Reg Gasnier passed away on Sunday, a day before his 75th birthday and we lost a rugby league immortal, described by many as the greatest of all time. With wonderful vision, blinding speed and excellent footwork, the man they called The Prince of Centres terrorised opposition defences between 1959-1967, an era dominated by the St George Dragons who won 11 straight premierships between 1956-1966. His glittering career tragically cut short at just 28 when he broke his leg playing in the First Test of the 1967 Kangaroo tour, and attempted to come back early on the French leg of the tour, but succumbed to the same injury in front of a little over 1000 fans.
Gasnier was an integral part of the mighty St George Dragons’ premiership run, featuring in 6 Grand Final wins between 1960-1965. He scored a phenomenal 127 tries in 125 first grade games, a record that surpasses anyone playing today. He scored his 100th try in just 86 matches. To put that into some sort of perspective, Melbourne Storm fullback Billy has scored 161 tries, but has taken 257 games to do so.
At representative level he didn’t disappoint either crossing for 15 tries in sixteen appearances for NSW and 26 times in 39 appearances for Australia. He captained his country at the age of just 23.
The fact he stood out so remarkably in a Dragons team featuring the likes of Johnny Raper, Norm Provan and Graeme Langlands speaks volumes about Gasnier. He was named an immortal alongside Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles five eighth Bob Fulton and his Dragons team mate Johnny Raper in 1981 and in 2008 enjoyed the double honour of being named one of the 100 greatest players of all time and was named at centre in the Team of the Century.
Clubs: St George Dragons (1959-1967)
New South Wales (1959-1967)
Post Career Honours
1985: recognised as a rugby league Immortal alongside Clive Churchill, Johnny Raper and Bob Fulton
1985: inducted into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame
1989: awarded Order of Australia Medal
2002: inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame
2008: selected as one of Australia’s 100 Greatest Players in the 100th year of rugby league
2008: selected in the Team of the Century
2010: unveiling of bronze statue in his honor at the Sydney Cricket Ground