Keith Milton Gordon
- 372Wallaby Number
Keith Gordon was a superbly fit and under-rated front rower who, in his time, was arguably the fastest forward in domestic rugby. During his time at Maroubra Junction Public Primary School, Gordon finished second to John Treloar in the Primary School athletics championship. Treloar went on to become one of Australia’s greatest ever male sprinters and won three gold medals at the 1950 Empire Games.
In his teenage years Gordon won the Sydney Boys High School Junior Athletic Championship. He played two years in the 1st XV (1942-43) and won both premierships and co-premierships in the Combined High Schools and Great Public Schools’ competitions. Gordon also twice rowed in the Sydney Boys’ eight at the GPS Regatta.
In 1944, and in his third year with Randwick Kensington in the Amateur Athletic Association's inter-club competition, Gordon won the NSW junior title for the discus and threw a state junior record of 114ft, 6in. He also went on to win state titles in the Junior javelin and 12lb hammer.
He played his first senior rugby with Randwick in 1945 and immediately found his way into the top grade as a back rower. Only later did Gordon move to lock and, by 1948, into the front row. That season he debuted at prop for New South Wales against Queensland but played lock alongside Nick Shehadie when Randwick defeated Manly to win the Shute Shield. The following year Gordon did not play representative rugby however the Australian selectors ‘sprang another surprise’ when they named Gordon in the team for New Zealand. While Australia enjoyed their most successful tour to the Dominion - they lost just one of 12 matches, won both Tests and reclaimed the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 1934 - Shehadie and Rex Mossop were paired in the middle row for each international.
In 1950 Gordon asked Randwick to pick him as a prop in the hope that a change of position might earn him an elusive Test cap. When Eric Tweedale broke his collarbone playing for Parkes the door opened for Gordon to start in the interstate match against Queensland where he ‘justified his selection with a virile tight forward display.’ Gordon held his spot when the Waratahs played the British Lions and despite the one-sided 6-22 defeat impressed enough to find himself named in the front row for the first Test in Brisbane. Unfortunately Australia were badly beaten in both internationals and as a consequence a remarkable 11 of the 18 Wallabies who played that series, Gordon included, were never again selected to play Test football.
Keith Gordon started two Tests for Australia in a one-year international career.
Gordon won his first Test cap when partnered with Fabe McCarthy and Nev Cottrell in the front row for the 1st Test. 6-19 loss to the British Lions at the Gabba. Gordon and Cottrell were joined by Nick Shehadie for the 2nd Test, 3-24 defeat in Sydney.