VALE – LEO NOSWORTHY
Born: 25 September 1927
Passed Away: 14 April 2021
Balmain legend Leo Nosworthy passed away on 14 April aged 93. He led a quality life for 93 years, living in the family home with wife Joyce until a few months ago when he went to a nursing home at Stockton.
A solid first grade player with the club, he guided the Tigers to the 1969 first grade Premiership. During his highly successful coaching career, he took the Tigers to the 1967 reserve grade title, coached Narromine to three Group 11 Premierships, coached Dubbo Macquarie to three Group 11 Premierships and of course had a Sydney first grade Premiership on his CV. Born in Balmain, Leo played with the Balmain Shamrocks club in the Balmain junior league and came into grade with the Tigers in 1948. His first grade game was with the Tigers third grade team and he scored two tries in the 23-5 win over Canterbury at the SCG on 10 April 1948. By mid-June he was playing reserve grade and he made his first-grade debut at North Sydney Oval on 3 July in the 11-5 win over the locals. In 1948, Leo played nine third grade games, five with the reserves and six in first grade. He scored a try in Balmain’s 13-12 win against St. George in the first-grade final at the SCG and also played strongly in the tight 8-5 loss to Wests in the 1948 first grade Grand Final. He continued in first grade with the Tigers in 1949 and 1950, before accepting a captain/coaching role with Narromine in western NSW. Back with Balmain in 1952, he captained the side in his last season as a player with the club. With the Tigers he played wing, centre, five eighth and lock in first grade and finished with 64 top grade games and 27 tries.
He returned to Narromine in 1953 and continued as captain/coach until 1958, winning Group 11 Premierships in 1953, 1955 and 1956. He moved to Dubbo Macquarie in 1959 and as captain/coach, took the club to three successive Premierships in 1959, 1960 and 1961. In 1959 Dubbo Macquarie also won the Clayton Cup as the best NSW country team. He remained with Macquarie in 1962 and returned to Balmain as third grade coach in 1963. Moving up a grade, he coached the reserves to the 1967 Premiership and was appointed first grade coach in 1969. In his first year with the firsts, Leo and the Tigers beat South Sydney 11-2 in what was to become a very much discussed Grand Final. The Tigers were accused of laying down continually throughout the match, but Leo strongly denied this. He did say he wanted his players to slow things down, but he was emphatic that his players were not given instructions to lay down at any time during the match. He coached the Tigers first grade team for five seasons and 116 matches.
During his time in country NSW, Leo played for Western Division against the touring Frenchmen in 1951 and 1955. On 30 May 1951 at Forbes, France won 26-24 and at Parkes on 20 July 1955, France were again successful, by 11-8.
Leo is survived by his wife Joyce and his four children, a son and three daughters. The couple have 15 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.