Brian Hambly

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Brian Hambly
Personal information
Full name Brian Clinton Hambly
Nickname Grumpy
Born 31 October 1937
Died 30 August 2008
Drummoyne, New South Wales, Australia
Playing information
Position Prop, Second-row
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1956–58 South Sydney 33 7 0 0 21
1959–60 Wagga Magpies
1961–67 Parramatta Eels 105 6 46 110 110
1968 Lithgow Workers
Total 138 13 46 110 131
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1959–64 New South Wales 11 1 0 0 3
1959–65 Australia 18 2 2 0 10
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1967 Parramatta Eels 22 8 0 14 36
1968 Lithgow Workers
Total 22 8 0 14 36
Source: NRL Stats

Brian Clinton Hambly (31 October 1937 – 30 August 2008[1]) was an Australian rugby league player, a representative forward for the Australia national team between 1959 and 1965. His club career was played with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Parramatta Eels. He was considered one of the nation's finest footballers of the 20th century.[2]

Club career

Souths and Wagga

A South Sydney junior, from the Mascot club Hambly played in Souths' Presidents Cup side in 1955. He was graded by the Rabbitohs in 1956 and played three seasons with the club. He represented in a New South Wales Colts side against Great Britain in 1958.[3] In 1959 aged only 21 he took on a captain-coach role in the country town of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales for two seasons and it was from there as a country player that he made his state and national representative debuts that same season.


In 1961 he was lured to the Parramatta Eels on the then record transfer fee of 2,500 pounds.

The Parramatta club had languished at the bottom of the ladder in their first 15 seasons after admission to the top grade competition in 1947 - they finished last eight times in the ten seasons from 1952 to 1961. But 1962 marked a turnaround. Ken Kearney was appointed as coach; internationals Hambly and Ron Lynch had joined the club in 1961 with Bob Bugden and Ken Thornett arriving in 1962. The club was particularly competitive from 1962 to 1965 making the finals in all four years. Hambly, then at the top of his career, gave great service to the club at that time. He played on till 1967 in which season he was named captain-coach, however suffering the effects of knee injury during the year he sacked himself in favour of the young future Eels star Bob O'Reilly.

Representative career

Hambly first appeared on the representative scene in 1958 for New South Wales Colts against Great Britain playing alongside future greats in Johnny Raper and Ian Walsh. From his country position at Wagga he was first selected for New South Wales at the senior level in 1959 and played in the New South Wales loss to Queensland that attracted 35,261 spectators, smashing Brisbane's previous record for an interstate match of 22,817.[4]

He was then picked as a reserve for Australia's test series against New Zealand that year and then for the 1959 Kangaroo tour. Hambly played in all six Tests plus in 16 other minor tour matches. Hambly was the preferred lock in the first two Ashes tests of the 1959-60 Kangaroo tour but the great form of Johnny Raper saw Hambly moved to the second-row for the remainder of this test career.

He toured to Britain again the next year for the 1960 World Cup and made a second Kangaroo tour in 1963-64 where he played in five tests and 19 tour matches. He injured a calf muscle doing private training and missed Australia's 50-12 win at Swinton which secured the Ashes.

Hambly made a further overseas tour of New Zealand in 1965. In all, Hambly played in eight different test series, appearing against all of the major rugby league playing nations; Great Britain (five times), France (nine times) and New Zealand (four times).

Career playing statistics

Team Matches Years
South Sydney 33 1956–1958
Parramatta 105 1961–1967
New South Wales 11 1959–1964
Australia (Tests) 18 1959–1965

Post playing and Accolades

Hambly was the licensee of the Willoughby Hotel on Sydney's North Shore from 1975 to 1979.

In February 2008, Hambly was named in the list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia.[5][6]

Brian Hambly died on 30 August 2008, aged 71.[1]


  • Whiticker, Alan & Hudson, Glen (2006) The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players, Gavin Allen Publishing, Sydney
  • Andrews, Malcolm (2006) The ABC of Rugby League Austn Broadcasting Corpn, Sydney
  • Pollard, Jack (ed) Gregory's Guide to Rugby League (1965), Grenville Publishing Sydney

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Rugby League legend dies". Fox Sports News (Australia). 30 August 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2008. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Century's Top 100 Players
  3. Pollard, Jack (1965). Gregory's Guide to Rugby League. Australia: Grenville Publishing. p160.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Goodman, Tom (28 May 1959). "Queensland beats N.S.W. in league by 17-15". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 December 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Peter Cassidy (23 February 2008). "Controversy reigns as NRL releases top 100 players". Macquarie National News. Retrieved 23 February 2008. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Centenary of Rugby League - The Players". NRL & ARL. 23 February 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>