Owen Clive Crossman

  • 15Caps
  • 193Wallaby Number
PositionWinger
Date Of BirthNovember 14, 1902
Place of BirthGlen Innes, NSW
SchoolSydney Church of England Grammar School
Debut ClubRandwick
ProvinceNSW
Debut Test Match1923 Wallabies v New Zealand Maori, 1st Test Sydney
Final Test Match1930 Wallabies v British Isles, Sydney
DiedAugust 11, 1963

Biography

Owen ‘Stumpy’ Crossman was a top class, all-round sportsman, who excelled at rugby, athletics, golf, lawn bowls and billiards. He also rode thoroughbreds to success at race meetings - he twice rode five winners at country race meetings. He joined the Randwick club after leaving school and played 69 first grade games for Randwick from 1923 to 1930, always as a winger, missing the 1928 season. He scored 85 tries, 75 goals and 30 penalty goals, totalling 495 points. This stood as the Randwick individual point scoring career record until broken in the late 1930s by Cyril Towers. Crossman led the first grade try-scoring for Randwick in six seasons and was leading goal and point scorer in seven seasons, an outstanding record.

He headed the Sydney competition point scoring on three occasions – 1923, 1926 and 1930. He scored six tries against GPS Old Boys on 10 May 1924, a record equalled by Len Slattery in April 1945, and later broken by Michael Cleary in August 1961. He was a member of Randwick’s team in that club’s first game on its return to first division football in 1923, and scored a try in that game. He was a small man, only 162 centimetres in height and weighing about 60 kilograms.

Opposing wingers complained that there was nothing of him to grab when they attempted to tackle him. He did not employ a swerve or a sidestep to beat opponents but relied upon his exceptional speed coupled with a deceptive change of pace. Until the arrival of David Campese at Randwick in 1987 he was the standard against whom all of the Randwick’s wingers were compared. A Shore product, he was the GPS long jump champion three years in a row and was also the Sydney 1924-25 beach sprint champion.

He was Randwick's first representative player in the years from 1923 and was a member of that clubs’ first grade side in their final game in the 1926 season in which they lost the premiership to University. He played in 15 Test matches from 1923 to 1930, the first being in his first season in club football and after only six games for Randwick, and he represented NSW nine times, his last game for the State being in NSW’s great win (28 to 3) over the touring British Lions.

He scored two tries in that win. Crossman's best club season was his last, in 1930, Randwick's initial premiership year after 1923 when, at the end of an exceptional backline, he scored 21 tries in only nine games. Two of these tries were scored in the final game of the season when the firsts won the premiership by beating University. He toured overseas only once, in 1925 to New Zealand, with the NSW Waratahs, and was later accorded Australian representative status for all games, Test and non -Test, played on that tour. Personal commitments made him unavailable for other tours. He would have been among the first chosen for the 1927-28 Waratah tour of Britain and France if available.

No Sydney first grade player has anything approaching his career tries to games ratio (85 tries in 69 games), almost one and a quarter tries per game and none has approached his tally of 21 tries in a nine game club season in 1930. After Stumpy Crossman’s playing days' ended he was involved in coaching junior Randwick teams and in the club's administration. He was a NSW selector in 1938.

Owen Crossman profile
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