Robert Emmett Honan
- 492Wallaby Number
Bob Honan was a brilliant centre with a magic side-step who was lost to rugby following a series of questionable selection decisions in the mid-1960s.
Born in Brisbane, Honan’s introduction to rugby came at Marist Brothers’ College, Ashgrove although he occasionally played junior rugby league with the local Sandgate club. Honan played in the school’s 1st XV before leaving school aged 16. He then joined the Brothers’ club and played in the highly competitive U19s competition.
His first opportunity in senior representative rugby came in 1963 when he was selected to make his debut for Queensland against the returning Wallabies from the tour of South Africa. Honan delivered a glittering performance in exalted company to push his name firmly into the national selection frame. The following year Honan played strongly in both interstate clashes to earn selection on the tour of New Zealand. Honan played quite brilliantly in the two matches and was justifiably rewarded with a Test debut at Carisbrook.
He retained his spot in Christchurch but was not selected for the final international when the Wallabies recorded a stunning 20-5 victory. Honan was then pipped for selection in each of the following two seasons, albeit by players of quality including Dick Marks, Beres Ellwood, Rick Trivett and John Brass. However, the most punishing blow came when he was not chosen for the 1966/67 Fifth Wallabies tour to Britain. Four hours after the team was announced Honan received a call from the legendary Clive Churchill. He promptly switched codes to play rugby league for South Sydney and became a dual international in 1969 when selected for two Tests against New Zealand.
Honan won his first Test cap at inside centre alongside Dick Marks in the 1st Test, 9-14 loss to New Zealand in Dunedin. Both he and Marks were paired for the 2nd Test, 3-18 defeat at Lancaster Park.