Thomas Drummond Perrin
- 273Wallaby Number
Tom Perrin was a young, giant of a number eight who enjoyed a meteoric rise to Test rugby in the early 1930s. At 6ft. 3in and the best part of 16st. Perrin’s splendid physique made him a tower of strength in the lineout and a force with which to be reckoned in the scrum. Born in Sydney, Perrin was educated at Newington College where he played a few games in both 2nd and 3rd XVs but left before his senior year. After school he joined the Northern Suburbs club where he shot to prominence in the 1931 season.
In a matter of months Perrin was promoted to first grade, played his first senior representative match, for New South Wales against Queensland and then ran out for a Test debut against the Maori on the Wallaby tour of New Zealand. He held his spot for the one-off Test against New Zealand following which the local press commented that ‘Perrin was one of the outstanding forwards, not only in the Australian team, but on the ground’.
A year later Perrin showed as something of an activist at Norths’ annual general meeting when he made an ultimately successful appeal for the adoption of a club badge to be worn on the famous red and black jerseys. He then tore a tendon in his knee during a pre-season trial and by the time he returned was left with just a handful of games to stake his claim for further representative honours. Unfortunately he left his run too late as Max White and ‘Weary’ Dunlop were selected for the home series against New Zealand. Perrin did manage to fight his way back into calculations for the subsequent trials for the 1933 tour to South Africa. He appeared in the final, key trial for New South Wales against The Rest however White, Aub Hodgson and Wal Mackney were chosen ahead of him in the touring party. Perrin moved to Victoria and played the 1933 season with the Melbourne club.
Selection in the state team soon followed and he debuted, coincidentally, against the Australian side that stopped in Melbourne on their way to South Africa. Perrin returned to Norths in 1934 and played for New South Wales against New Zealand but suffered an injury that then ruled him out of Test consideration. Early in 1935 Perrin’s employer, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, transferred him to Townsville in North Queensland. He later relocated to the Gold Coast and flourished as an eminently successful real estate developer.
Perrin won his first Test cap at No. 8 in the 14-3 victory over the Maori in Palmerston North. He remained at No. 8, in a back-row that included Len Palfreyman and Jim Clark, in the 13-20 loss to New Zealand at Eden Park.