14 March 1961 |
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||178 cm (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||76 kg (12 st 0 lb)|
|1984–89||New South Wales||17||1||0||0||4|
|Source: NRL Stats, RLP|
Garry Jack (born 14 March 1961, in Wollongong, New South Wales) is an Australian former rugby league footballer and coach. He was a representative in the Australian national team and star player with the Balmain Tigers. Jack was a Fullback for the Tigers during the late 1980s and early 1990s, under the captaincy of Wayne Pearce and the coaching of Warren Ryan. A talented defender with the pace of a winger, Jack also represented the New South Wales State of Origin side on 17 occasions.
His junior football was played in Wollongong with Wests Illawarra and in 1980 he was graded with them. He trialled with the Western Suburbs Magpies in 1981 and debuted in first grade in the latter part of that season aged 20.
He was sought out by Balmain Tigers club secretary Keith Barnes and persuaded to join Balmain who were putting together a side that featured young up and comers who would later star for the club, state and country such as Wayne Pearce, Benny Elias and Jack's fellow Wests Illwarra junior Steve "Blocker" Roach.
His association with English rugby league began at the end of the 1986 Kangaroo tour when he stayed on to play for Salford before returning to the Tigers. He was member of the consecutive Balmain sides which fell at the final hurdle to firstly Canterbury-Bankstown in the 1988 Grand Final and then to Canberra in 1989.
1991 saw the departure of Warren Ryan as Balmain coach and the arrival of former Wallaby coach, Alan Jones. The years playing under Jones at Balmain were unhappy ones for Jack and eventually after he had left the club in 1992 took the extraordinary step of writing a letter to Rugby league Week expressing anti-Jones sentiment and alleging favouritism played and the existence of a Jones 'inner circle' in the club.
His final Balmain game at Leichhardt Oval in 1992 saw 17,365 mostly Tigers fans come out to pay homage to him and other retirees Steve Roach and David Brooks. When his Australian club career ended having surpassed Keith Barnes' club record for first grade matches, he returned to England to play his final season with the Sheffield Eagles.
After accepting a manager-coach position with Salford, Jack was relieved from the coaching duties before being sacked as club manager in early 1995. This saw him return to Australia that year to help out the struggling Sydney Tigers (Balmain) side. He was somewhat slower and according to some past his prime, but unquestionably a Tigers man through and through, who aided the club in a difficult period.
In the 1984 State of Origin series Jack made his New South Wales debut and played in all three games of that year's series. He was thereafter the Blues' first choice fullback for the next six years, aside from the 1987 fourth game exhibition match in Los Angeles when he made himself unavailable, and game I of 1988 when Cronulla's Jonathon Docking was preferred.
In 1984 he also made his international debut in the three match Ashes series against Great Britain. For the next four years, he reigned supreme as the number one fullback in the world. He played twenty successive Tests (nine versus Britain, seven against New Zealand and two each against France and Papua New Guinea) as well as the 1998 World Cup final against New Zealand and the Bicentenary International against a Rest of the World side.
On the 1986 Kangaroo tour Jack played in all six Tests and seven minor Tour matches. He became the first Australian fullback to score three tries in a Test in a brilliant performance against France in the second Test. On 20 July 1988 Jack played for Australia in their record 62-point win over Papua New Guinea, scoring a try. After Jack broke an arm in a 1989 pre-season match the door opened for his great State of Origin rival Queenslander Gary Belcher who from that point was the favoured Australian representative for the fullback position.
In 1986 Jack was honoured with the Golden Boot Award as the finest rugby league player in the world at that time. This highly respected honour is awarded to the world's rugby league players by Rugby League World magazine. Jack is one of only four fullbacks to have won the award since its inception in 1984, the others being Darren Lockyer (2003), Anthony Minichiello (2005) and Billy Slater (2008).
During the 1989 Grand Final, Jack was labeled as one of the "smartest defensive fullbacks around" by former dual rugby international and television commentator Rex Mossop after stopping a certain try by Canberra winger Matthew Wood by tackling him over the sideline just before Wood was able to place the ball down.
In 2005 he was honoured by Rugby League Week one of the 25 greatest ever New South Wales State of Origin players.
Jack received another accolade at the Balmain Tigers inaugural Hall of Fame dinner in March 2005. Before a large gathering of Tigers greats and supporters Jack received his place in the club's history alongside Wayne Pearce, Keith Barnes, and Peter Provan.
Garry has now transferred to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts, He is a Purple belt with 1 strip in Jiu-Jitsu and Brown belt in MMA.
- Bill Harrigan with Daniel Lane (2003). Harrigan: the referee in a league of his own. Australia: Hachette.
- "O'Connor helps set Test records". The Age. 21 July 1988. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
- Richard Hinds (14 December 2005). "Jack of a new trade joins Swans". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 October 2008.
- Big League's 25 Years of Origin Collectors' Edition, News Magazines, Surry Hills, Sydney
- Alan Whiticker & Glen Hudson (2007). The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players. Wetherill Park, New South Wales: Gary Allen Pty Ltd. p. 261. ISBN 978-1-877082-93-1.
- Gary Lester (editor) (1983). The Sun Book of Rugby League - 1983. Sydney, New South Wales: John Fairfax Marketing. p. 12. ISBN 0-909558-83-3.