Bob Craig (rugby)

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Bob Craig
Bob Craig 1908.jpg
1908 Wallaby
Birth nameRobert Robertson Craig[1]
Date of birth(1881-09-01)1 September 1881[1]
Place of birthSydney, New South Wales [1]
Date of death5 March 1935(1935-03-05) (aged 53)[1]
Place of deathLeichhardt, New South Wales
Rugby league career
Position(s) Second rower
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1910–19 Balmain 92 (47)
State of Origin
Years Team Apps (Points)
1910–11 New South Wales 2 (0)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1910–14 Australia 7 (3)
Rugby union career
Position(s) hooker,[1] lock
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1907 New South Wales ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1908 Australia 1 (0)

Robert Robertson "Bob" Craig (1 September 1881 – 5 March 1935) was a pioneer Australian rugby union and rugby league footballer who represented his country at both sports. He was one of Australia's early dual-code rugby internationals. He was a member of the Australian rugby union team, which won the gold medal at the 1908 Summer Olympics.

All round sportsman[edit]

Prior to his rugby careers Craig was one of Australia's greatest all-round sportsmen. He won eight consecutive State swimming championships between 1899 and 1906; he appeared in four Sydney premiership winning water polo sides and in 1905 he was a member of the Balmain soccer club which that year won the Gardiner Cup, the NSW State competition.[2][3]

Rugby union career[edit]

Craig toured Britain and North America with the 1908–09 Wallabies and at the end of that tour won Olympic Gold medal in London in the team captained by Chris McKivat. On his return to Australia he joined the fledgling code of rugby league along with 13 of his Olympic teammates.

Rugby league career[edit]

His club football was played with the Balmain Tigers whom he helped to win four premierships between 1915 and 1919.

Craig made his international league debut in the First Test in Sydney on 18 June 1910. Four of his former Wallaby teammates also debuted that day John Barnett, Jack Hickey, Charles Russell and Chris McKivat – making them collectively Australia's 11th to 15th dual code internationals. This repeated a similar occurrence two years earlier when five former Wallabies in Micky Dore, Dally Messenger, Denis Lutge, Doug McLean snr and Johnny Rosewell all debuted for the Kangaroos in the first ever Test against New Zealand, he also represented Australasia.

He played in both rugby league Tests against Great Britain in Australia in 1910 and was selected on the 1911–12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain. He played 31 tour matches and scored 7 tries. He played at second row in all three victorious Tests of the tour. He is listed on the Australian Players Register as Kangaroo No.64.[4]

He returned to representative honors in 1914 playing two Tests when Australia hosted the Great Britain tourists. All up Craig played in seven rugby league Tests and thirty-five times for Australia.

Craig as a 1911 Kangaroo.

After football[edit]

He was secretary of the Balmain Tigers between 1919–1922 and was also a delegate to the NSWRFL in 1923–1924. For a period he served as a state selector. He spent some years in Inverell, New South Wales as a publican at the Royal Hotel.[5]


In the financial crises of the 1930s he suffered losses and saw a bleak future ahead. He committed suicide, hanging himself at a hospital in Leichhardt after being mentally ill for some time.[6][7] Bob Craig was privately cremated at Rookwood. He was survived by his wife Eleanor, and three children.[8]

Craig back row 2nd from left, with the 1908 Wallaby tour squad


  1. ^ a b c d e " player profile of Bob Craig". Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  2. ^ Sydney Sportsman Wed 4th October, 1905 p.7
  3. ^ The Rugby League News Sydney August 11th, 1923
  4. ^ ARL Annual Report 2005
  5. ^ Sydney Morning Herald: NOTED FOOTBALLER – Death of R.R.Carig 6 March 1935
  6. ^ Moran, Herbert (1939) Viewless Winds reproduced in The Spirit of Rugbyp184
  7. ^ The Referee,Sydney: Bob Craig's Death. 7 March 1935
  8. ^ Sydney Morning Herald: Death Notice. 9 March 1935 (page 14)


  • Whiticker, Alan (2004) Captaining the Kangaroos, New Holland, Sydney
  • Andrews, Malcolm (2006) The ABC of Rugby League, Austn Broadcasting Corpn, Sydney
  • Collection (1995) Gordon Bray presents The Spirit of Rugby, Harper Collins Publishers Sydney
  • Moran, Herbert (1939) Viewless Winds – the recollections and digressions of an Australian surgeon P Davies, London

External links[edit]