The NRL is littered with freakish attacking guns capable of scoring and setting up mind-blowing tries on a weekly basis. But during the rugged, defence-oriented 1980s premiership era, Scott Gale stood out like a beacon.
An 18-year-old debutant with Wests in 1983, the utility-back spent the following season at Easts, but it is his four-year stint at Balmain for which he is best remembered.
Gale, predominantly a half, scored 35 tries in 99 games for the Tigers – including some of the most memorable solo touchdowns in the code’s history. Fast with electric footwork and brilliant ball skills, Gale’s trademark was possessing the most potent chip-and-chase game in the competition.
Legendary commentator called Gale’s try in the Tigers’ fifth-place playoff defeat of North Sydney in 1986 as ‘the best try I’ve seen in Rugby League television’ during his breathless call of the match.
After playing in Balmain’s loss in the 1988 Grand Final, Gale left Leichhardt for underwhelming two-season stints with Norths and Canberra – coming off the bench in another decider defeat for the Raiders in ’91 – and finished up in 1992 with 180 first grade games to his credit, finally retiring after an off-season stint with English club Hull.
The popular journeyman was diagnosed with motor neuron disease and tragically passed away in 2004, aged just 39, but the on-field magic from his unforgettable career lives on.