Roy Milton Cawsey
- 359Wallaby Number
Roy Cawsey was yet another in the long-line of decorated Randwick halfbacks to play Test rugby however his opportunities at the highest level were limited by the presence of future Wallaby Hall of Famer Cyril Burke. Hardworking, with a long and accurate pass, Cawsey remarkably won two of his three caps at fullback when called upon to replace the injured Brian Piper on the victorious 1949 tour to New Zealand.
Born and bred in Sydney, Cawsey attended Sydney Boys’ High School where he played in the 1939 1st XV. Three years later he enlisted in the Army where he stayed until he was discharged in August of 1946 as a Sergeant in the 9 Field Regiment. During those years Cawsey represented Army against Metropolitan in 1943 and the following year played lower grade rugby league for North Sydney under the soldier rule. As he had not received any money for his league services Cawsey was reinstated by the NSWRU in early 1946 and was immediately hailed as a potential champion by Wallaby #203 Wally Meagher who said, "He's the best scrum-half we've had since Gordon Stone. I will be surprised if anyone beats him as scrum-half for the State, judging on last season's standard. In Ron Cawsey, I think we have the best Randwick half-back in ten years.”
Cawsey started all three games as NSW swept Queensland aside in the interstate series however he was then overlooked in favour of Burke and ‘Chappie’ Schulte for the tour to New Zealand. The following season Cawsey was one of seven Randwick players who won selection on the Third Wallabies tour. Unfortunately a Test debut remained elusive with Burke chosen for each of the five internationals.
Finally, in 1949, Cawsey was deservedly handed a Test debut, against the Maori in Sydney, after Burke suffered a badly bruised ankle for New South Wales in the previous weekend’s tour game. Cawsey was then chosen for the tour to New Zealand where Piper’s freak injury, he suffered a compound fracture of the upper right arm and concussion when he fell 15 feet from a hotel balcony, forced team management to make a tough decision. Cawsey, who had never before played fullback, was chosen in the custodial role for the first Test and his performances more than justified the selectors’ faith. According to press reports of the day Cawsey more than ‘footed the bill’ in Wellington and ‘added further lustre to his record’ at Eden Park as Australia swept the series and claimed the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 1934. Unfortunately a bad run of injuries, particularly fractured ribs, saw Cawsey announce his retirement from football mid- way through the 1950 season. Roy Cawsey played three Tests in a one-year international career.
Cawsey won his first Test cap in partnership with Eddie Broad in the 1st Test, 3-12 loss to the Maori at the S.C.G. Following a ‘competent’ display in what was a poor overall performance, Cawsey was retained for the second Test but then withdrew with an injury to his right thigh and Cyril Burke came in at halfback for the final two matches of the series. Cawsey won his final two caps, both at fullback, in the away Test victories against New Zealand.