Vale – Harold ‘Mick’ Crocker

Vale – Harold ‘Mick’ Crocker        

Born, 14 December 1927 – Passed Away, 11 December 2014

Harold Crocker player a major role in one of Australia’s most historic Rugby League events. He set up the try, scored by Ron Roberts,  that won the 1950 series against Great Britain, giving Australia the Ashes for the first time in 30 years.  In a 1986 survey, Rugby League Week named the Roberts try as the greatest moment in Australian Rugby League history.

Born in Brisbane, Harold was known as Mick from his early teenage years. Growing up in West End, he began playing under 15 football with Souths Brisbane and came into grade with them around 1946. A clever all round lock forward, Mick made his first grade debut in 1948 and played six successive seasons with Souths first grade side. He moved south to Parramatta for two seasons in 1954 (24 first grade games), then signed with Winton for three years in 1956, before finishing his playing career after one final season back with Souths Brisbane in 1959. While with Souths, he was a member of three Brisbane first grade Premiership winning teams in 1949, 1951 and 1953.

Mick played the first of his 19 matches for Queensland in 1949, when he was selected for the strenuous four match southern tour, which involved two clashes with NSW in Sydney, a game against NSW Country in Wollongong and a match against Newcastle at Newcastle. He also played in the winning Brisbane Bullimba Cup team of 1950. The next year Mick starred for Queensland in all three games against NSW, as well as the excellent 15-14 over Great Britain in Brisbane on 17 June 1950. As a result of his strong game for Queensland against the tourists, Mick was selected to make his Test debut.

Britain had won the first Test 6-4 in Sydney on Monday 12 June  and the Aussies needed to win the second Test at the Brisbane Cricket Ground on 1 July to keep the series alive. Mick had an excellent game in the 15-3 win and so was selected for the vital third Test at the SCG on 22 July. Played on a mudbath, Australia took the Ashes with their tight 5-2 victory. Racing into dummy half, Mick started the move that resulted in St. George winger, Ron Roberts scoring in the corner with 14 minutes to play. Mick went on to play a total of 17 Tests, with his final one being against France at the SCG on 23 July 1955. He toured with the 1952 Kangaroos to England and France, playing 17 matches including two Tests.

He also visited New Zealand with the 1953 Australians, where he played five games including all three Tests. In 1954, Mick was a member of the Australian team which went to France to play in the first ever World Cup, where he played in two of the three games. He scored three tries in his 17 Tests and altogether played 34 games for his country.

While with Parramatta, Mick played three games for NSW, one in 1954 and two in 1955, as well as one match for City Firsts against Country Firsts in 1955. In 1953, when the American All Stars toured Australia, Mick, along with fellow Australian Test players and Queensland representatives, Ken McCaffery, Alex Watson and Des Flannery, were included in the American team which met NSW at the SCG on 25 July 1953. The Americans had a poor record in Australia, winning only three of their 16 games to that stage. The Queenslanders did improve things as NSW won 27-18, after winning the first clash 62-41 two months before.

As a child Mick suffered from Bergers disease, which is a kidney complaint. He showed a lot of courage to overcome this and go on to become an international footballer.

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