Vale Geoff Connell
2 October 1945 – 16 March 2013
Hard tackling second rower, Geoff Connell passed away last week aged 67. Born in Gundagai, Geoff moved to Longreach, Queensland with his family as a young boy. He represented the Maroons at under 17 level and soon after that, the family moved back to NSW, to live in the Balmain area. He made several Tigers junior representative teams and came into grade as an 18 year old in 1964.
The next year, he made his first grade debut, still only 19 years of age. In 1967 he moved back to Queensland to play withs Easts Brisbane for three seasons. During his time in Brisbane, Geoff played 12 matches for Queensland and on 8 July 1967, played his only Test. This was at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Australia, captained by Reg Gasnier, defeated New Zealand 13-9. Back in Sydney in 1970 he rejoined Balmain playing the next two seasons with them. When he moved to Canterbury for the 1972 season, Geoff had played 28 first grade games for the Tigers. After four years at Belmore he finished with 62 first grade games for the Bulldogs, including the 1974 Grand Final against the Roosters. Geoff captained Canterbury in 20 top grade matches. After retiring at the end of 1975, Geoff was the Bulldogs under 23 coach in 1976 and guided them to the Grand Final. He was the club’s reserve grade coach from 1977 to 1980. His team played in the 1979 Grand Final and won the 1980 Reserve Grade Grand Final against Parramatta. Geoff was a Life Member of the Bulldogs club and in 2004 he was nominated for the Berries to Bulldogs 70 Year Team of Champions.
The Men of League extend their deepest sympathies to Geoff’s wife Pam. He was a loved father and father-in-law to Paul and Nikki, along with Janine and Mark, while he was a devoted grandfather to Kari-Lee and Lachlan. Geoff’s funeral will be held on Monday 25 March in the North Chapel of the Forest Lawn Crematorium, Camden Valley Way, Leppington at 12 noon. No flowers by request. Donations to Dementia Research.
By Barry Ross