Neville Allen Emery
- 350Wallaby Number
Neville Emery was a stylish fly half who served Australia splendidly when international rugby resumed after the Second World War. Calm, focussed, unruffled and fearless, Emery possessed a wonderful pair of hands that more than compensated for the yard of pace he required to be a truly offensive inside back. Born at Bexhill, just outside of Lismore in northern New South Wales, Emery was a star sportsman at the Shore School in Sydney where he played three years (1940-42) in the 1st XV and twice captained the Combined GPS 1st XV. He also kept wicket for the GPS XI from 1940-42. After school he linked up with Gordon before he joined the Royal Australian Air Force, attained the rank of Flying Officer, and completed a tour with the 467 Lancaster Bomber Squadron in Great Britain. While in the U.K.
Emery was chosen as vice captain of the RAAF rugby team where his form earmarked him as a certain international. Upon his return home Emery played rugby league for Lismore before he moved back to Sydney for the 1947 season with the University of Sydney. He claimed a spot in first grade spot where his handling, defence, and ability to kick with either foot impressed State selector A. C. ‘Johnnie’ Wallace. Nonetheless he was “one of the shock selections” when chosen for the New South Wales tour of Queensland after he failed to make any of the three City XVs, nor the 20 reserves for those teams. Emery debuted for the Waratahs against Toowoomba and then delivered a assured performance against Queensland. As a consequence Emery was selected for his maiden Test, against New Zealand in Sydney. The match was seen as a triumph for Emery and incredibly made him a near certainty to win selection on the Third Wallabies tour as Australia's No. 1 outside half. That he started in all five Tests reaffirmed that very view.
In 1949 he went to New Zealand with the Australian Universities side alongside a young Dave Brockhoff however both were sent an SOS after the first home Test against the Maori was lost. Emery and Brockhoff returned to the Dominion three months later where they played integral roles in Australia’s first Bledisloe Cup win on foreign soil. In 1950 Emery announced he would not play due to a shoulder injury that had troubled him for almost two seasons. He coached the University of Sydney for a short period in 1952 before he was appointed player-coach of the Whitehaven Rugby League Club in England. Neville Emery played 10 Tests for Australia in a three-year international career.
Emery won his first Test cap at fly half outside of Cyril Burke in the 2nd Test, 14-27 loss to New Zealand at the S.C.G.
Burke and Emery were the starting halves in all five Tests of the Third Wallabies tour of the U.K and Europe.
Queensland’s Eddie Broad was selected for the opening Test of the home series against the Maori. The 3-12 loss saw the selectors recall Emery from the Australian Universities tour of New Zealand to start alongside Burke in the final two matches of the Maori series. Emery and Burke were then paired in both away Test victories over New Zealand.