Clarence Warwick Prentice
- 147Wallaby Number
There were seven brothers in the Prentice family, and four of them made a particular impact on the football field. Ward, who played 129 games for Wests and two for Easts, captained Australia on the 1912 tour to North America, played six Tests and 15 matches overall for Australia, and also played cricket for NSW: Wheat, who played 106 matches for Wests: Henry, who was in 81 matches for Wests; Arch, who managed 65 games; Clarrie, who would play 59 games for Wests, and would be the only forward among them; and Duffy, who turned professional and played 75 games for Easts.
Clarrie’s introduction to top-class rugby union was short and sweet. When the New Zealand team arrived in 1914, the last international visit prior to the First World War, he was selected for NSW. He was the only new cap in the State team and, while he was unaware of the fact, the only player in the side who had an international rugby league future ahead of him. He changed codes in 1915, as any footballers remaining in Sydney had to, since rugby union had closed down as a patriotic gesture.
There were some outstanding players on that NSW team, which was soundly beaten 6 to 27; Larry Dwyer, Ernest Carr, Larry Wogan, Hubert Jones, Dudley Suttor, Bill Tasker, Fred Wood, Harold Baker, Fred Thompson, Doss Wallach, Ted Fahey, J. Duffy, Harold George, Prentice and Willie Watson. Because of the one-sided nature of the game he did not make the first Test team, New Zealand winning 5 to 0, or the second Test, lost 0-17. Neither did he make the Metropolitan team or the return NSW squad. However, and quite surprisingly because of his non-selection in previous games, he was selected for the final match of the tour, which was a Test.
The match in many ways, was a distraction as the war had broken out. Five Australian players from the series- Harold George, Hubert Jones, Bill Tasker, Doss Wallach and Fred Thompson- were to die in the war. It was thought that the war would be a short one, but it was not until 1920 a team would tour Australia again, and it was New Zealand. Clarrie was certainly possessed of rugby longevity, as at 29 years of age he toured Britain with the 1921-22 Kangaroo tour, thus becoming a dual international. He played in 25 of the 36 matches, including the three Tests. The team toured as Australasia, though there was only one New Zealand player, Bert Laing. The only Kangaroos to play more games than Clarrie were Bob Craig, Viv Farnsworth, Herb Gilbert, Howard Hallett and Chris McKivat.