Ron Willey

Last updated

Ron Willey
Ron Willey.jpg
Personal information
Full nameRonald William Willey
Born(1929-11-20)20 November 1929
Canterbury, New South Wales, Australia
Died24 September 2004(2004-09-24) (aged 74)
Playing information
Position Fullback, Centre
Club
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
1948–53 Canterbury-Bankstown 7051360287
1956–62 Manly-Warringah 124204472958
1963–64 Parramatta 7120043
Total2012660321288
Representative
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
1955 Queensland 1010020
1956 NSW City Firsts 107014
1956 New South Wales 3012024
1952–53 Australia 00000
Coaching information
Club
YearsTeamGmsWDLW%
1962 Manly-Warringah 18711039
197074 Manly-Warringah 1329533472
197779 Balmain 703643051
198082 North Sydney 743124142
198385 South Sydney 833914347
198889 Penrith 493101863
198990 Bradford Northern
Total4262391117656
Representative
YearsTeamGmsWDLW%
198687 NSW City 2200100
198687 New South Wales 750271
Source: [1]

Ronald William Willey (1929−2004) was an Australian rugby league footballer and coach. He was a representative for the Australian national side. Post-playing, Willey had a long and successful first grade and State representative coaching career.

Contents

Playing career

Born in Canterbury, New South Wales in 1929, Willey was graded by the Canterbury-Bankstown Berries in 1948 as a Centre, but was soon shifted to Fullback, and was the Berries regular first-grade fullback and goal-kicker from 1949 to 1953. In 1951, he was appointed captain for four games at the age of 21. Willey held the record as the youngest Canterbury captain until Braith Anasta in 2002. He became the first Canterbury local international when he was selected on the 1952–53 Kangaroo tour, and was the Berries’ standout player in a dark era for the club. [2]

Willey missed most of 1953 and the entire 1954 season through a serious knee injury, but returned to the game as captain-coach of Rockhampton and represented Queensland that season.

He joined Manly-Warringah in 1956 and played a total of 124 games over seven seasons for the club including their unsuccessful 1957 and 1959 Grand Final appearances. In 1956, Willey played two games for New South Wales, but although a player of immense talent, Willey played in an era where Clive Churchill was the incumbent representative fullback, denying Willey many selection opportunities. In his last season as a player at Manly in 1962, Willey was captain-coach. He held the record for the most points scored at Manly until overtaken by Graeme Eadie in the 1970s, and during 1962 he overtook Bernie Purcell's record for the most points scored in an NSWRFL career (1,152); Willey's eventual total of 1,288 stood as the new career record for four seasons until it was bettered by Keith Barnes in 1966.

Willey joined the Parramatta Eels in 1963 but only played seven games before retiring in 1964.

Coaching career

Club coach

Willey returned to Manly in 1970 for a successful five season tenure as a non-playing coach. During this time he guided them to their first New South Wales Rugby League premiership in 1972 and repeated that premiership success in 1973. In this, his second coaching stint at Manly he enjoyed an extraordinary 74% win rate.

Later Willey coached Balmain from 1977 to 1979, North Sydney from 1980 to 1982 and Souths from 1983 to 1985 but was unable to repeat premiership success. His last head coaching role in Australia was with Penrith where he coached the club a fifth-place playoff in 1988 where they lost to Balmain. In his final season at Penrith, Willey guided the club to a second placed finish but the Panthers were knocked out in straight sets by eventual grand finalists Balmain and Canberra. [3]

Willey coached English side Bradford Northern for a short stint and led them to the Premiership final and success in the Yorkshire Cup in 1989–90.

Willey coached for a total of 17 seasons and 403 matches.

Representative coach

Willey also coached New South Wales to the first ever clean sweep of a State of Origin series against Queensland in 1986.

Personal life

Willey's grandson is professional rugby league footballer Anthony Don, a fullback/winger who plays for the Gold Coast Titans. [4]

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References

  1. http://www.rugbyleagueproject.org/players/ron-willey/summary.html
  2. See Lester, Gary; From Berries to Bulldogs: Fifty Years of the Canterbury-Bankstown R.L.F.C.; pp. 47-60 ISBN   9780949853066
  3. "Former Penrith Panthers players Mark Geyer and Darryl Brohman pay tribute to former NSW coach Graham Murray". www.dailytelegraph.com.au.
  4. Travis Meyn (13 April 2013). "Gold Coast Debutant Anthony Don Brings A Top Rugby League Pedigree to the Game". The Courier Mail. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Bernie Purcell (1959)
Record-holder
Most points in an NSWRFL career [1]

1962 (1,155) - 1966 (1,288)
Succeeded by
Keith Barnes (1966)
Preceded by
David Hobbs
1989
Coach
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Northern

1989–1990
Succeeded by
David Hobbs
1990-1993
Preceded by
Tim Sheens
1984–1987
Coach
Penrith Panthers square flag icon with 2017 colours.svg
Penrith Panthers

1988–1989
Succeeded by
Phil Gould
1990–1994
Preceded by
Terry Fearnley
1985
Coach
New South Wales colours.svg
NSW State of Origin

1986–1987
Succeeded by
John Peard
1988
Preceded by
Bill Anderson
1980–1982
Coach
South Sydney colours.svg
South Sydney Rabbitohs

1983–1985
Succeeded by
George Piggins
1986–1988
Preceded by
Tommy Bishop
1979
Coach
North Sydney colours.svg
North Sydney Bears

1980–1982
Succeeded by
John Hayes
1983–1984
Preceded by
Paul Broughton
1975-1976
Coach
Balmain colours.svg
Balmain Tigers

1977–1979
Succeeded by
Dennis Tutty
1980
Preceded by
George Hunter
1968–1969
Coach
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

1970–1974
Succeeded by
Frank Stanton
1975–1979
Preceded by
Ken Arthurson
1957–1961
Coach
Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

1962
Succeeded by
Tony Paskins
1963
  1. Heads, Ian and Middleton, David (2008) A Centenary of Rugby League, MacMillan Sydney