Leonard Alison Palmer
Len Palmer was something of a surprise selection for the 1925 New Zealand tour, as four props had been used in the home series against New Zealand earlier in the year and he had not been one of them. Only Tom Smith made the tour from the players used in Sydney but Palmer, who had not been chosen in the State 2nd XV or the invitation team that faced the tourists, must still be reckoned a selection from left field.
A long-backed and not especially heavy prop, he only played five minor matches on tour, as Smith and another newcomer, Harry Woods, quickly established themselves as the Test pair. However Palmer’s ability served a useful purpose as it allowed the others to be rested through the middle stages of the trip and four of his five matches came in a two-week period through the middle of the tour.
If the teams Palmer faced were not of the highest calibre, he was still given a stern physical workout in each match and came through it all well. That New South Wales team had some highly talented backs and the forwards were required to gain sufficient possession for the classy rearguard to win matches; this they did in nine of the 11 fixtures.
All five matches in which Palmer played were won, giving him a record that few tourists to New Zealand can match. Although he later won State honours, Palmer was not chosen again and in fact never represented any local team against a touring side.