Mitchell Brice Hinkler Palm
Mitchell Palm was a talented goal kicking fly half / inside centre from Queensland whose career was cut far-too-short by injury.
Born in Bundaberg, Palm played his first rugby for Brisbane Boys’ College. In his final year, 1984, Palm captained the school, the 1st XI and represented the 1st XV.
After graduation, Palm enrolled to study Commerce at the University of Queensland. In 1986 he played for the UQ 1st Colts side that made the semi-finals however the following year found himself at outside centre in a first grade side that was badly disrupted by the international commitments linked to the inaugural Rugby World Cup.
Palm consolidated his position in the UQ backline during the 1988 season, one that marked a memorable return to form for University as they claimed their first Hospital Cup / A grade premiership in nine years with an 18-10 win over minor premiers Souths. Palm, at inside centre, played outside Michael Lynagh that day and kicked ten vital points from two conversions and a couple of penalty goals. UQ, with two tries from fly-half Palm leading the way, defeated Sydney University in the Varsity match for the first time since 1983 to win the Sir Herman Black Trophy with a convincing 39-13 triumph. Palm also enjoyed a baptism of fire debut for Queensland against the World Champion All Blacks when he came off the bench to convert two penalty goals as the home side went down 12-27. A wonderful season was topped off by Palm’s inclusion in the 45-man Wallaby squad to prepare for the 1991 Rugby World Cup.
Somewhat remarkably Palm had an arguably bigger year in 1989. He toured with Queensland to South America and scored 50 points in just four appearances. While Lynagh, Dominic Maguire and Anthony Herbert dominated the Reds’ mid-field during the domestic season Palm did earn the opportunity to face the might of the British Lions when chosen for the Queensland ‘B’ fixture in Cairns. At fly-half Palm played inside an up-and-coming pair of centres - Tim Horan and Jason Little - however the Lions triumphed 30-6. Another Hospital Cup win, UQ crushed Souths 34-8, was then followed by Palm’s selection for the Wallaby tour of Canada and France.
Palm made his Australian debut in the uncapped match against the North American Wolverines, a near Test-strength Canadian line-up, in Edmonton. The press wrote that Palm grew in authority after a tentative start during the 24-6 victory. When it came to the tour’s two Tests, both against France, the selectors opted for Herbert and Darren Junee as the replacement outside backs
At the completion of the tour Palm travelled to Rome where he joined the Frascati Rugby Club. Unfortunately, Palm injured his right knee to cut short his time in Italy. After a period of recuperation Palm returned for University only to again injure the same knee. Surgery, in the form of a total knee reconstruction was required, and as a result Palm made the difficult decision to retire from rugby. Nonetheless his rugby IP was not lost to the game as he went on to coach at both University and Brisbane Boys College.
Palm started four matches on the Wallaby tour of Canada and France – vs. North American Wolverines (W 24-6), vs. Languedoc at Beziers (L 10-19), vs. French / Auvergne Selection XV at Clermont-Ferrand (L 10-19), and vs. Île de France at Massy (L 19-21)