William Joseph Marrott

  • 7Caps
  • 186Wallaby Number
PositionNo. 8 / Flanker
Place Of BirthMelbourne
SchoolBondi Public School
Debut ClubEastern Suburbs (Sydney)
ProvinceNSW
Died11 March 1970
Debut Test Match1922 Wallabies v New Zealand, 2nd Test Sydney
Final Test Match1923 Wallabies v New Zealand, 2nd Test Christchurch

Biography

Not much is known about the Marrott Brothers, William and Robert. Robert was six years older, and both played for Eastern Suburbs. The most successful was William, who recorded seven Tests and played four other times for NSW. Robert gained two Tests, which were NSW games which now count as Tests: Bill was a backrower, normally a flanker. Bill Marrott’s first appearance against a touring team was the Metropolitan Union squad against the 1922 NZ team. The game was lost 6 to 24 , but there was a single moment of glory for Marrott. Howell, et al, noted that: “The home side, although hard on defence, broke out when Jack Brown intercepted a pass and fed Bill Marrott on halfway.

The side-row man had just enough pace to reach the line, getting over in Jack Steel’s tackle.” As a result of his display he was selected in the return NSW side against NZ, not having made the first, coming into the team instead of Charlie Fox. NSW surprisingly won the match 14 to 8, and Howell, et al,wrote: “Marrott won praise for a strong debut effort, but the entire forward pack put in 80 honest minutes. This was the All Blacks’ first loss in Australia since 1910 and their first to New South Wales since 1907.” Understandably, Bill Marrott was in the third match , again won by NSW 8 to 6, two days later on a Monday. Only 5,000 were on hand to watch the encounter.

As Howell, at al, summed up: “This represented New Zealand’s first loss in any series and complete a less-than-satisfactory two years in which they had drawn the home series with South Africa 1-1, lost a one-match series to New South Wales in 1921 and now dropped the set in Sydney. The fact that the Maoris team had won the series with New South Wales only rubbed salt into the wound…” Just prior to halftime, after a passing rush by ‘Bot’ Stanley, Ted Thorn and Bill Marrott, Marrott scored, which led to the Blues leading 8-6 at halftime. Both these matches for NSW, since 1986, have been designated as Tests. In 1923 Bill Marrott was in the first game for NSW on the NZ Maori tour, won by NSW 27 to 3.

The entire NSW pack played well. Marrott was then selected for the return game , again won by NSW, 21 to 16. Again, everyone on the Blue’s team played well. He was then selected for the third game, narrowly won by NSW 14 to 12. It was a clean sweep for NSW, Marrott harassing the Maori backs. Marrott was selected to tour New Zealand in 1924, but the missing included ‘Wakka’ Walker, ‘Pup’ Raymond, John Pym, Charlie Fox, Larry Wogan and Johnnie Wallace. It was bad luck for NSW rugby, as they had been riding high. The weakened NSW team played 10 matches, winning but two and losing eight. Marrott was 23 at the time, was 6ft 1in and 13 stone 3lb.

All his matches were played at lock in the lightweight pack, whereas he was normally a flanker. He played in six of the ten matches , and scored three tries. His matches were against New Zealand, Southland, New Zealand again, Hawkes Bay-Poverty Bay-East Coast, Auckland-North Auckland and Wairarapa- Bush. It did not help when six of the players arrived on the eve of the first Test as they were doing examinations at Sydney University: Nothling, Stanley, Erby, Marrott himself, Taylor and Sheehan. This tour signalled the end of his representative career. He was credited with seven Tests (the NSW games against touring teams counting as Tests) and four non-Test caps. He played over 50 first class games for Eastern Suburbs.

William Joseph Marrott