23 January 1969 |
Roma, Queensland, Australia
|Source: RLP, Yesterday's Hero|
William Carne (born 23 January 1969 in Roma, Queensland) is an Australian former rugby league footballer who played for the Brisbane Broncos from 1990 to 1996, as well as representing both Queensland and Australia. An attacking player with dangerous speed, his position of choice was wing although he was equally effective playing fullback, playing both positions for the Broncos, Queensland and Australia.
During the early 1990s, Carne was considered the best rugby league winger in the world. In 1990 he played his first season with the Brisbane Broncos' and that year he co-won the club's rookie of the year with giant fullback Paul Hauff, as well as being the clubs top try-scorer with 15. That year, he made his State of Origin debut for Queensland in the third match of the series, after only eight games in first grade. Carne was considered unlucky not to be selected for the 1990 Kangaroo Tour of Great Britain and France, but the national selectors stuck with experienced representative wingers including Andrew Ettingshausen and Broncos team mates Michael Hancock, Chris Johns and Dale Shearer
Willie Carne made his test début for Australia in the second test of the 1991 Trans-Tasman Test series against New Zealand at the Sydney Football Stadium. He crossed for a try as Australia defeated NZ 44-0. He subsequently retained his spot in the team for the final test at Lang Park in Brisbane, crossing for two tries as Australia wrapped up the series 2-1 (after losing the first test in Melbourne). At the end of the 1991 season, Carne toured Papua New Guinea with the Kangaroos, scoring 3 tries in both tests against the Papua New Guinea Kumuls.
After being overlooked for the first two tests against Great Britain during the 1992 Ashes series, Carne helped Australia retain The Ashes in the third test at Lang Park when he was called in to replace injured winger Rod Wishart. He then went on to help the Brisbane Broncos to their first premiership with a win in the 1992 NSWRL season's grand final against the St. George Dragons. A piece of individual brilliance from Carne led to the moment of the match. Midway through the second half he fielded a kick into his own in-goal area. With Dragons players converging he ran around them and easily got back into the field of play before being tackled. From there captain and Halfback Allan Langer spun the ball out to speedy Centre Steve Renouf who raced 95 metres to score.
In the weeks following the grand final Carne travelled to England where he and Broncos team mate Michael Hancock were selected as the Australian wingers in their 1992 World Cup Final victory over Great Britain at London's Wembley Stadium. He was one of seven Broncos players in the Australian side on the day with the others being Hancock, Renouf, Langer, Prop forward Glenn Lazarus and replacements Kevin Walters and Chris Johns. A week after winning the World Cup Final, Carne played for the Broncos on the wing in the 1992 World Club Challenge against British champions Wigan, with Brisbane winning 22-8 to become the first Australian club to win the match in Britain.
Carne was the 1993 Brisbane Broncos season's top try scorer, crossing the line for 17 tries, and enjoyed back-to-back premierships, playing on the wing in the 1993 NSWRL season's grand final victory, again over St. George. During the year he also played on the wing for Queensland in their 2-1 Origin series loss to New South Wales, as well as retaining his place in the test team for the mid-year three test series against New Zealand.
During the 1994 NSWRL season, Carne played at fullback for the defending premiers Brisbane when they hosted British champions Wigan for the 1994 World Club Challenge. In front of a record World Club Challenge crowd of 54,220 at the ANZ Stadium in Brisbane (the Broncos home ground since moving from Lang Park in 1993), Wigan got their revenge on Brisbane with a hard-fought 20-14 win.
Carne was named man-of-the-match in the opening game of the 1994 State of Origin series at the Sydney Football Stadium. Queensland won the match with a last second try to replacement centre Mark Coyne. New South Wales would go on to win the series 2-1. Injury then saw him miss the mid-season test against France in Sydney, while a foot injury towards the end of the season saw him miss selection for the 1994 Kangaroo Tour. Before his injury, Carne was considered by most as a certain selection for the tour. His place with the Kangaroos would ultimately be taken by his young Broncos team mate Wendell Sailor.
Early in 1995, Carne and his Broncos team mates signed for the rebel Super League during the Super League War. He then missed selection for both Queensland and Australia due to the Australian Rugby League's stance that no Super League aligned player would be selected for representative games. This saw him miss not only the State of Origin series (won 3-0 by Qld), but also the Trans-Tasman Test series against New Zealand (won 3-0 by Australia) and the World Cup in England at the end of the season, which was also won by Australia.
In his final season for the Broncos in 1996, Carne assumed the position of the club's goal-kicker as the previous goal-kicker Julian O'Neill had been sacked by the club in 1995. Carne also moved from the wing to fullback for most of the 1996 season to cover for the departed O'Neill and to allow Wendell Sailor to play on the wing full-time, with veteran Michael Hancock on the other wing. After another failure by the Broncos in the 1996 season, Carne (despite being the top point-scorer for Brisbane with 146 points that year from 59 goals and 7 tries) was one of four players along with Hancock, Kerrod Walters and Alan Cann asked by coach Wayne Bennett to leave the club since he could no longer guarantee them places in the Broncos' first grade team.
Willie Carne played a total of 136 first-grade games for the Broncos. He crossed for 73 tries and kicked 63 goals from 103 attempts (61.17%).
On 5 August 2007, Carne was inducted into the Brisbane Broncos Hall Of Fame.
Carne subsequently defected to rugby union, making his debut in a Queensland Reds trial match in 1997. Although his opening performance was described by coach John Connolly as 'a pass', Carne struggled in rugby union  and was unable to secure a place in the Reds's regular line-up. Later that season he retired from professional sport altogether.
Carne made his State of Origin debut in 1990 for Queensland. He also played at the sport's highest level, representing Australia. He enjoyed an outstanding tryscoring debut in Australia's 44-0 win over New Zealand in Sydney in 1991, and also scored in the series decider in Brisbane. Carne was also an integral part of the winning Australian team in the 1992 World Cup. He was made man of the match of the opening game of the State of Origin Series in 1994 after a strong performance, which included his scoring a try, successfully defusing a NSW bomb and having an important hand in the last-minute try which resulted in a spectacular Queensland victory.
In 1995, Carne was one of a number of players who were not considered for selection for the Origin series as a result of having signed contracts with Super League. In 1996, Carne made an Origin comeback in the third and final game after the policy of excluding Super League players was lifted. Carne played an attacking game, looking dangerous at various moments of the match with impressive runs and occasional breaks.
In the year 2000 Carne was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to Australia's international standing in the sport of rugby league.
- Queensland (1990–1996, 12 games: 5 tries, 3 goals)
- Man of the Match, Game 1 1994
- Australia (1991–1993, 9 Tests (+ 1 World Cup): 10 tries)
Brisbane Broncos Club Honours
In 2007, Willie Carne was inducted into the Broncos official Hall of Fame.
- Rookie of the Year: 1990
- Best Back: 1993
- Record for Most Tries in Consecutive Games: 8 (Cronulla, Gold Coast, South Sydney, Illawarra, St George, Canberra, Canterbury, Western Suburbs) 18 May to 13 July 1990
- 6th Highest All-Time Tryscorer: 76 (All Games), 72 (Premiership Games)
Brisbane Broncos Club Scoring Statistics
- Games: 136
- Tries: 72
- Goals: 63/103 (61.17%)
- Field Goals: 0
- Points: 414
- Willie Carne at the