28 February 1962 |
|Height||183 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||88 kg (13 st 12 lb)|
|Source: Rugby League Project and Yesterday's Hero|
Gary Belcher (born 28 February 1962 in Queensland) is an Australian rugby league football commentator and former player of the 1980s, and 1990s. An Australian international and Queensland State of Origin representative, he played club football in the Brisbane Rugby League premiership for the Souths Magpies (winning the 1985 Grand Final) and in the NSWRL Premiership for the Canberra Raiders (winning the 1989 and 1990 Grand Finals). Belcher's position of choice was Fullback.
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Gary Belcher was graded by the Souths Magpies in 1983, and in 1985 played for the Wayne Bennett coached Magpies in the 10-8 BRL Grand Final win over Wynnum Manly at Lang Park, alongside the Centre pairing of Mal Meninga and Peter Jackson. In 1986 he and Meninga signed with the Canberra Raiders, making his debut in Round 1 of the season against Manly-Warringah at Brookvale Oval. He also made his State of Origin debut for Queensland in 1986, the first year the Maroons lost the series 3-0. Belcher had replaced long-serving Qld fullback Colin Scott.
He won the Raiders 1986 player of the year award and was also selected for the season ending 1986 Kangaroo tour. However, as the understudy to incumbent fullback Garry Jack, he played no test matches on the tour, though he did play in ten matches on the tour scoring 6 tries. Early in the tour Belcher often joined the Channel 10 commentary team for games in which he did not play.
In 1987, Belcher again won the Raiders' player of the year award and played in the Grand Final against Manly-Warringah. Belcher kicked a goal to convert a late Chris O'Sullivan try, but the Raiders were defeated 18-8 in front of 50,201 in what was the last Grand Final played at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
In the 1988 State of Origin series, Belcher played in the Qld side that demolished New South Wales 3-0 in what was the first time two of the three series games were played in Sydney, this time at the new Sydney Football Stadium. In the 1988 Winfield Cup he was the League's top point scorer and also broke the Raiders' club record for the most points, scoring 218 (this record stood for almost thirteen years before being broken by Clinton Schifcofske in 2001). Also in 1988, after impressing for his club as well as in Queensland's clean-sweep Origin series, Belcher was called up to the Australian squad again to play in the Centenary Test match against Great Britain, playing in all three Ashes tests from the bench with Garry Jack still the Australian fullback. He also played 11 matches for English side Castleford in the 1988–89 season. Gary Belcher played Fullback in Castleford's 12-33 defeat by Leeds in the 1988 Yorkshire County Cup Final during the 1988–89 season at Headingley Rugby Stadium, Leeds on Sunday 16 October 1988.
Back in Australia in 1989, Belcher was part of the 19-14 Grand Final victory over Balmain in which he helped in his side's fightback by scoring a try. The Grand Final was famous for replacement forward Steve Jackson's try in the dying stages of extra time which gave the Raiders their first Premiership. The Raiders win also saw them become the first team to win the premiership from outside of the Sydney metropolitan area. Some judges had Belcher as their man of the match in the decider, but playing equally well was eventual Clive Churchill Medal winner Bradley Clyde. 1989 was also the year that Belcher broke the record for the most tries in a season for a fullback, scoring 17 tries in total, topping the League's try-scorers list. Following the Grand Final win, Belcher traveled with the Raiders to England for the 1989 World Club Challenge which was lost to a David Hulme inspired Widnes 30-18 at the famous Old Trafford stadium in Manchester.
During 1989 he again played in Qld's 3-0 sweep of NSW in the 1989 State of Origin series, and his good form saw him finally displace Jack as the Australian fullback for the mid-season tour to New Zealand. Badge played the custodian role in all three tests against New Zealand as Australia won the series 3-0.
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Belcher spent time on the Brisbane Broncos coaching staff until a major cleanout by head coach Wayne Bennett at the end of 2005 saw him removed. He has been a commentator for Fox Sports coverage of NRL matches since sometime before 2007.
- McCoy, John (December 2010). "Brisbane Rugby League Entertainers". Men of League Magazine, Edition 42. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
- "ACT Sport Hall of Fame Inductees". ctsport.com.au. ACT Sport. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
- Dick, Barry (2006-10-01). "Special day for Benny". The Courier-Mail. Queensland Newspapers. Retrieved 2009-12-17.