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Billy Cann

Lock

Player Bio

Inducted:
2008
Birthplace:
Sydney, NSW
Date of Birth:
11 October 1882
Nickname:
-
Debut Team:
New South Wales
Opposition:
New Zealand
Date:
17 August 1907
Venue:
Royal Agricultural Society Ground, Sydney
Representative:
New South Wales, Australia
Club:
South Sydney

Career

Milestones

  • Kangaroo Tours: 1908-09, 1911-12
  • Premierships: 1908-09, 1914
First Class Games
158
Points
261
Tries
73

Biography

Billy Cann first came into fame in Sydney rugby union as a three-quarter, a contemporary of Dally Messenger and Albert Rosenfeld. Like Rosenfeld, Cann was frustrated at being ignored by selectors, and turned to rugby league upon its formation in August 1907, playing in the NSW team against Baskerville's 'All Golds'.

Cann was one the finest all-round footballers to ever don a rugby league jersey — he could cover every position on the paddock from winger to second row.

At times, he played as a ''rover'', moving about the field seeking out opportunities and shoring-up his team's defences.

The program for NSW's tour of New Zealand in 1912 described him as ''fast and tricky in the loose, and a sound tackler (who) can fill with credit almost any position in the field''.

He quickly embraced the greater scope for forwards in the new game.

Relatively tall for his day, and around 80kg, it was Cann who introduced the now traditional Australian style of fast forward play, in which every forward is capable of combining with the backs to move the ball upfield.

Billy Cann toured Britain with three Kangaroo teams (the first two as a player), and later became a respected official of the NSWRL, still serving the code in the 1950s.

“He was the prototype of … the Australian style of imaginative lock forward play, providing a spectacular link with his backs.”

Tom Goodman Rugby League News

Career Stats

Club Career

Club
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
South Sydney Premiership 1908 1916 71 34 4 - 110
South Sydney City Cup
1914
1916
1914
1916
3 1 - - 3

Representative Career

State

State
Team Name Competition Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
New South Wales Interstate Series Queensland
1908
1910
1908
1912
6 8 9 - 42
New South Wales Touring Teams 1907 1913 19 7 - - 21
New South Wales Tour Matches 1912 1913 14 7 5 - 31

International

International
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Australia Tests
1908
1911
1914
1909
1912
1914
8 1 1 - 5
Australia Internationals 1908 1909 4 1 - - 3
Australia Tour matches
1908
1911
1909
1912
26 9 2 - 31

Other Representative

Other Representative
Team Name Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Kangaroos Versus Rest of NSW 1909 1909 2 2 - - 6
Kangaroos Wallabies 1909 1909 2 - - - -
Kangaroos England 1910 1910 1 2 - - 6
Australasia 1910 1910 1 - - - -
Kangaroos Metropolis 1912 1912 1 1 - - 3

Hall Of Fame Members