Former Newtown Jets five-eighth Tony Brown, who rose to play on Kangaroo Tours and in a World Cup, has passed away aged 86.
Brown was a product of the St Peters JRLFC and was graded with the Newtown senior club in 1953. He was in first grade three years later, proving himself a necessity in the Jets and being its captain for six seasons.
“When he came into first grade it was after Newtown had been in two Grand Finals in 1954 and 1955 so the club, while still strong, was going into a re-development period,” Newton Jets director and media officer Glen Dwyer told nswrl.com.au.
“Tony was a very important part of that rebuilding along with his halves partner Bobby Whitton.”
So significant was Brown’s contribution to the Jets that he was named as five-eighth in the Newton RLFC ‘Team of the Century’ in 2008.
In 1958, Brown’s sterling representative career began with selection in the City Firsts in May and then the NSW Firsts for the interstate series two weeks later – all at No.6.
Brown played nine times (1958-62) for the NSW Firsts, scoring two tries.
“He was small in stature but very, very fast, very skilful and very creative,” Dwyer said.
In June 1958 he earned selection in the Australian side that hosted the Lions Tour.
Following that series, Brown was the five-eighth in the 1959 Test Series against New Zealand and again for the Australian Kangaroos tour of Great Britain, France and Italy in that same year.
He was named again in the 1960 Test Series against France, and then as a member of the 1960 Australian squad that played in the 1960 Rugby League World Cup in England.
Dwyer said that Brown grabbed the No.6 Australian jersey amid fierce competition.
“There were some pretty fine five-eighths Tony beat into the Australian side; fellows like Greg Hawick from South Sydney and St George’s Brian Clay, who was a Newton junior,” Dwyer said.
Brown played with the Newtown club from 1953 to 1964 before transferring to the Penrith club in the NSWRL Second Division competition.
He captained Penrith in that club’s inaugural season in the NSWRL First Grade competition in 1967.
The Newtown RLFC, and the NSWRL, extend their sincere condolences to the Brown family and to Tony’s many friends and teammates.