Trevor "Tubby" Allan
- 323Wallaby Number
Trevor Allan was the most complete Australia player when rugby resumed after World War II. Modest and unassuming, Allan was a classy centre, a superb tackler and an outstanding leader who in his early days was tagged as the game’s ‘next Cyril Towers’. Throughout his career Allan was chased by rugby league scouts both in Australia and England. When he eventually switched codes in 1950 it was regarded as rugby’s biggest defection since the great Dally Messenger. Born in Bathurst and raised in Sydney, Allan was educated at North Sydney Technical High School and in 1945 he led them to the Combined High Schools championship.
A year later Allan joined Gordon and after just six first grade matches won a position in the NSW team through ‘sheer brilliance’. He was ‘the best three-quarter on the field’ in the 30-6 romp over Queensland where ‘his hard, straight running, and ability to back up, made him the most outstanding player of the match.’ In 1946 he was one of three 19-year old centres chosen for the first post-war tour, to New Zealand. Injured in the opening match against North Auckland, Allan did not play again until the first Test in Dunedin. Unfortunately Allan ‘ricked an ankle’ on debut but not before he scored a ‘spectacular’ try off the back of a Mick Cremin opening from a defensive position.
When the All Blacks toured Australia a year later, captain Fred Allan was full of praise for Allan and described him as having ‘the makings of one of the best centres of all time.’ Allan, as vice-captain, was then one of the first chosen for the Third Wallabies tour to the U.K. and Europe. However, disaster struck in the sixth match, against Combined Services when tour captain Bill McLean fractured his left ankle. Allan went on to lead the Wallabies in all five Tests during which they did not concede a try to any of the four Home Nations. Once home Allan rejected a £2500 cash offer to play league in England with the Leeds Club. Allan said, ‘After what rugby union has just done for me, no money would tempt me to play rugby league here or overseas. I feel it my duty to put back into rugby union a portion of what it has done for me." And put back he did.
In 1949 Allan's crowning achievement came when he captained the Wallabies to their first ever Bledisloe Cup win on New Zealand soil before he was voted by the famous N.Z. Rugby Almanack as one of the five players of the year. A year later the league rumours continued to plague him as he rejected a £4,000 sign on fee from Leeds and then a £5,000 offer from a Lancashire club. In fact the speculation of Allan signing with league became so frenzied that his father put a notice on the blackboard in the Gordon dressing room “Trevor Allan has not signed, nor is he going to sign, any League contract”. A combination of thigh and groin injuries forced Allan to miss the home series against the Lions and it was no coincidence that Australia suffered two heavy defeats. Later that year, and after five dramatic years, it was confirmed that Allan had, for a record A£6,250, signed to play league with the Leigh club in England. Allan described the four-year contract as “too big to refuse. It would be like winning first prize in the Lottery and refusing it.” Leigh paid return first class fares for Allan and his soon-to-be-wife and also guaranteed to find him a job and a house (rent free) and set payments for all matches. Allan was then sensationally expelled from the union by the NSWRU due to recently adopted new rules on professionalism.
He returned home in 1954, coached Gordon’s first grade side in 1955 before he played three seasons of league with North Sydney. Allan retired in 1959 to forge a formidable career as an ABC commentator. He received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1991 in recognition of his services to rugby union. Trevor Allan played 14 Tests for Australia, 10 as captain, in a four-year international career.
Allan won his first Test cap at outside centre, paired with Paul Johnson, in the 1st test, 8-31 defeat to New Zealand at Carisbrook. In that match he became the 28th Wallaby to score a Test try on debut. Allan and Johnson also combined in the centres for the 0-20 loss to the Maori in Hamilton. Allan won a third cap, this time with Terry MacBride on his inside, in the 2nd Test, narrow 10-14 defeat to New Zealand at Eden Park.
Allan missed the first Test at home against New Zealand with an ankle injury but returned outside of debutant Queenslander Kev Bourke for the 14-27, 2nd Test defeat at the S.C.G.
He started all five Tests on the Third Wallabies tour, the first three with Max Howell (Scotland, Ireland and Wales) and the final two with Terry MacBride (England and France). In the Scotland international, Allan became the 34th Wallaby to captain in a Test match.
Allan and Jack Blomley were the centre combination for all five Tests played against the Maori (3) at home and New Zealand (2) away.