Donald Joseph McDeed
Don McDeed was a fearless hooker with a lightning fast strike who overcame a decade of fierce competition to earn a Wallaby call-up after his 30th birthday.
Born in Victoria, young McDeed followed his Naval father to Sydney and in his secondary school years attended St Patrick’s College, Strathfield. At that time St Pat’s only played rugby league and as such details of McDeed’s first rugby remain elusive.
One aspect of McDeed’s career which is in no doubt is the fact that he played for Parramatta in the first union trials of the 1949 season and according to the press of the day “showed up well”. A year in third grade was followed by promotion to the top grade in 1950 where, in pre-season action, he packed down alongside state front-rower Len Wolfe and Wallaby giant Eric Tweedale.
Unfortunately for McDeed there were several very good hookers in the Shute Shield competition during the early part of the decade - Wal Dawson, Jim Walsh, and John Bain - and as such opportunities at representative level were few and far between. In 1954 McDeed left Parramatta to join Manly and a year later earned selection for the North Harbour II (2nd XV) for their annual clash with South Harbour. However, it was Randwick’s Jim Brown who claimed the state jersey and the following season Brown started the first of his nine consecutive Tests played through to the end of the Fourth Wallabies tour of 1957/58. McDeed did not contest the trials for that grand tour and ultimately it was Newcastle’s Ron Meadows who won the nod as Brown’s understudy. Interestingly, McDeed made his debut for New South Wales against the Fourth Wallabies (L 6-28) upon their return to Australian shores.
In 1961 McDeed stole an early edge over his rivals when chosen to play for North Harbour against Fiji in the opening match of the tourists' 14 game tour. His performance helped McDeed win selection as a reserve - behind future Wallaby captain Peter Johnson - for all three Tests of that series, and later for the short, six-match Wallaby tour of South Africa. McDeed went on to make his Australian debut in the tour’s opening fixture, the 14-14 draw against South-West Africa.
The following season McDeed contested the trials for the upcoming tour of New Zealand however he missed out to Walcha’s Andy Laurie who earned selection for the first of his two tours to the Dominion. Two years later McDeed played his final season of rugby in Australia before he transferred to the U.K. with Pioneer Concrete.
McDeed started two matches on the Wallaby tour of South Africa - vs. South-West Africa (D 14-14) at Windhoek; and vs. Border (W 17-9) at East London.