australia.

Frank McMillan Australian rugby league footballer and coach

Frank McMillan was an Australian rugby league footballer and coach. He was a full-back for the Australian national team and played in nine Tests between 1929 and 1934, two as captain. McMillan has since been named amongst the nation's finest players of the 20th century.

Roy Bull Australian rugby league footballer, coach and administrator

Roy Bull was an Australian rugby league footballer who played in the 1940s and 1950s and spent his whole career - as player, coach & administrator - with the Manly-Warringah club in Sydney. In addition to playing in three New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership grand finals, he was a representative for the New South Wales rugby league team and the Australian national side. He has since been named amongst the nation's finest footballers of the 20th century.

Herb Narvo Australian boxer, and rugby league footballer and coach

Hermann Olaf Narvo 'Herb' Narvo was an Australian rugby league footballer and boxer of the 1930s and 1940s. He was a national representative rugby league player and national heavyweight boxing champion. He has since been named amongst the nation's finest footballers and sportsman of the 20th century.

Brian Clinton Hambly was an Australian rugby league player, a representative forward for the Australia national team between 1959 and 1965. His club career was played with South Sydney and Parramatta. He was considered one of the Australia’s finest rugby league players of the twentieth century.