Geoffrey Parnell Storey
- 238Wallaby Number
Geoff Storey was a very fine forward who went on to be one of the quiet achievers on the great Waratahs tour to the northern hemisphere in 1927/28. A middle rower, Storey was considered to be ‘more fiery’ than the average G.P.S. boy during his time at Sydney Grammar School and that quality stood him in great stead during the eight month long tour. At school he was both a scholar and sportsman of note. Storey was Captain of the School and won the Senior Knox prize in 1922. He played in the 1st X1 premiership winning side of 1922, was a member of the 1st XV (1921-22) and represented the Combined G.P.S. 1st XV in his final year.
Storey proceeded to the University of Sydney where he was awarded three Rugby Blues (1925-27) and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1927. Storey was a member of the Sydney University Football Club team which toured New Zealand in 1925 and played three ‘Tests’ against New Zealand Universities. The following year Storey was chosen to play for New South Wales in a previously unscheduled and somewhat hastily arranged fourth state match against the touring All Blacks.
Although he did not know it at the time but that game was his Test debut after an ARU decision in 1994 elevated the remaining 34 New South Wales matches played against international opposition in the 1920-28 period to Test status (the five 1927/28 Waratahs’ internationals were given Test status in 1986). In 1927, and with his studies completed, Storey switched to Western Suburbs from where he was one of four players - Tom Lawton, Sid King and Malcolm Blair being the other three - selected for the Waratahs tour.
Storey enjoyed a stroke of good fortune when tour vice-captain Charlie Fox badly injured his ankle in the tour’s 12th match, against Oxford University. As a consequence Storey, who had started just four matches at that stage went on to play a total of 20 games including all five Tests. One of his fellow players wrote of Storey: “Got his chance when Charlie Fox was hurt; improved out of sight. Has put on weight, and is now a better forward than when in Sydney.” Upon his return home Storey captained New South Wales in the second fixture against Victoria however he was one of 13 Waratahs who were unavailable for the subsequent tour to New Zealand.
In 1929 rugby resumed in Queensland and a hulking truck driver named Harry Hamalainen emerged to partner ‘Huck’ Finlay as Australia swept the All Blacks 3-0. While Storey picked up a single cap as a replacement in that series he did have the honour of leading Wests to the first grade premiership title. A year later Storey was reunited with Finlay for the wonderful victory over the British Lions in 1930 but then made the decision to formally retire. year later he returned to the training paddock in preparation for a comeback and in 1932 not only showed for Wests but also started six of New South Wales’ seven matches in what proved to be his swansong season.
A lawyer, who was determined to repay some of the thrills the game had given him, Storey served lengthy terms on New South Wales’ rugby committees and particularly as Chairman of the Judicial Committee. Geoff Storey played eight Tests for Australia in a four-year international career.
Storey won his first Test cap at lock alongside fellow debutant Ray Bowden in the 4th Test, 21-28 loss to New Zealand at the Sydney Showground.
Storey, in combination with ‘Huck’ Finlay, formed the second-row combination in all five internationals on the Waratahs tour, against Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England and France.
He earned a single cap as a replacement lock, for Finlay in the 3rd Test, 15-13 win over New Zealand at the S.C.G.
Storey won his final cap, in partnership with Finlay in the 6-5 victory over the British Lions in Sydney.