Rodney Glen Crerar
“Rod Crerar - Toughest pound-for-pound player I played with. Always in the middle of the action, he revelled in the tight stuff. He seemed to enjoy bashing about in the hardest, darkest parts of the field. He was just unbelievably hard. Just tough.” Cameron Douglas - Australian Schools (1984), New South Wales (1987-88).
Rod Crerar was a skilful and hardened hooker, a loyal servant of the Manly club in Sydney, who became one of the rare players to represent his country without ever having played for his state.
Born and raised in Sydney, Crerar played his first rugby for the Warringah Roos (now known as the Manly Roos) and remained with the club throughout his secondary schooling at Killarney Heights High School.
After school Crerar graduated to Colts at Manly. In 1977 five future Wallabies - Philip and Mitchell Cox, Bill Calcraft, James Black and Crerar - in a side coached by club icon Barry “Tizza” Taylor, won the first grade Colts grand final with a 19-14 victory over Northern Suburbs.
Two years later Crerar made his first grade debut however opportunities at a representative level initially proved elusive given an intense level of competition from the likes of Bruce Malouf, Lance Walker and Don McDougall merely to make the Sydney side, let alone win selection for New South Wales.
In 1981, Crerar made his debut for Sydney, against Victoria (W 50-6), sat on the bench when Sydney defeated Five Nations Champions France 16-14 and was chosen as the reserve hooker in the Wallaby trials for the Seventh Wallabies tour to the U.K. Two years later Crerar was part of history when Manly, under future Wallaby coach Alan Jones, upset five time champions Randwick 12-10 to win the Shute Shield for the first time since 1950.
At the end of that 1983 season Australia undertook a short tour of Italy and France. Two Queensland Wallabies - Chris Carberry and Bill Ross - along with Walker had retired, and Malouf was to be married. As a consequence two uncapped hookers were selected - Mark McBain and Tommy Lawton. McBain made his Test debut against Italy in Rovigo and retained his spot for the first Test against Les Blues in Clermont-Ferrand. During that match a scrum collapsed and at least two of the French front row forwards kicked McBain in the head. The sickening acts fractured his skull and fluid from the brain leaked into his throat. McBain's condition was considered critical for some months afterwards. As a result Australia was only left with a lone hooker with three games still to play, including the second international. Not surprisingly coach Bob Dwyer sent an SOS for a replacement. Crerar was called onto the tour where he sat unused on the bench in Paris and then made his debut in the final match against the French Barbarians.
The following year Crerar was selected for Sydney’s tour of Italy, France and the U.K. however Lawton and McBain were paired as the hookers for the short Wallaby tour to Fiji. In fact the Lawton and McBain combination were selected for seven successive Wallaby tours through 1988.
Crerar played his 256th and final first grade match in 1993 and later remained with his beloved Manly where he coached juniors and managed grade teams.
Crerar made his debut for Australia in the uncapped 32-21 victory over the French Barbarians in Toulon.