Andrew Herbert Trousdale
Herb Trousdale was one of a number of good centres who came through Sydney grade ranks in the years immediately after World War I, but he did not have the sheer class of the likes of ‘Bot’ Stanley, Billy Sheehan and Larry Wogan, so his time in the Waratahs’ jersey was limited to the rather unsuccessful 1923 tour of New Zealand, made with a team that was badly hampered by unavailability before it was selected. As many as ten leading players withdrew from contention, including a number of high-class three-quarters, which opened the way for Trousdale and Danie Erasmus to win their only State representation.
Trousdale had not appeared in any matches against touring teams prior to his selection, even though New Zealand Maori had visited in both 1922 and 1923 and the All Blacks had also made the trip in 1922. The inexperienced Waratahs were harder hit before their first match as six University players, including Sheehan and Stanley, were detained in Sydney to sit exams.
To make matters worse, the tourists were asked to line up shortly after completing a particularly rough crossing and more than a few were still trying to rediscover their land legs. Trousdale was paired in the centres with Murray Buntine for the opener, against Wellington-Manawatu. They had a formidable assignment, as the local midfielders were the famous Nicholls brothers, Mark and Doc, who gave almost every opponent they faced a hard time. At halftime the home team, who had been cutting merry capers in midfield, led 21-3 and Trousdale was swapped with Bob Loudon, who had started the match on the wing. The change made a considerable improvement to New South Wales’ fortunes, although the home side still won comfortably.
As the University contingent arrived in time for the third match and, with it being so obvious that the team would really battle to hold New Zealand provincial teams let alone the All Blacks, the top players were used almost exclusively for the next few matches. Trousdale had six in a row on the sideline but was brought back for the match against Waikato Combined, when the Test pair were given a match off for the first time in three weeks.
This game, against the weakest side the tourists encountered all tour, was won 11-5 although heavy rain and a muddy pitch told against their efforts to open play up. Trousdale did not have a particularly difficult day once the conditions had been overcome and the visiting backs had an advantage for much of the game.
The solidly-built North Sydney man - he stood 5ft 10in (1.78m) and weighed 12st (76kg) – was always battling once the first game had gone so badly. There were a number of quality centres around at the time and his non-selection upon the team’s return to Sydney was not to be wondered at.
That 1923 tour was something of a reputation-killer for the young players and several returned to grade rugby upon their return home with little chance of recovering the ground lost in distinctly unfavourable circumstances across the Tasman. Trousdale was one who suffered that fate and he was never really in the forefront of the selectors’ minds again.