Paul Patrick Scott Costello
- 377Wallaby Number
Paul Costello was a crash tackling, hard-running, safe as houses fullback, who was ‘held to be something out of the bag’ in his position. Born in Toowoomba, long regarded as a nursery for great footballers, Costello enjoyed a meteoric, albeit brief international rugby career. Costello both learned and developed his skills during the war years where as a youngster he played in the premiership All Whites rugby league team. Union and League authorities had decided that league was to be the only game played in the war period and players would return to their respective clubs after hostilities had ceased. This did not eventuate as Costello made the decision to play rugby union with the reformed Toowoomba G.P.S club. His success was immediate as he debuted for Queensland against New England in 1948 and then came to national attention in the interstate match with New South Wales when he scored ‘two magnificent tries’ to be the first fullback to do so in the history of the fixture.
Costello, who impressed with his versatility, line kicking and judicious forays into the back-line, went on to play 15 of 19 state matches through until 1950. When the British Lions stopped off on their way home from the 1950 tour to New Zealand Costello was considered a excellent chance for Wallaby selection. Unfortunately he was overlooked for the opening international when hospitalised with influenza however once recovered was selected for his maiden Test in Sydney.
Unfortunately the pressure of his business commitments and the growing lack of time available for training and tours saw Costello retire from rugby the following season. That decision did not dent his enthusiasm for the game as he coached the Toowoomba representative team for several seasons and also became a State selector. Peter Costello played one Test for Australia and will always be Wallaby #377.
Costello won his first Test cap at fullback in the 2nd Test, 3-24 loss to the British Lions at the S.C.G.