12 February 1933|
Wyoming, New South Wales, Australia
|Died||14 April 1987(aged 54)|
|Position||Fullback, Centre, Wing|
|1952–59||New South Wales||10||8||13||50|
|Source: Rugby League Project and Yesterday's Hero|
Brian Carlson (12 February 1933 – 14 April 1987) was an Australian professional rugby league footballer of the 1950s and 60s. He was a centre & utility back for the Australia national team. He played in 17 Tests and 6 World Cup games between 1952 and 1961, as captain on 2 occasions. He is considered one of the nation's finest footballers of the 20th century.
Carlson was a naturally gifted athlete raised in Newcastle, New South Wales. He represented at district junior cricket, played 1st Grade cricket with the Wickham club in Newcastle and was also a surf lifesaving competitor. After playing rugby league at school he was graded by the Norths Newcastle club in 1951. At age 18 he was selected to represent Newcastle against the touring French side.
In 1952 he scored two tries on representative debut for Country Firsts. He represented for New South Wales that same season against Queensland in the 2nd game of the interstate series and then against the touring New Zealanders.
He was selected in the 1952–53 Kangaroo tour as a winger. He played in two Tests against England, one against France and in sixteen minor tour games. He was highest try-scorer on the tour returning with a tally of twenty-nine.
In 1954 a rib injury rupturing his kidney threatened both his career and his life. He was close to death but recovered and sat out the 1955 season to recuperate. He returned to the field in 1956 and 1957 accepting positions as player-coach firstly with Souths Newcastle then with Blackall in Central Queensland.
He was selected in the 1957 World Cup squad despite not being contracted to a club, having left Blackall in dispute over a release. This return to representative rugby league at age 24 saw him rise to new heights. He played in three matches of the tournament, was top scorer with 28 points and named "Player of the 1957 World Cup". He also played in all three Tests in 1957 against the visiting Great Britain side.
Carlson signed a contract with the North Sydney Bears where he would stay for six years.
In 1959 Carlson played in the New South Wales loss to Queensland that attracted 35,261 spectators, smashing Brisbane's previous record for an interstate match of 22,817. He was then named Australian captain in the first Test of 1959 against New Zealand. He toured with the 1959–60 Kangaroos playing in 24 matches including two Tests and was the tour's second highest scorer behind Keith Barnes his selection rival for the fullback position.
He was the leading point scorer for Australia in the 1960 World Cup. His second honour as Australian captain came in the first Test of the 1961 tour of New Zealand. Keith Barnes was the Kangarooo captain for the 11 matches between Carlson's captaincy appearances.
He returned to Newcastle's Souths club in 1963 as captain-coach for three seasons.
After retiring from playing Carlson worked in Newcastle as a tally clerk on the wharves. He died in 1987.
In 2007 Carlson was selected by a panel of experts as a winger in an Australian 'Team of the 50s'.
In 2010 Calrson was named in a South Newcastle team of the century.
Representative matches played
|New South Wales||15||1952–1959|
- Century's Top 100 Players
- 2005 Annual Report - Australian Rugby League (p. 51)
- Goodman, Tom (28 May 1959). "Queensland beats N.S.W. in league by 17-15". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame
- AAP (1 August 2007). "Team of the 50s named". The Daily Telegraph (Australia: News Limited). Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- "Centenary of Rugby League – The Players". NRL & ARL. 23 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Leeson, John (14 June 2010). "Souths honour greatest players". The Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Brian Carlson at northsydneybears.coom.au
- Whiticker, Alan (2004) Captaining the Kangaroos, New Holland, Sydney
- Andrews, Malcolm (2006) The ABC of Rugby League Austn Broadcasting Corpn, Sydney