Roy Masters (rugby league)

Last updated

Roy Masters
Personal information
Full nameRoydon John Masters
Born (1941-10-15) 15 October 1941 (age 79)
Newtown, New South Wales, Australia
Coaching information
197881 Wests Magpies 945623660
198287 St. George Dragons 1568686255
Source: RLP

Roy Masters AM (born 15 October 1941) is an Australian sports journalist and former rugby league football coach. He is a sports columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald . He was a school teacher with an interest in team psychology who enjoyed some success as a schoolboy coach before embarking on a professional coaching career in the NSWRFL Premiership.


Family and early life

Roy was the eldest of seven children to author and journalist Olga Masters and her school teacher husband. His siblings include current affairs journalist Chris Masters, Ian Masters, a Los Angeles radio show host, Quentin Masters, a London-based film producer, Sue Masters television Producer and Deb Masters. [1]


Masters had little experience as a professional rugby league footballer having played country football as a hooker of, "only average ability " [2] during his early teaching years at Tweed River High. He qualified as a teacher in 1963 and following posts at Tweed River and Armidale, Masters taught at Tamworth High School and coached their rugby league side to victory in the prestigious University Shield schoolboys competition. In 1972 he was selected as coach of the inaugural Australian Schoolboys representative side which featured such future stars as Ian Schubert, Craig Young, Les Boyd and Royce Ayliffe. The side toured Great Britain, going undefeated on the tour and scoring 108 tries in their 11 games to their opponents one. [1]

Masters' senior coaching career in the NSWRL commenced with a minor role with the Penrith Panthers in 1974 as one of five members of the coaching panel. At the time he was still a social science teacher at Doonside High School. [2] In 1976 he shifted to the Western Suburbs Magpies to coach their under 23s side when Don Parish was the head coach.

In 1978 he was appointed as head coach largely due to the support of senior players Tommy Raudonikis and Les Boyd. Masters re-built the Magpies, who had been in decline since suffering three successive grand final losses to St George from 1961 to 1963. He coached the Magpies to a minor premiership in 1978 and they played with consistent high quality during this period. Many acclaimed players blossomed under his tutelage, including Boyd, John Dorahy and John "Dallas" Donnelly; while the tough, uncompromising halfback Tommy Raudonikis led the side on-field.

Masters was a master of psychology, famously terming the Western Suburbs the "fibros" (a type of asbestos sheeting commonly used in houses in the area) in contrast to their rivals of the period the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, whom he described as the "silvertails". This reflected both the socio-economics of the respective Sydney suburbs and the financial situations of the clubs. He created this term after an fiery exhibition match between the two sides in Melbourne when Masters was happy to spread a false rumour that the Sea Eagles had stayed at a luxury resort while Wests had to make do with a two-star hotel. [1]

"I've been a battler all my life. I can communicate with a team like Wests. I form a close personal relationship with each of my players because I'm one of their kind." Masters said of his time at the club. [2] Masters left Western Suburbs when it emerged that the Magpies' affiliated leagues club at Ashfield would no longer be able to support the incomes of his key "fibros" players.

Masters moved on to St. George Dragons in 1982, reaching the Grand Final in 1985 but losing to Canterbury-Bankstown 7-6. Masters is regarded as one of the finest coaches to have never won a premiership because he was seemingly able to help financially struggling clubs to perform above their ability. He was awarded the Dally M coach of the year in 1985.

In September 2004 Masters was named as coach of the Western Suburbs Magpies team of the century.


Masters is a columnist at The Sydney Morning Herald , [3] and also appears on the ABC-TV sports panel show Offsiders . He was also a Rugby League Commentator for Channel Seven when the Seven network had the free to air TV rights for Australian Tests from 1990 to 1993.

Masters did not support Super League when it emerged in 1995 and is well known for his support for rugby league traditions. He is also respected for his analytical skill, and is highly regarded by current players, a rarity for a member of the media. [4] Masters also covers soccer, boxing and a variety of other sports, famously criticising American jingoism at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.

He is a strong supporter of John O'Neill, the Australian Rugby Union chief executive (and former Football Federation Australia CEO) who led the federation to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. However, Masters has criticised FFA chairman Frank Lowy in a series of articles detailing Australian soccer's financial problems, in spite of the Socceroos' success at the World Cup. He questioned whether Lowy, Australia's second richest man, would repay an Australian Sports Commission loan of over A$3 million, to help develop a national league. In a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, Lowy questioned Masters' journalistic credibility, saying among other things that Masters was a "Rugby League commentator". Masters then revealed that his great uncle James "Judy" Masters was a former captain of the Australian national team. [5]

In 2005 Masters gave the 7th annual Tom Brock Lecture. [6] He also made an appearance in the 2007 rugby league drama film The Final Winter . [7] In 2012 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for services to sport and journalism. [8]

Whilst continuing to write articles for The Sydney Morning Herald , in 2010 Masters released a book, Higher, Richer, Sleazier: How Drugs and Money Are Changing Sport Forever. [9]

In 2011, he was awarded Australian Sports Commission Media Award for Lifetime Achievement. [10]

Published sources

Related Research Articles

Sydney Roosters Rugby League club based in Sydney, Australia

The Sydney Roosters is an Australian professional rugby league football club based in the Eastern Suburbs (Sydney). The club competes in the National Rugby League (NRL) competition and is one of the oldest and most successful. The Roosters have won fifteen New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) and National Rugby League titles, and several other competitions. As a franchise, the Sydney Roosters have won 15 premierships, tying them with the St George Dragons. Only South Sydney Rabbitohs have won more premierships. The club holds the record for having the most wins and the second greatest margin of victory in a match in Australian rugby league history, and has won more minor premierships than any other club. The Roosters is one of only two clubs to finish runners-up in its inaugural season. The Eastern Suburbs DRLFC is the only club to have played in each and every season at the elite level, and since the 1970s has often been dubbed the "glamour club" of the league. Coached by Trent Robinson along with captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend, the Roosters play their home games at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Allan Langer

Allan Jeffrey "Alfie" Langer AM is an Australian former multi-award-winning rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s and worked as an assistant coach for the Australian national team and the Brisbane Broncos.

Western Suburbs Magpies

The Western Suburbs Magpies is an Australian rugby league football club based in the western suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales. Formed in 1908, Wests, as they are commonly referred to, were one of the nine foundation clubs of the first New South Wales Rugby League competition in Australia. The club, as a sole entity, departed the top-flight competition in 1999 after forming a 50–50 joint venture with Balmain Tigers to form the Wests Tigers. The club currently fields sides in the NSW State Cup, Ron Massey Cup (Opens), S.G. Ball Cup and Harold Matthews Cup competitions.

Robert Henry Stone was an Australian professional rugby league footballer and official. He played 281 games for the St. George Dragons including 170 games in first grade mainly at prop. Stone achieved representative honours including being a member of the first New South Wales State of Origin team. Stone later became the executive officer at St. George where his most notable achievement was having St George Illawarra Dragons return to Oki Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah from 2003.

Warren Boland

Warren James Boland is a former science teacher and professional footballer with the Western Suburbs Magpies & Balmain Tigers. He presented weekend radio shows called "Weekends with Warren" on ABC Local Radio stations across Queensland, Australia, broadcasting from the studios of 612 ABC Brisbane. Boland's radio broadcasts could be heard from 9am-midday on Saturdays and from 10am-midday on Sundays. Warren's contract at 612ABC was not renewed at the end of 2013 and he was replaced in the lineup.

Brett Hodgson

Brett Hodgson is an Australian professional rugby league coach who is the Head Coach of Hull FC in the Betfred Super League and a former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.

Tommy Raudonikis Australian rugby league footballer and coach

Tommy Raudonikis OAM is an Australian former rugby league footballer and coach. He played over 29 Tests and World Cup games as Australia representative halfback and captained his country in two Tests of the 1973 Kangaroo tour.

Kevin McGuinness is an Indigenous Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1990s, and 2000s. He played for Salford City Reds in the Super League, the Western Suburbs Magpies, Wests Tigers and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) competition. His position of choice is at centre.

Ross Conlon is an Australian former rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s. He played for the Western Suburbs Magpies, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Balmain Tigers in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership (NSWRL) as well as representative football for New South Wales and the Australia. He was a renowned goalkicker and described as "One of the fastest players in the game."

Vic Hey

Victor John Hey, also known by the nickname of "The Human Bullet", was an Australian rugby league national and state representative five-eighth and later a successful first-grade and national coach. His Australian club playing career commenced with the Western Suburbs Magpies, and concluded with the Parramatta Eels. In between he played for a number of clubs in the English first division. He is considered one of Australia's finest footballers of the 20th century

Arthur Summons Australian rugby league footballer

Arthur James Summons was an Australian representative rugby union and rugby league player, a dual-code rugby international fly-half or five-eighth. He captained the Australian national rugby league team in five undefeated test matches from 1962 until 1964 and later also coached the side.

Les Boyd is an Australian former rugby league footballer who played in the 1970s and 1980s. He played representative football for the Australian national side in international matches as well as the New South Wales side in the State of Origin. Boyd played club football in both Australia and England and his usual position was in the second-row.

Alfred Lewis "Smacker" Blair (1896–1944) was an Australian rugby league footballer and coach whose playing career ran from 1917 to 1930 with the South Sydney Rabbitohs. A skillful five-eighth he made a single appearance for the Australian national team in 1924.

John "Dallas" Donnelly was an Australian professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1970s and 1980s. An Australian Kangaroos and New South Wales Blues representative, he played for Western Suburbs between 1975 and 1984 in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership.

Graeme O'Grady is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer in the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) competition. He played for the Western Suburbs Magpies, Newtown Jets and St. George Dragons and one state representative appearance. O'Grady primarily played at lock.

Bill Keato Australian rugby league footballer and administrator

William Keato was an Australian rugby league footballer who played in the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership for Sydney' Western Suburbs from 1938 till 1950. A goal-kicking fullback he played over one hundred first grade games for the Magpies. He scored over 770 points to become Wests' all-time top point-scorer and goal-kicker. Roy Masters said of Keato, "A prodigious goalkicker, Keato booted what were called "flag waggers" from the sideline and halfway, often in the mud and against the wind, in the 1938-to-1950 era, when goals, rather than tries, decided games." He also said Keato, "won more matches for the Magpies than any other player."

Laurie Freier is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer and coach. He played in Sydney's NSWRFL Premiership for the Eastern Suburbs and Manly-Warringah clubs during the 1970s, later coaching Easts as well as the Western Suburbs Magpies during the 1980s. He is also the father of former rugby union international Adam Freier.

Pat O'Doherty is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s and 1990s for the Western Suburbs Magpies, Parramatta Eels and Gold Coast Seagulls.

Jack Fitzgerald was an Australian professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1940s and 1950s, and coached in the 1960s. He played for Western Suburbs as a winger and later coached the club from 1961 to 1964.

Bronko Djura is an Australian former rugby league footballer who played in the 1980s and 1990s. He played for South Sydney, St. George and Western Suburbs in the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) competition.


  1. 1 2 3 Apter The Coaches: The Men Who Changed Rugby League ISBN   9781743465660
  2. 1 2 3 Tony Stephens (24 June 1979). "The league coach who swears by the bard". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  3. "NSW kept at heel by sense of tradition - League - Sport". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 July 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  4. "Coaches fall into two categories: perfectionists and the pragmatists - League". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 July 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  5. "Let's be frank, code needs all the help it can get - Football - Sport". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 July 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  6. Tom Brock Lecture Archived 18 January 2011 at WebCite at the Australian Society for Sports History's website
  7. FitzSimons, Peter (20 October 2007). "The Fitz Files". The Sydney Morning Herald . Australia: Fairfax Media . Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  8. "Member (AM) in the Order of Australia" (PDF). Governor-General of Australia . Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  9. Masters, Roy (2010). Higher, Richer, Sleazier: How Drugs and Money Are Changing Sport Forever. Australia: Allen & Unwin. ISBN   9781459613195 . Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  10. "ASC Media Award Winners 2011". Australian Sports Commission at Pandora website. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)