Vale Greg Pierce

Vale Greg Pierce

Born 4 March 1950
Passed Away 24 June 2016

Greg Pierce was one of Rugby League’s most admired players during his 12 year playing career. Popular among his team-mates at all levels of the game, Greg was respected by the male fans for his ball skills and toughness, while the females were attracted by his good looks and personality. Among the females he was often favourably compared to Robert Redford, who was the American movie heart-throb of the 1970s.

Growing up in the Newtown area, Greg played junior league with the Marrickville, Sydenham and Belmore Old Boys clubs before the family moved to Gymea and he played with the local junior club.

He came into grade with Cronulla in 1968 and made his first grade debut at Penrith Park on 27 April 1969 in the loss to Penrith. His final and 210th first grade match was at Shark Park on 20 July 1980 in the loss to Parramatta. The previous round on Saturday 12 July 1980, the Cronulla captain scored the last of his 35 tries for the club, in the good 33-14 win over Balmain.

Representative honours first came to Greg in 1971 when he played for City Seconds against Country. He also represented City seconds in 1975, 1977 and 1980, while he played for City Firsts in 1976 and 1978. From 1976 to 1979, Greg played eight matches for NSW.

As a 23 year old he was selected for the 1973 Kangaroo Tour of England and France and during this tour at Perpignan on 9 December 1973, he made his Test debut in the 21-9 win over France. In this match, Greg became the first Cronulla man to play a Test match for Australia. Altogether, he played 24 matches for Australia, including eight Tests.

At the Sydney Cricket Ground on 24 June 1978, Greg received the highest honour in our game when he captained Australia to a 24-2 win over New Zealand. This was an excellent Australian side, containing Immortal and Team of the Century member, Bob Fulton, as well as five of Australia’s Greatest one hundred players. These five were Graham Eadie, Michael Cronin, Steve Rogers, Kerry Boustead and Ray Price. In this game, Greg became the first Cronulla player to captain Australia. He also toured with the 1978 Kangaroos to England and France, where in the match against Wales at Swansea, he broke his knee cap, which ended his tour after playing just four matches. As well as the two Kangaroo tours, Greg also represented his country in the 1975 and 1977 World Series.

A grandson of 1933 Kangaroo hooker, Arthur Folwell (2 Tests), Greg was a very versatile player appearing at lock, second row, centre and fullback for the Sharks, as well as lock and second row for Australia. He captained the Sharks in more than 100 games including the 1979 Amco Cup 22-5 win over Combined Brisbane at Leichhardt Oval on 15 August.

A fitness fanatic, Greg ran, swam and rode his bicycle up to a few months before his passing. Another one of his interests was cooking and dinner guests to his home were always in for a treat. For a 10 years or so, he worked in the Lord Howe Island administration, where he was second in charge.

Greg was only 66 when he passed away and is survived by his daughter Sally and son Drew.

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