Geoffrey Allen Gourlay
Geoff Gourlay was a blond-haired, rangy lock who could jump well and was versatile in that he could play in the back-row as well. Though educated at one of Australia’s leading rugby nurseries, St Josephs College, Gregory Terrace in Brisbane, he was in the Navy and quartered in Melbourne when he came up for national selection.
He impressed in matches against the Southern States and the final Australia versus the Rest trial. Even then, his selection was considered a long-shot. At the time of selection on the Australian team to tour New Zealand in 1946 he was 24 –years- of- age, 6 ft 4 in and 14 stone 10 lb.
Geoff Gourlay’s first match for Australia was against North Auckland at Whangarei. Captain Bill McLean was injured early on and Gourlay went on as the replacement. With no specialist hooker, Australia could not control possession, and was soundly defeated by 19 to 32. The run-on team that day was Brian Piper, Jimmy Stone, Trevor Allan, Paul Johnson, Charlie Eastes, ‘Mick’ Cremin, Cyril Burke, Arthur Buchan, Alan Livermore, Graham Cooke, Ernie Freeman, Keith Windon (capt.), Bob McMaster, Kev Hodda and Wal Dawson.
His next appearance was in the second row in the fourth tour match against traditionally strong Hawkes Bay-Poverty Bay. It was a 19 to 11 victory for Australia, Gourlay linking with the experienced Phil Hardcastle.
Gourlay was proving his worth and was in the following three matches, against Seddon Shield Districts (won 15-12), Canterbury (lost 11-20) and Hanan Shield Districts (lost 9-21). He was unfortunately injured in the match , and was replaced by Arthur Buchan. He was unable to play in any of the remaining matches. This tour marked the end of his representative career.
He had shown that he could hold his own against the best, but he was never to get another opportunity. He was, however, a forward of considerable promise. His record shows that he played six times for Australia, and no Tests.