Alex Burdon

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Alex Burdon
Full name Alexander Burdon[1]
Date of birth (1879-03-31)31 March 1879[1]
Place of birth Glebe, New South Wales
Date of death 13 December 1943(1943-12-13) (aged 64)[1]
Place of death Branxton, New South Wales[1]
Rugby league career
Position Forward
Professional clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1908-10 Glebe Dirty Reds 20 (9)
National teams
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1908-09 Australia 2 (0)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position prop[1]
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
1902-04
1905-07
Glebe RUFC
Sydney RUFC
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1903
1903-07
Metropolis (Sydney)
New South Wales
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1903-07 Australia 4[1] (3)[1]

Alexander "Alex" Burdon (31 March 1879 – 13 December 1943) was a pioneer Australian rugby league and rugby union footballer - a dual-code rugby international.

He was one of the founding fathers of rugby league in Australia, representing the Kangaroos in the first 2 Tests in 1908 & 1909. He was the fourth captain of the Australian team enjoying that honour in the decider Test of the inaugural tour.

Rugby union career[edit]

Born in Glebe, New South Wales he played first grade for the district from 1902 and the following year represented Sydney then New South Wales. He made his Australian representative test debut as prop, against the All Blacks in the 22-3 victory in Sydney, on 15 August 1903

In 1904 he represented against England then toured New Zealand in 1905.

Folklore would suggest that Burdon's injury on the 1907 NSW Rugby tour of Queensland and the resultant unfairness of him having to pay his medical expenses while suffering a loss of wages, was a catalyst leading to the 1907 split away from rugby union.[2] Similar sentiments in the North of England for working class players who could not afford time off due to injury had indeed prompted the changes that formed the new "Northern Union" two years earlier. However the movement to start a rugby league competition in Sydney was already well under way before Burdon's injury.

Rugby league career[edit]

Burdon joined the newly formed Glebe Rugby League Club in 1908 and was named the club's foundation captain.

He was one of the five selectors for the Pioneer Kangaroo tour of England. He played in 25 tour matches including the first and second Anglo-Australian Test matches. Eight former Wallabies had debuted for the Kangaroos in the Matches against New Zealand earlier that year, Burdon's league Test debut in the first Test against England with Pat Walsh made them the 9th and 10th Australian dual code internationals. He is listed on the Australian Players Register as Kangaroo No. 29. [3]

In The First Kangaroos, a 1988 BritishAustralian made for TV sports film, Bluey Burdon's role was played by Philip Quast.

Playing record[edit]

Burdon (back row, 2nd from left) Pioneer Kangaroos 1908-09
Australian Test side v England 6 Jun 1932, Burdon (official) standing far left

Sources[edit]

  • Whiticker, Alan (2004) Captaining the Kangaroos, New Holland, Sydney

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Scrum.com player profile of Alec Burdon". Scrum.com. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Cunneen, Chris (2001). The best ever Australian Sports Writing. Australia: Black Inc. p. 314. ISBN 1-86395-266-7. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  3. ^ ARL Annual Report 2005