Vale Ian Walsh
20 March 1933 – 3 April 2013
Ian Walsh had a great Rugby League career. He played 25 Tests, captaining Australia in 10 of these matches. He was also captain/coach of his country, taking the 1965 team to New Zealand and then winning the 1966 Ashes series against Great Britain in Australia. In that same season, 1966, Ian captain/coached St. George to the Premiership, winning the Grand Final 23-4 over Balmain. Born at Bogan Gate west of Parkes, the tough hooker joined Condobolin as a teenager in 1950 and the following year, at 18, represented Western Division against the touring French side at Forbes on 30 May 1951.
Although France narrowly won this match 26-24, Ian had a strong game. In the next few seasons, he played with Parkes (1952-53), Forbes (1954-55) and then Eugowra from 1956 to 1961. While playing in the bush, Ian represented NSW Country Firsts in six matches from 1958 to 1961. In 1959, he was also selected for the first of his 24 games for NSW and was later chosen to tour with the 1959 Kangaroos to England and France. On this tour, at Swinton on 17 October, Ian made his Test debut in the 22-14 win over Great Britain. He played all six Tests on this tour, as well as playing 17 other tour games. Ian also toured England and France with the 1963 Australian team and toured New Zealand in 1961 and 1965. His first Test as captain was at Wembley Stadium in London on 16 October when Australia beat Great Britain 28-2. Ian captained Australia in all Tests against Britain on this historic tour, when they brought the Ashes home. Ian’s final Test was at the SCG on 23 July 1966, when Australia won the series with 19-14 victory over Britain. Including his 25 Tests, Ian played 64 matches for Australia. He also played four games with City Firsts against Country in 1962, 1963, 1965 and 1966, plus four games for Sydney against international touring teams.
In 1962 he joined St. George and in six successive seasons at Kogarah, played 96 first grade games, including four winning Grand Finals. Ian retired after the 1967 Final when Canterbury won 12-11. He coached Parramatta to the 1971 semi finals and also worked as a Rugby League columnist for more than 20 years with the Daily Telegraph.
Ian had been living back near his home town for the past few years and passed away in a Forbes nursing home.
By Barry Ross