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Herbert "Dally" Messenger

Centre

Player Bio

Inducted:
2008
Birthplace:
Balmain, NSW
Date of Birth:
12 April 1883
Nickname:
Dally
Debut Team:
New South Wales
Opposition:
New Zealand
Date:
17 August 1907
Venue:
Royal Agricultural Society Ground, Sydney
Representative:
New South Wales, Queensland, Australia, New Zealand
Club:
Eastern Suburbs

Career

Milestones
  • Premierships: 1911-13
  • Kangaroo Tour: 1908-09
  • Australian captain: Three Tests
  • Australian Rugby League Team of the Century: 2008
  • New South Wales Team of the Century: 2008
  • Rated No. 4 in Rugby League Week’s Top 100 players: 1992
  • Holds record for most points in an interstate match (32)
First Class Games
163
Points
1238
Tries
73

Biography

Herbert Henry ''Dally'' Messenger was known throughout rugby league as ''The Master''. He was the game's first true champion and helped to secure the future of the fledgling code when he signed on in August 1907.

Messenger toured England twice, the first time as the guest of the New Zealand Rugby League and the second as the star member of the First Kangaroos.

Such was his reputation that he guaranteed increased gate receipts when English crowds read placards proclaiming that ''Messenger will be playing''.

Messenger was close to 172cm and at his peak in rugby league played at around 76kg. Les Cubitt, Kangaroo captain in 1921–22, reckoned he was ''the equal of any two backs who ever played rugby league''.

In 1926, Tom McMahon, the game's first great referee in Sydney, explained that Messenger was a ''genius'' on the football field.

''There was nothing in the game that he could not do well,'' McMahon wrote. ''Catch, field, side-step, swerve, tackle and kick goals from beyond the halfway mark.''

He was the peerless goalkicker of his day and renowned for his unorthodoxy. He developed the skill of passing the ball over the heads of opponents and regathering, a move which was later outlawed.

He is known to have kicked towering goals from his own side of halfway and also to have kicked a field goal against Glebe while one leg was pinned by Glebe's captain Chris McKivat.

Messenger played a pivotal role in Eastern Suburbs' premiership trilogy in 1911–13, after which his club presented him with the Agricultural Shield.

“He is a true football genius, whose powers have been developed and ripened by the almost unique experience he has had."

J C Davis Editor, The Referee newspaper, July 1911

Career Stats

Club Career

Club
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Eastern Suburbs Premiership 1908 1913 48 20 159 - 381
Eastern Suburbs City Cup 1912 1913 2 - 4 - 8

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 10 43 - 116
New South Wales Touring Sides
1907
1910
1908
1913
19 11 71 - 176
New South Wales Newcastle 1910 1910 1 - 8 - 16
Queensland Touring Teams 1908 1908 1 1 3 - 9

International

International
Team Name Competition Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Australia Tests 1908 1910 7 4 16 - 44
Australia Internationals 1908 1908 1 1 4 - 11
Australia Tour matches 1908 1909 30 8 60 - 144
New Zealand Tests 1908 1908 4 2 5 - 16
New Zealand Tour matches 1907 1908 28 9 72 - 171

Other Representative

Other Representative
Team Name Opponent Year Start Year End Played Tries Goals Field Goals Points
Metropolis
1908
1910
1908
1912
8 5 38 - 91
Kangaroos
1909
1917
1910
1917
5 1 14 - 31
Australasia 1910 1910 2 1 7 - 17
Australian XIII 1912 1912 1 - 5 - 10

Hall Of Fame Members