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Clive Churchill

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Player Bio

Honoured:
1981
Birthplace:
Newcastle, NSW
Date of Birth:
21 January 1927
Nickname:
Little Master
Debut Team:
Country Seconds
Opposition:
City Seconds
Date:
08 May 1947
Venue:
Sydney Cricket Ground, NSW
Representative:
Country, City, Sydney, Brisbane, New South Wales, Queensland, Australia
Clubs:
Central Newcastle, South Sydney, Norths Brisbane

Career

Milestones
  • Premierships: 1950-51, 1953, 1955
  • Kangaroo Tour captain: 1952-53
  • Kangaroo Tours: 1948-49, 1952-53, 1956-57
  • Australian captain: 27 Tests
  • NSWRL Player of the Year: 1950-51, 1953
  • Sun-Herald Best and Fairest: 1952
  • Grand Final man of the match*: 1954
  • Immortal: 1981
  • Australian Rugby League Team of the Century: 2008
  • New South Wales Team of the Century: 2008
  • NSW Country Team of the Century: 2008
  • Rated No. 1 in Rugby League Week’s Top 100 players: 1992
  • Named in NRL Team of the 1950s: 2007
First Class Games
317
Points
478
Tries
31

Biography

Clive Churchill's size, 168cm and 76kg, gave hope to all males of smaller stature who dreamed of playing rugby league. "I have never seen a greater player than Clive Churchill'', said long-time ARL chairman Bill Buckley. ''Churchill is the greatest'', reckoned Dally Messenger.

''He set the standard by which all the famous rugby league players of his era, and since, will be assessed,'' wrote renowned league writer Tom Goodman.

''I never saw Dally Messenger ('The Master') play,'' said Ray Stehr. ''But I have seen the Little Master.''

With Souths, NSW and Australia, he performed magnificent deeds. He played 157 club games, 37 times for NSW, an incredible 91 times for Australia (including 34 Tests and three World Cup games) — 298 games in all.

He then went on to coach South Sydney to four premierships in five years (1967, 1968, 1970 and 1971).

In 1981, when Churchill was named one of Rugby League Week's four ''Immortals'', it was yet another nod to his greatness.

Photographs and film exist as a reminder of what a quick-footed, relentless player he was, jersey sleeves always rolled up, setting up raids from the back, revolutionising fullback play for all who were to follow, felling opponents of all sizes with his brilliant low tackling.

In rugby league's world, Clive Churchill did it all, taking over the captaincy of his country in 1950 and promptly leading Australia to the first Ashes win in 30 years, and winning five premierships with Souths from that memorable season to 1955.

“He set the standards by which all the famous Australian Rugby League players of his era, and since, will be assessed.”

Tom Goodman Sydney Morning Herald journalist

Career Stats

Club Career

Club
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Central Newcastle Newcastle Rugby League 1946 1947 - - - - -
South Sydney Premiership 1947 1958 157 13 77 - 93
Northern Suburbs Brisbane Brisbane Club Competition 1959 1959 13 3 29 - 67
Moree Group 5 Competition 1961 1961 - - - - -

Representative Career

City - Country

City - Country
Team Name Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Country Seconds City Seconds 1947 1947 1 - 4 - 8
City Seconds Country Seconds 1948 1948 1 - - - -
City Firsts Country Firsts 1948 1955 8 2 4 - 14
Sydney Touring Sides 1951 1954 3 - 7 - 14

Intercity

Intercity
Team Name Competition Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Brisbane 1959 1959 4 2 - 1 7
Brisbane Touring Sides 1959 1959 1 - 1 - 2

State

State
Team Name Competition Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
New South Wales Interstate Series Queensland 1948 1957 27 4 18 - 48
New South Wales Touring Sides 1950 1955 10 1 13 - 29
Queensland Touring Sides 1959 1959 1 - - - -

International

International
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Australia Tests and World Cup 1948 1957 37 - 10 - 20
Australia Tour Matches 1948 1957 54 6 39 - 96

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