James Martin Stone
- 343Wallaby Number
Jim Stone was a robust wing three-quarter who had the distinction of playing Test rugby for Australia without having ever represented his state. He also had the misfortune to have his career interrupted by conflict.
A brilliant, exciting try-scoring machine, Stone was born in Coonamble and educated at De La Salle College, Armidale where he was the school’s leading rugby point scorer in 1939.
Stone took a year out of the game before he burst onto the Sydney rugby scene in 1941 with such force that after just a handful of games for Randwick the great Cyril Towers said, ‘Stone is the greatest winger in Australia. If an Australian Union team were selected tonight he would be the first man picked.’ Stone had an outstanding first season as he scored 21 tries in just 15 games to lead the first grade try-scoring list. He scored at least one try in 14 consecutive games to set a club and competition record which may never to be broken. Not surprisingly his scoring feats caught the eye of rugby league scouts. Despite an attractive offer Stone told them he had “no desire to play league. While union is alive and I am sound it will do me.”
At the end of that magic season Stone enlisted in the army and soon found himself in Darwin as part of the Citizen Military Forces. In early 1943 he joined the 2nd Australian Imperial Force and two years later was sent to Morotai Island in Indonesia before he was discharged on account of demobilization in April, 1946.
He returned to Sydney and joined St. George under coach Bill Cerutti who confidently said, “If he can reproduce his 1941 form the State right-wing position is solved." A slice of luck presented Stone with his big break. A casual visit to Kogarah Oval by Australian selector Harold Masters, who had actually gone to watch University fullback Brian Piper, resulted in Stone winning his first representative jumper. Stone took the opportunity with both hands as he scored four tries for NSW II against the Southern States. That performance saw him picked at right wing for the Australian XV against The Rest in the trial ahead of the tour to New Zealand.
Stone won a spot on the tour only to suffer a string of injuries, the worst being a torn hamstring muscle. Nonetheless, Stone earned his maiden Test against a strong Maori outfit in Hamilton. He returned to Randwick for the 1947 season but further leg injuries ultimately robbed him of a chance to tour the U.K and Europe with the Third Wallabies.
Jim Stone played two Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Stone won his first Test cap on the right wing in the one 0-20 loss to the Maori at Rugby Park. He picked up a second cap after Max Howell broke down with a torn medial meniscus on the morning of the 2nd Test against New Zealand.