Keith Parnell Storey
- 301Wallaby Number
Keith Storey was a dashing and polished fullback who proved a more than worthy successor to the great Waratah custodian Alec Ross before injury cruelly forced him out of the game.
Born and bred in Sydney, Storey was an outstanding schoolboy during his years at Sydney Grammar School where he was a member of the undefeated 1st XV premiership side of 1929. He followed in the footsteps of brother Geoff (Wallaby #238) in ‘rendering yeoman service’ to SGS as an athlete. In addition to his considerable football ability, Keith was a first-class left-handed batsman, described at the time as ‘the most stylish among the schools at present.’
After graduation, Keith joined Geoff at Western Suburbs for the 1931 season and almost immediately burst into first grade. He announced his arrival with a brilliant try against St. George, described in the press of the time as a ‘gem of opportunism’. His safe handling, strong kick and sturdy defence pushed his name into the representative selection frame however he was forced to patiently serve an apprenticeship behind Dr. Ross.
In 1933, with Ross away in South Africa with the Wallabies, Storey injured his hip and a state jersey went begging. Another opportunity presented itself a year later when the All Blacks were scheduled to play two matches in three days against New South Wales. Ross started the first match however Storey, now injury free, was handed a state debut in the 13-16 loss at the Sydney Showground. Ross retired that year after leading Australia to Bledisloe Cup glory however it was Manly’s Bede Sutton who took his New South Wales jersey in early 1935. Nonetheless, when Storey received another chance he took it firmly with both hands.
A ‘sterling’ display against Victoria where he was ‘almost flawless in every department’ was followed by three clashes against the Maori and their legendary custodian George Nepia. Storey’s handling, kicking, courage, and enterprise in those matches marked him as a champion and left little doubt that he was the outstanding fullback in either rugby code. Storey was one of the first selected on the 1936 Wallaby tour to New Zealand however in the second match against Wanganui he bruised his thigh and as a result missed the next four matches, including the first Test loss in Wellington. Although short of a gallop due to the ongoing effects of that injury, so much so that he remained in doubt right up until the whistle, Storey was named to make his Test debut in Dunedin and suffered a baptism of fire as Australia were soundly beaten 13-38. The following year Storey displaced a cartilage and tore a ligament in his knee in a club match against Drummoyne and immediately announced his retirement.
Keith Storey played one Test for Australia and will forever be Wallaby #301.
Storey won his first Test cap at fullback in the 2nd Test, 13-38 loss to New Zealand at Carisbrook.