Edwin Sautelle "Dooney" Hayes
- 289Wallaby Number
‘Dooney’ Hayes was a complete footballer who had the honour of being named Wallaby captain for an overseas tour only for injury to rob him of the opportunity to lead Australia in a Test match. A straight running centre who drew his man and passed well, Hayes was also noted for his place kicking and punishing defence.
Born on the Darling Downs he attended the Toowoomba Grammar School where he played in the 1928 1st XV and 1st XI. After he graduated Hayes joined the Past Grammars Rugby Club in Toowoomba who were coached by the famous ‘King’ Renwick. Renwick’s tutelage had a significant influence on Hayes' development into an outstanding footballer. His promise obvious, Hayes soon made his Queensland debut, at the tender age of 19 in the second match of the 1931 interstate series with New South Wales. Late the following season Hayes played in the interstate matches that doubled as trials for the 1933 tour of South Africa. He was chosen at fullback, rather than at centre, for the trials and subsequently missed selection altogether.
In 1934 Hayes moved to Brisbane where he linked up with the GPS club and state fly half ‘Wally’ Lewis. The move paid immediate dividends as Hayes settled into the inside centre position and was named captain of the Queensland team travelled south for the interstate matches. When the All Blacks arrived in August to defend the Bledisloe Cup, both Hayes and Lewis were selected to make their debuts in the first Sydney Test. Australia did not play any Test rugby in 1935 and as such the following year’s tour to New Zealand took on even greater importance. Hayes made the team and was appointed captain to became the first Queenslander to lead a Wallaby team on an overseas tour.
Unfortunately, the fulfilment of a dream turned into a disaster, when Hayes suffered a painful rib injury in the first match against Auckland, then returned too early and further aggravated the injury in the third game against Hawkes Bay. As a result he was unavailable for all three Tests and only played one further match on the tour. Hayes recovered from an early injury in 1938 to start all three home Tests against New Zealand however he was never again selected for Queensland and as such was denied the opportunity to trial for the Second Wallabies tour to Great Britain. When the World War II commenced Hayes enlisted in the RAAF and served as a flying officer with the 2 Aircraft Delivery Unit RAF, stationed in the Middle East.
Hayes had one narrow escape on in October 1942, when his aircraft was involved in a mid-air collision and he was forced to bail out. Two and a half months later Flying Officer Hayes was detailed to fly a Kittyhawk aircraft in the Magrun area of Libya. He took off and was last seen by an accompanying aircraft 30 miles southeast from the ancient city of Barce. Nothing was known regarding the fate of the pilot and when Hayes’ plane could not be located found, he was presumed dead. The name of Edwin Sautelle Hayes is located on the Roll of Honour at Panel 123 in the Commemorative Area of the Australian War Memorial.
Hayes won his first Test cap at inside centre, paired with Cyril Towers, in the 1st Test, 25-11 victory over New Zealand at the S.C.G. That centre pairing was retained for the 2nd Test, 3-3 draw that clinched Australia’s first ever Bledisloe Cup series win.
The Wallabies did not play a Test match in 1935.
Hayes started at inside centre in all three home losses to New Zealand. He had a GPS clubmate as his centre partner in each match, the first with ‘Wally’ Lewis and the final two with ‘Blow’ Ide.