Queensland Rugby inducted three new members into the Hall of Fame as a special part of the annual Reds Gala Ball last week.
Early 1880/90s halfback Austin Gralton, 1970s legend Tony Shaw and his teammate, legendary back Andrew Slack were selected from a shortlist of 41 nominees.
“Following the announcement of our inaugural Hall of Fame inductees last year, I am pleased that the committee has selected three Queensland Rugby legends to further enhance the standing of this growing institution,” Queensland Rugby Chairman Rod McCall said.
“Austin Gralton was a pioneer of our game who helped build Queensland Rugby’s traditions and as a selector and coach, assisted the development of the next generation of Queensland greats.
“I was fortunate enough to have played with and also be coached by both Tony and Andrew at various levels of the game. Tony’s leadership and will to win were unrivalled and his enthusiasm for the game he loves continues today as he fulfils the roles of QRU President and ARU Vice-President.
“Andrew Slack is a revered figure in world rugby and was a terrifically skilled back, a great leader and someone who played the game in exactly the right spirit.
“I’m not surprised that the Hall of Fame committee has elevated these three into the Queensland Rugby Hall of Fame.”
After 11 Queensland Rugby greats were inducted last year, all 14 inductees are listed below.
Austin Gralton was a tenacious halfback for Queensland and Australia between 1893 and 1903 who played an important pioneering role for Rugby in Queensland. First representing Queensland in 1893 against New Zealand, Gralton played 29 matches for Queensland and brought a rare brand of enthusiasm to every match that he played in. In 1893, he appeared in the first-ever Test in Australia against Great Britain and the first Test against New Zealand in 1903. As halfback in Australia’s first Test against Great Britain, Gralton was the first Australian to touch the ball when he kicked off the match. He went on to score 27 points for Queensland during his career with five tries, three goals, and two penalty goals. His enthusiasm for Rugby remained unabated long after he retired, and as a Queensland selector, he always coached the team he helped pick.
Tony Shaw was an inspiring Rugby player and leader, noted for his vigorous rucking and mauling and an excellent exponent of the short line-out, continually hoodwinking taller rivals. After debuting for Queensland in 1973, Shaw built a formidable representative record including 112 games for his State and 36 international games, captaining the Wallabies on 15 occasions. He led his country to its first series win against the All Blacks in forty one years in 1980. Shaw debuted for the Wallabies in 1973 at the end of his first season in the Queensland team, when he was the youngest player selected for the short tour of Wales and England. Shaw was a fierce competitor renowned for his uncompromising approach to the game. A member of the so-called Queensland “holy trinity” along with Mark Loane and Paul McLean in the 1970s, Shaw was a feared and respected opponent. His service to Queensland Rugby continues as the current President of QRU.
After debuting for Queensland in 1975, Andrew Slack played a total of 133 games for Queensland in a career that spanned the best part of a decade. He debuted for Australia in 1978 in the home series against Wales and is remembered as a key factor in the Wallabies’ ascendancy to world class status, eventually guiding them to a Bledisloe Cup, a Grand Slam (an undefeated European Tour with victories against England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) and a World Cup semi-final. A fine player in his own right, Andrew’s main strengths were his tactical acumen and the ability to get the most out of his teammates. These qualities made him a superb captain when he was eventually given the honour in 1984 which would see him lead Australia to 14 victories in 19 matches. Upon retirement from playing, he spent three years as a national selector for the Wallabies before becoming the first backline player in 30 years to coach the Queensland Reds when he was appointed to the position in 2003. Slack has also spent the last 26 years as a well-respected journalist at both Channel Nine and the Courier Mail, furthering his contribution to Queensland Rugby.
The inductees were selected by an expert selection panel which includes; Rod McCall (Queensland Rugby Chairman), Andrew Slack (Queensland Rugby Vice-President), John Ryan (Queensland Rugby Life Member and former Queensland Team Manager), John Connolly (former Queensland and Wallaby Coach), Wayne Smith (Rugby writer for The Australian), Jim Tucker (Rugby writer for the Courier Mail) and Ian Diehm (Author of Red! Red! Red!, The Story of Queensland Rugby).
To be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the inductees must have also passed the following criteria:
- they must have been retired from Queensland for 10 years,
- they have played and/or coached for Queensland, and
- they have made an overall contribution to the game.
Each of the inductees received a 9ct “Q” gold pin and commemorative Cockfighter’s Ghost magnum of Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, which features images of the new inductees to mark the momentous occasion.
Follow Commentary Box Sports on Social Media!