Alfred Mildred Glasser "Bluey" Smairl
- 251Wallaby Number
‘Bluey’ Smairl was a big and determined auburn-haired outside back who emerged in the wake of the 1927/28 Waratahs tour to earn representative honours. Fresh out of two years as fullback in the Parramatta High School 1st XV, Smairl was rushed into first grade with Eastern Suburbs in 1924 where he immediately impressed and answered every question asked of him with great competence. Also noted as a splendid defender, Smairl then served a four-year apprenticeship in club football as Alec Ross and Arthur Toby dominated selection at the state level ahead of the momentous Waratahs’ tour to the Northern Hemisphere.
In 1928 Smairl scored five tries for Easts against the Police, a performance that could not have been better timed given that 13 tourists either retired or declared themselves unavailable for the upcoming tour to New Zealand. While not named in the initial squad, Smairl earned a call-up when Northern Suburbs’ winger ‘Snowy’ Hammill withdrew at the eleventh hour. Smairl went on to start in six of the 10 matches, including the 1st ‘Test’ against New Zealand in Wellington. Although Smairl did not know it at the time that match was his official Test debut after an ARU decision in 1994 elevated the remaining 34 New South Wales matches played against international opposition in the 1920-28 period to Test status (the five 1927/28 Waratahs’ internationals were given Test status in 1986).
Unfortunately for Smairl the return of Ross, Owen Crossman and Waratahs’ Eric Ford, Brian Palmer and Billy Mann in 1929 denied him further representative opportunities outside of a single state match against Victoria. Smairl went on to reach 100 first grade matches for Easts at the age of 24 before he formally retired from rugby in 1933. ‘Bluey’ Smairl played three Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Smairl won his first Test cap on the right wing in the 1st Test, 12-15 loss to New Zealand at Athletic Park. He was switched to the right wing when Bill Hemingway came in for the 2nd Test, 14-16 defeat at Carisbrook and remained in the right, from where he scored a fine try, for the 3rd Test 11-8 victory at Lancaster Park.