William Morrissey

  • 1Caps
  • 144Wallaby Number
PositionFront row forward
Date Of Birth11 October 1890
Place Of BirthBrisbane
SchoolNot known
Debut ClubChristian Brothers (Brisbane)
ProvinceQLD
Died11 September 1979
Debut Test Match1914 Wallabies v New Zealand, 2nd Test Brisbane

Biography

The 1914 Tests were to be the last before 1920, as World War 1 was declared as the Tests closed down. Many of the participants in these Tests were to be killed or seriously injured during the holocaust. There were three Tests in Australia in August 1914, against New Zealand. In the first Test, at the Sydney Sports Ground, the All Blacks won a closely contested game by 5 to 0. The jersey in the first Test was a NSW blue one with an ‘A’ on it, while for the second Test, in Brisbane, it was a maroon one with an ‘A’ on it. There were five Queenslanders in the first Test, hooker David Williams, second rower Paddy Murphy, flanker John Thompson, Eric Francis and Jimmy Flynn.

In the second Test, at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, on 1 August 1914, won 17 to 0 by New Zealand, there were eight Queenslanders representing Australia. Sydney props Harald George and Willie Watson withdrew, so they were replaced by two Brothers’ players, policeman Sam Kreutzer and Bill Morrissey. The biggest surprise of all was the choice of Jimmy Flynn as captain. It may have been in deference to the fact that Flynn was the Queensland captain, as the Test was played in Brisbane, or perhaps he was voted in by the Queensland majority. The team would vote for the captain in those days. Fred Wood had been very successful in the Sydney Test and he was the captain there, so he must have been nonplussed.

Flynn became Australia’s youngest-ever captain, being at the time 20 years and 39 days. He would play 17 times for Queensland, and was captain in 11, against Great Britain, NSW, the All Blacks and the Maori. The team in the Brisbane Test was Larry Dwyer, Eric Francis (Q), Jimmy Flynn (capt.,Q), Larry Wogan , Ernest Carr, Bill Tasker, Fred Wood, Harold Baker, Roland Birt (Q), John Thompson (Q), Paddy Murphy (Q),Doss Wallach, Bill Morrissey (Q), David Williams (Q), Sam Kreutzer (Q).Six of the scrum were from Queensland. Morrissey was not selected for the final Test, changes being made as a result of the loss, so this was his only international representation.

He played for Brothers in Brisbane, and they were so strong in those years that they had both an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ team entered in the Brisbane competition. The teams were supposedly of equal strength. The ‘A’ side was led by Hughie Flynn and included Morrissey, whereas the ‘B’ side was captained by Bill Swenson. Though war was declared in 1914 almost the same time as the third Test, and NSW abandoned play mid-April 1915, Brisbane kept playing in 1915. In the annual Toowoomba clash, according to Ian Diehm, Brisbane had seven internationals in the team, Flynn, Francis, McMahon, Morrissey, Kreutzer, Murphy and Thompson, and these were all chosen for a South Queensland team that toured Central and North Queensland. It was in 1916 that Queensland ceased club competition and this ended the career of Bill Morrissey.

William Morrissey