An update on Tom Mooney
The many friends of Tom Mooney will be happy to learn that Tom is improving after 47 days in an Intensive Care Unit.
The former Manly Premiership winning winger contracted a Golden Staph infection after a knee operation at a Gold Coast hospital in early March. The infection entered his blood stream and this resulted in some major life threatening complications for the popular northern NSW publican. After almost seven weeks under constant supervision, he has been moved into a ward. His wife Cath, son Luke and daughter Hannah, along with his extended family, have been at Tom’s side throughout the ordeal. Visitors are limited to family and close friends at the moment but hopefully in the coming weeks, as he continues to return to full strength, visitor numbers will increase.
Born at Coffs Harbour in March 1951, Tom did well in junior football with Wauchope. He joined South Sydney in 1972 and in his first couple of seasons with the Rabbitohs, was a teacher at Lewisham and Kensington Public Schools.
In three years with Souths, he played 62 games and scored 29 tries. Ken Arthurson and Manly had been impressed by the young winger’s try scoring ability and offered him a contract to play with the Sea Eagles.
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He joined Manly in 1975 and in seven seasons finished with 83 tries from 162 matches. He was a member of Manly’s Grand Final winning teams of 1976 and 1978. In 1976, Manly were minor premiers and beat Parramatta 13-10 in the decider. Manly had to play six tough final series games in 25 days before taking the 1978 Premiership. They were beaten 17-12 by Cronulla in the preliminary major semi-final on 26 August and then, after playing a 13-all draw with Parramatta in the minor semi-final, they had to replay this game three days later. Three days after winning this replay 17-11, they defeated Western Suburbs 14-7 in the preliminary final and a week later, in the Grand Final, Tom scored Manly’s only try in the 11-all draw with Cronulla. Three days after this, on 19 September, Manly won the replay 16-0 to take the title. Tom played strongly in all six games and many fans believed he should have been selected in the 1978 Kangaroo touring team, which was named a few days after the Grand Final replay.
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During his time at Brookvale, Tom scored four tries in a match on two occasions. Both were at Brookvale Oval – the first in 1976 in the 27-14 win against Penrith and the second in 1978 in the 23-11 win over Canterbury.
He retired at the end of 1981 and altogether had played 224 first grade games, scoring 112 tries.
Soon after finishing his football career, Tom and his family moved to Ballina in north New South Wales, where they purchased the Railway Friendly Bar in Byron Bay. Tom and Cath have been very successful in the hotel business and after more than 35 years, are still working and loving living on the NSW Far North Coast.
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The Men of League Foundation and all of our members wish Tom our collective best wishes on his journey back to good health.
By Barry Ross