Elton James Flatley
- 742Wallaby Number
Elton Flatley was a schoolboy prodigy from Brisbane’s Nudgee College who was signed immediately upon graduation to the professional ranks by Queensland. A brilliantly instinctive player at inside centre or fly-half, Flatley had excellent ball skills, sharp acceleration, and was an exceptionally accurate kicker both out of the hand and for goal.
Flatley played four years of 1st XV for Nudgee and won selection for Australian Schools in both 1994 and 1995. The following year Flatley made his senior Queensland debut against Otago in Dunedin aged just 18. He was the youngest Red since Michael Lynagh in 1982 and just twenty months later he made his Test debut against England at Twickenham.
Throughout his Test career Flatley justifiably earned a big-game reputation. In 2001 he delivered a strong performance when called into the starting side following injury to Stephen Larkham for the third and deciding Test against the British and Irish Lions in Sydney. At the 2003 Rugby World Cup, as vice-captain, he delivered two near faultless performances with the boot, in the semi-final victory over New Zealand and in the extra-time final loss to England.
In 2005, Flatley was concussed against New Zealand in Sydney but was then selected to front South Africa in Perth just seven days later. During a pre-game tackling drill Flatley caught a stray elbow, suffered blurred vision and immediately withdrew from the match. Subsequent medical advice indicated Flatley required time away from the game in order to completely recover from a series of repeated head knocks / concussions. Despite the break, Flatley continued to suffer headaches and blurred vision, and as a consequence announced his premature retirement from the game in 2006.
Elton Flatley played 37 Tests for Australia and scored 182 points over his nine year, seven season international career.
Represented Australian Schools against Wales Schools, Ireland Schools, Scotland Schools, France Schools and England Schools.
Captained Australian Schools against New Zealand Schools.
Represented Australian U21s.
Represented Australian U21s when they won the Southern Hemisphere tournament. Flatley won his first Test cap at No.10 in the 15-15 draw with England at Twickenham. A week later he retained his place in the 37-8 defeat of Scotland at Murrayfield.
Captained Australian U21s.
Flatley earned his third cap, almost three years to the day after his second, in the 30-9 victory over Scotland in Edinburgh.
Flatley played nine Tests, six as a replacement, two at fly-half and one at inside centre. He played in each of the three internationals against the British & Irish Lions and was called in to start at No.10 in the series deciding 3rd Test in Sydney following a shoulder injury to Stephen Larkham.
He picked up a further nine caps, predominantly off the bench, before he started at No.10 against England and Italy in final two internationals of the year. Flatley scored his first Test tries in the 31-32 loss to England at Twickenham.
Flatley won a career high 12 caps, ten of which were as the run-on XV inside centre. He was selected to his first Rugby World Cup and played in six of the seven matches, including all three finals. Flatley scored 17 of Australia’s 22 points against New Zealand in the absorbing semi-final victory. In the final he went head-to-head with English great Jonny Wilkinson. After missing two early attempts – the conversion of Lote Tuqiri’s opening try and a later penalty – Flatley showcased his amazing composure late in the game. Firstly he nailed a difficult penalty to take the final into extra time and then in the 99th minute he knocked over another penalty to again tie the scores. Flatley finished the year as Australia’s top point scorer with 159.
Flatley missed the entire domestic Test season as he recovered from a broken forearm. He returned for the Spring Tour and was picked in each of the four internationals but then injured his medial ligament in the opening quarter of the final match against England.
Flatley won his final Test cap in the 1st Test, 13-30 loss to New Zealand in Sydney.