John Charles Carroll
- 397Wallaby Number
Jack Carroll was a tremendous all-round forward who could and did play in every position in the scrum except hooker.
Born in Sydney, Carroll attended Sydney Technical High School, where he learned the fundamentals of carpentry. He enjoyed a long career in grade football with Eastern Suburbs and in 1949 played his maiden First Grade match.
The very next season Carroll made his debut for New South Wales at flanker against Queensland and, just five days later, started against the might of the British Lions. Two years later, and having not earned a third cap for his state, Carroll was chosen on his first Wallaby tour, to New Zealand. He played at lock in two matches and was not selected for either of the Tests.
The following year Carroll produced solid form in the Wallaby trials to earn a spot on the tour to South Africa. In the fourth match of the tour the Wallabies were scrummed into the ground by Orange Free State and Carroll, who started at loosehead, swapped places for a time with Nick Shehadie. He was shifted to lock just before the opening Test before the Australian selectors deliberately excluded the dynamic Brian Johnson and picked Carroll out of position at No.8 with the instructions to play as an extra binding lock. Essentially the Wallabies went for weight at the expense of mobility and unfortunately that was no substitute for technique with the Wallabies were humbled 3-25. The selectors made five changes for Cape Town, two of which were in the forwards, and Johnson came in for Carroll. In all, Carroll played in 11 of the 27 tour matches - seven as a prop forward, three as a lock and that sole game at No.8.
Carroll loyally continued on with Eastern Suburbs until 1959 when he retired. After Easts slumped to eighth in the 1961 premiership, Carroll made a comeback at the age of 36 and contributed a great deal as captain during the 1962 season in which he played in all 20 games. Carroll’s men fought their way into the semi-finals to complete a dramatic climb up the premiership table. Having turned 37 at the season’s end, Carroll retired.
Carroll won his first Test cap at No.8 flanked by fellow debutant ‘Mac’ Hughes and Keith Cross in the 1st Test, 3-25 loss to South Africa at Ellis Park.