Desmond Patrick Bannon
- 340Wallaby Number
Des Bannon was a fly half from country New South Wales who graduated from the rugby nursery of St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill to become a Test capped Wallaby.
Born in Sydney, Bannon played rugby league in the Tweed region after he graduated. He enlisted with the Citizen Military Forces in late 1941 and moved onto the 2nd Australian Infantry Force a year later where he attained the rank of Lieutenant. While on army leave Bannon played first grade rugby for Parramatta but broke his wrist and decided to retire. Bannon was then shipped out to New Guinea, where he dabbled in Australian Rules, before being discharged in 1946.
Upon his return to Australia Bannon started at Armidale Teachers College and resumed his rugby career. Good early form earned him a spot in the Combined Northern team to play Canberra in Sydney. A ‘brilliant display’ at fly half saw him called from the field at half time by the State selectors to give him a run in the main match (NSW I v NSW II). He again impressed, particularly with his handling, and following an untimely injury to Parramatta’s Alec Thomas remarkably found himself in the New South Wales squad for their tour of Queensland. Bannon made his state debut against Toowoomba and despite being overlooked for the Queensland match was chosen as vice captain for the Australia vs. The Rest trial match prior to selection of the Wallaby team to tour New Zealand.
He made the tour and played in five matches, the last of which was against the Maori at Hamilton three days before the final Test. Although he did not know it at the time that match against the Maori was his Test debut. In 1947 Bannon linked up with Drummoyne and shifted into the centres. He played a near lone hand when oddly selected for the ACT in their 11-58 loss to the touring New Zealanders but was unable to force his way into the Test side. The following year Bannon switched to rugby league with Western Suburbs.
Des Bannon played one Test for Australia and will forever be Wallaby #340.
Bannon won his first Test cap at fly half paired with Queensland’s ‘Chappie’ Schulte in the 0-20 loss to the Maori at Rugby Park.