Terrance George Curley
- 418Wallaby Number
Terry Curley was one of the youngest test capped Wallabies of all time. Curley was also one of the youngest test capped Wallabies to retire when, at just 20 years of age, he entered the Marist Brothers order. He was a magnificent fullback who did everything asked of him. He had nerve, courage and mastery of all the basic fullback skills. Renowned for his calm and poise, Curley was also a prodigious kick of the football, had effortless timing and superb running skills.
Born in Newcastle, Curley was educated at St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill where he led the 1st XV to the GPS premiership in 1955 “demonstrating excellent positional play and providing most incisive forays whenever he joined the back-line.” After school, Curley enrolled in a chemical engineering course and returned to Newcastle where he played for the Wanderers club.
In 1957 he made his debut for New South Wales against Queensland a week later fronted up against the All Blacks. Having ‘impressed greatly in the interstate series and against the All Blacks’ it came as no surprise when he was named to make his Test debut in Sydney just 12 days shy of his 19th birthday. Curley was soon chosen for the Fourth Wallabies tour to the British Isles, France and North America where he starred. Curley played in an incredible 34 matches, including all five Tests, and impressed critics throughout. The Times wrote: ”There was the stamp of greatness about the 19-year-old fullback, Terry Curley. His incisive break-through, his coolness under pressure, his safe-handling, his positional play and his courage in checking the rolling ball were characteristics of his exhilarating displays.”
Curley toured New Zealand in 1958, generated rave reviews and appeared in 12 of the 13 matches. Although not a recognised goal-kicker Curley landed the most important goal of his career came shortly before halftime in the 2nd Test to give Australia the three point lead they maintained to claim a famous victory. It is said that Curley probably never played a finer match than he did that day. He constantly defused All Black threats with outstanding defence and, using his running ability whenever possible, created problems across the park for the defence and especially when he combined with Alan Morton down the right wing. On his return to Australia Curley announced his retirement and entered the Marist order. As well as being a most able teacher, he proved a fine coach at both Marist Brothers Ashgrove and his alma mater St Joseph's.
Curley won his first test cap at fullback in the 11-25, 1st Test loss to New Zealand at the S.C.G.
Curley started all five Tests on the Fourth Wallabies tour against Wales, Ireland, England, Scotland and France.
Curley played in the 1st Test, 15-14 victory over the Maori in Brisbane but missed the remainder of that series due to an injured shoulder. He returned to start in all three away Tests against New Zealand.