Norman Edward Row
- 82Wallaby Number
Norman Edward Row was an outstanding flanker (No 7) who played six Tests for Australia. Row first played rugby with the borough club Manly Federals and graduated to North Sydney (Northern Suburbs) in 1902. He was a tigerish defender who could score tries and was a more than useful goal kicker. In all he played 84 first grade games, 43 with Norths and 41 with Eastern Suburbs. His first representative game was in 1904 when he played for Sydney Metropolitan against the British tourists and later that year he was selected for NSW against Queensland in Brisbane. His next appearance for NSW was in 1907 whilst playing for the Eastern Suburbs Club which he had joined in 1906 after being transferred in his employment to the Randwick Tram Depot, where he later became the Manager.
He was an electrical engineer who went to Manly Public School, then Sydney Technical College. Row’s representative career blossomed through 1907-1910, playing both Tests against New Zealand in 1907 and then as a member of the 1908-09 tour to Great Britain on which he played 24 games, winning , including the Test against England 9-3, where he scored a try. Norm Row played in all three Tests against New Zealand in 1910, winning the second and losing the decider 28-13, where he scored ten points ( a try, two conversions and one penalty) in Sydney. Although young by modern-day standards, Row retired and later his daughter married “Jock’ Blackwood, the hooker for the famous 1927-28 Waratahs and later president of the Australian Rugby Union. Norman Row, who passed away on October 28 1968 aged 85 years, was a true rugby pioneer of the highest order. His brother also played for and captained Australia.
Norm Row played 31 matches for Australia, six of them Tests. Peter Sharpham wrote in The First Wallabies :”Norman Edward Row was the only member of the First Wallabies who sported a receding hairline...[He] was granted leave without pay to tour with the First Wallabies. A sound goal-kicker...A serious student of the game, he was an interested spectator when the 1905 New Zealanders played against New South Wales in Sydney and was impressed by the play of Dave Gallaher, the Irish-born New Zealand wing-forward. Because he played breakaway, Row realised the possibilities of loose-forward play based on some of Gallaher’s more innovative methods...His triumphant tour of Britain and North America in 1908-09 was highlighted by a well-earned try against England at Blackheath. His brother Frank had played in all three Internationals [three of four, actually] during Australia’s inaugural home Test series in 1899 against the Rev Mullineaux’s British team. A teetotaller and non-smoker.”