Michael Ernest Freney
- 553Wallaby Number
Mick Freney was a nuggety hooker of the old school variety with a quick, snake-like strike in the scrum. Energetic, busy and totally committed, Freney was among a number of hookers selected by Australia in search of a long term replacement for the retired legend Peter Johnson. Unfortunately for Freney, and in all respects his peers, he rose to prominence during a difficult period for Australian rugby.
Born in Brisbane, Freney attended noted rugby nursery, Nudgee College, and then joined the Brothers club. Following the departure of Wallaby hookers, Ross Cullen and Dave Crombie, Freney made his debut for Queensland in 1970 against New South Wales Country at Ballymore. The following year Freney was part of a Maroon’s side that inflicted the only non-Test loss upon the touring British Lions.
In 1972 Freney’s striking performance against NSW Country and rival hooker Peter Horton, who was the Australian reserve hooker to Bruce Taafe for the Tests against France, won him a place on the Wallaby tour New Zealand. The more experienced Bob Thompson was picked at hooker in the tour opener against Otago however the Australians were humbed 0-26. Freney started against West Coast-Buller, the first of four consecutive matches which culminated in his selection for the opening Test at Wellington. Freney performed well and was one of the few Wallaby forwards to emerge with his reputation intact.
Freney was then selected as the number one hooker on the short tour to Wales and England at the end of 1973 however he was displaced by Peter Horton in the Test side upon his return.
Mick Freney played six Tests for Australia in a two-year international career.
Freney won his first Test cap propped by Roy Prosser and fellow debutant Bruce Brown in the 1st Test, 6-29 loss to New Zealand in Wellington. Freney and Prosser held their spots for both the second and third Tests of that series.
Freney started alongside Jake Howard and debutant Ron Graham in the 1st Test, 30-12 victory over Tonga in Sydney. Freney was, perhaps fortunately, dropped for the second Test when Australia were upset 11-16. He was reinstated as the number one hooker for the northern tour and played both Tests against Wales - with Howard and Graham, and England with Stu Macdougall and Graham.