Thomas Joseph Colton
- 46Wallaby Number
‘Puddin’ Colton was one of three Colton brothers to play for Queensland. He and his brother Alf (‘Ginger’), played for Australia. Tom was mainly a flanker and a Queensland representative from 1898 to 1905 , playing 25 matches. He was the first of the Colton family to go up against international competition, as he was on a Queensland Second XV1, note sixteen, not fifteen , who went up against the New Zealand team of 1897 at the Brisbane Union Ground. Despite the extra player, New Zealand took the locals apart by 29 to 7. There were a few other Queensland luminaries in this match, such as Austin Gralton and Bob Broadfoot of the famous footballing family.
In 1899 he went up against Mathew Mullineux’s British team for Queensland at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground. To the surprise of the pundits, Queensland won by 11 to 3. His brother Alf was also in the team. In 1903, representing Toombul-Nundah, Tom went up against the touring New Zealand team, the Reds losing by 0 to 17. Howell, et al, wrote in They Came to Conquer: “The home forwards played with plenty of fire and dash until their condition seemed to give out late in the game. Frank Nicholson did enough to win a Test place and hard men like Richards, Colton and Oxlade revelled in the tough going.” He was also in the return match, won by the visitors by 28 to 0. His brother Alf was no longer in what was viewed as the top Queensland team. The following two years witnessed Tom Colton’s peak performances.
A Great Britain side toured in 1904 under captain David (‘Darkie’) Bedell-Sivright. Colton was picked for his debut Test at the SCG. Britain won handily 17 to 0, but Australia was severely damaged when Charlie White was injured in the first half, and Australia played a man short from then on. A week later Tom captained Queensland against Britain. He was now playing for Brothers. It was a 24-0 whitewash by the ‘Brits.’ He also captained Brisbane against them four days later, this time going down by 3 to 17. Then three days later he was a member, Charlie Redwood now the captain, of the Queensland team that lost 7 to 18. His performances for Queensland and Brisbane propelled him into the Test team at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground. Australia once again played in light blue jerseys with a waratah on the breast. It was another loss, 3-17, though Australia led 3-0 at the half. Once more an injury to Alec Burdon, a broken collar-bone, meant that Australia had to play a man short for the vital 20 minutes of the second half. He was not picked for the final Test at the SCG.
In 1905 Australia sent its first fully representation team overseas, to New Zealand. There were 23 in the squad, captained by Stan Wickham. There were 14 from NSW and nine from Queensland. At the time Colton would have been 31 years of age. Colton would play in only three games in the seven-match schedule, one of them as a replacement. These were Marlborough-Nelson-Buller-West Coast (lost 3-17), Wanganui-Taranaki (won 18-13, Colton scoring a try though he was a replacement) and Auckland (won 10-8), the last game.
In the Wanganui-Taranaki match, Colton replaced Cecil Murnin, who had a fractured collar-bone, just before the half. As Chester and McMillan wrote in The Visitors: “However, right on time, another good passing rush resulted in Colton crossing for an unconverted try to put the result beyond doubt.” As for the Auckland match, which Australia won, Chester and McMillan stated: “It was a noteworthy victory by the tourists, who became the first Australian side to lower the Auckland colours. The result was a fair indication of play.” It was a good way to end his international career. He had played in two Tests, and had three Australian non-Test representative matches to his credit. He also played 14 matches for Queensland and captained his State.