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Brian Clay

Five-eighth, Lock

Player Bio

Inducted:
2008
Birthplace:
Newtown, NSW
Date of Birth:
18 April 1934
Nickname:
Poppa
Debut Team:
Newtown
Opposition:
Parramatta
Date:
22 August 1953
Venue:
Erskineville Oval, Sydney
Representative:
Country, City, New South Wales, Australia
Clubs:
Newtown, Griffith, St George

Career

Milestones
  • Premierships: 1957-61, 1964-66
  • Grand Final man of the match*: 1961
  • Kangaroo Tour: 1959-60
  • Rated No. 68 in Rugby League Week’s Top 100 players: 1992
First Class Games
288
Points
170
Tries
56

Biography

Brian ''Poppa'' Clay was a wrecking ball at five-eighth, squat and powerful and a killer in defence. In many ways, Clay was the ''glue'' that held St George together so reliably through the Saints' greatest era — between powerful forwards and a gifted three-quarter line he was both the linkman and an immovable object.

He played in eight of the grand finals in Saints' 11-year run, missing only when broken arms beat him in 1962 and 1963.

Like Johnny Raper, he was a Newtown player who got away, wearing the royal blue jumper between 1953 and 1955 (appearing in two losing grand-final sides), straying to country club Griffith in 1956, and then Saints in 1957.

Hooker Ian Walsh was to declare in later years: ''Wally Lewis wouldn't have held a candle to Brian Clay.''

He was a centre and lock at Newtown, but an injury to Greg Hawick in the opening match of the 1957 World Cup (in which Clay played lock) saw him switched to five-eighth for the rest of the tournament. At St George, he made the five-eighth position his own.

Clay's Australian career was limited to that World Cup and the 1959–60 Kangaroo tour, when he played in all three Ashes Tests and two Tests in France and received rave reviews from English critics. His club career ended in 1967, by which time he had played 183 games for the Saints.

“Wally Lewis wouldn’t have held a candle to Brian Clay.”

Ian Walsh Former St George hooker

Career Stats

Club Career

Club
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Newtown Bluebags Premiership 1953 1955 30 11 - - 33
Griffith Group 20 Competition 1956 1956 - - - - -
St George Dragons Premiership 1957 1967 183 33 - - 99
St George Dragons Official Pre-Season 1962 1967 26 1 - - 3
St George Dragons Touring Sides 1962 1962 1 - - - -
St George Dragons Ampol Cup 1963 1963 1 - - - -
St George Dragons State Cup 1964 1965 4 - - - -

Representative Career

City - Country

City - Country
Team Name Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Country Firsts City Firsts 1956 1956 1 - - - -
City Firsts Country Firsts
1957
1961
1959
1961
4 2 - - 6
City Seconds Country Seconds
1960
1962
1960
1962
2 - - - -

State

State
Team Name Competition Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
New South Wales Interstate Series Queensland 1957 1959 7 3 - - 9
New South Wales Touring Sides
1959
1962
1959
1962
2 - - - -

International

International
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Australia Tests and World Cup
1957
1959
1957
1960
8 1 - - 3
Australia Tour Matches 1959 1960 16 4 1 - 14
Australia Rest of the World 1957 1957 1 - - - -

Other Representative

Other Representative
Team Name Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Riverina Maoris 1956 1956 1 - - - -
Southern NSW New Zealand 1956 1956 1 1 - - 3

Hall Of Fame Members