Sidney Austin Riley
- 43Wallaby Number
Sid Riley was born in New Zealand in 1878 and was educated at Ponsonby and Bayfield Schools. He played for Ponsonby, before moving to Sydney to work in his brother Ollie’s furniture factory. The heavily moustachioed Ollie played for Randwick in the centres and five-eighth, and was a member of the 1894 NSW team to tour the land of his birth. He played in nine of the twelve games, including the match against New Zealand, won by the ‘Cornstalks’ 8 to 6. Unfortunately, it does not count as a Test. Ollie returned to Auckland and played for them in 1895/97/98/1900. Sid was also a centre, and was selected in the second NSW match against the 1903 New Zealand tourists, and as a result of his performance was selected for the only Test on that tour, at the SCG. This would be Sid’s sole Test, and it was an added fillip that it was against his homeland. Howell, et al, report in They Came to Conquer: “Sid Riley was a New Zealander who had played for Auckland and later returned to New Zealand; he carried on with good-class football until in his mid-30s and was a New Zealand rugby league representative in domestic matches in 1912.
Later in life Riley, who was a character around Ponsonby in Auckland, used to tell people he had played football for both Australia and New Zealand, although nobody believed him. However, it was the truth; his sojourn across the Tasman was forgotten and the fugitive appearance he made for the New Zealand league team was omitted from the record book for many years.” Sid Riley served with the NZ Army during WW1.