John Exton Arnold Bonner

  • 8Caps
  • 183Wallaby Number
Date Of BirthJune 23, 1898
Place of BirthSydney
SchoolManly High School
Debut ClubManly
Debut Test Match1922 Wallabies v New Zealand, 1st Test Sydney
Final Test Match1924 Wallabies v New Zealand, 2nd Test Sydney
DiedJanuary 20, 1973


John Bonner was a tough lock forward from Manly Club in Sydney , who made the first grade after leaving Manly Public School. His strong performances for Manly in 1922 promoted him to an international debut against New Zealand. He played eight Tests between 1922 and 1924 which are now recognised as internationals. There were three matches against New Zealand in 1922, three matches against NZ Maori in 1923 and two matches against New Zealand.

He ended his international career with six wins and two losses. He was unavailable to tour New Zealand in 1923. He played 72 games for Manly and was a member of the 1922 premiership side. John 'Bond' Bonner would play eight matches for NSW which were awarded Test status in 1986 because rugby was not played in Queensland from 1919 to 1929. Bonner's first appearance at a higher level was with A NSW Second XV against NZ Maori, an 18 to 27 loss, in 1922. The same year he made the State team to play the All Blacks at Sydney Agricultural Ground. It was a close and hard battle, the Blues going down 19 to 26. Since 1986, all these NSW games international teams were decreed as Tests.

This was Bonner's first Test, and the team was Otto Nothling, Larry Newman, Ronald Stanley, Larry Wogan, 'Pup' Raymond, Billy Sheehan, Arthur Walker (capt.), 'Watty' Friend, Ted Thorn, Reg Ferguson, 'Bond' Bonnor, Charlie Fox, Tom Davis, 'Jock' Blackwood and Tom Smith. Bonner was in the return match with NSW, surprisingly won by NSW 14 to 8. That made him a certainty for the third match, the Blues winning once more, 8 to 6. Two losses in a row for New Zealand had never happened before. In 1923 he was again on a winning team for NSW, beating the NZ Maori 27 to 23. The return match was another win for NSW by 21 to 16. Then NSW won the third encounter, 14 to 12.

Though he did not tour New Zealand in 1923, in 1924 he went up against the All Blacks once more, and gained another hard victory, 20 to 16. New Zealand turned the tables in the second match, which Bonner was in (5-21), but was not picked for the third Test. Reportedly he dropped out of his own volition He ended his career at the top.

John Exton Arnold Bonner CW profile