Ian Walsh

Not everyone is going to be old enough to remember his playing days, but for those that are, they would remember him as a rugby league great, a Dragons premiership winner and, of course, as an Australian test captain.

That player and person, is Ian Walsh, who passed away aged 80 after battling illness for quite some time.

Walsh tragically passed away this morning but he leaves a lasting legacy on the game of rugby league, as the only player to captain-coach his club to a RL premiership and his country to an Ashes series win, both in 1966.

Walsh was the Australian captain during the historic 1963 series, a series that saw the Australian side winning the first two tests before losing the third – with that side the first in history to win the Ashes on English soil.

Walsh is often credited for revolutionising the way hookers played the game of rugby league, introducing dummy-half running into the game.

1966 was a memorable year for Walsh, as he led his side as captain-coach to a win against Balmain in the grand final, but the following year in 1967, the tremendous run of consecutive premierships by St George came to an end, when they were defeated by Canterbury.

Playing is not all Walsh did, however, as he enjoyed a stint as the coach of the Parramatta Eels in 1971-72, before joining the Daily Telegraph as a rugby league columnist.

Walsh finished his rugby league career with 25 tests for Australia and was selected in the NSW Country Rugby League Team of the Century.

One former rugby league player who knew Walsh well, was fellow St George great Graeme Langlands, who was saddened by the passing of Walsh.

“He was a great player and a great man. I toured with him in 1967 and played under him at St George,” said Immortal fullback Graeme Langlands.

“It’s a sad day for rugby league.”

By ricky

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