|Full name||John Henry Peard|
15 January 1945 |
Atherton, Queensland, Australia
|Height||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Weight||12 st 0 lb (76 kg)|
John "Bomber" Peard (born 15 January 1945) is an Australian former rugby league footballer and later coach. An Australian international and New South Wales representative Five-eighth, he played for the Eastern Suburbs, St George and Parramatta NSWRFL clubs in the 1960s and 1970s. Peard's nickname, 'Bomber', came from his revolutionary towering punt kick, popularly referred to as a bomb, which terrorised opposition players, especially the Fullbacks and Wingers they were aimed at. It has now became a common feature of the modern game.
Peard played in Eastern Suburbs lower grades before making his 1st grade debut in 1966. That year the Roosters failed to win a game. But the Roosters enjoyed more success over the next few years under the coaching of Jack Gibson. They reached the Semi-finals in 1967 and 1968.
In 1974 Peard, along with coach Jack Gibson, rejoined the Roosters for one of the most successful periods in the club's history. He was a key figure for the Roosters, winning back to back premierships in 1974 and 1975, and they were also a winner of mid-week and pre-season cups. In Easts 38–0, 1975 premiership victory over St George, Peard kicked 7 goals. At the end of the 1975 season Peard was selected to represent Australia in that year's Rugby League World Cup, scoring a try in Australia's 25-0 thumping of England at Headingley in Leeds.
Peard joined the Parramatta Eels in 1976 and was named 'player of the year' that season, helping the club to its first ever Grand Final appearance where they faced one of the power teams of the 1970s, Manly-Warringah. His "bomb" came into play early in the Grand Final as Manly winger Tom Mooney dropped a bomb over his tryline leading to a try by Eels winger Jim Porter. Unfortunately for Peard and the Eels, the clubs first premiership eluded them as Manly ran out 13-10 winners.
Parramatta made their second Grand Final in succession in 1977, this time facing Peard's former team St George. It was to be the first drawn Grand Final in premiership history with the scores locked at 9-9 at full time. The replay was a disaster for the Eels as the Dragons ran riot, winning 22-0.
By 1978, injuries had begun to take their toll and John Peard retired at the end of the 1979 season.
Peard moved on to coach Parramatta, Penrith Panthers, and became the coach of New South Wales for the 1988 State of Origin series, though he had the misfortune to run into a red-hot Queensland team and NSW lost the series 3-0 despite having home ground advantage for the first time since the Origin concept became a series in 1982. Peard was later the assistant coach, then officially the first grade 'co-coach' alongside Mark Murray at the Sydney Roosters during 1993-94.
Peard also worked for the ABC as a rugby league commentator, most notably alongside Warren Boland and Arthur Beetson. This usually involved being the sideline caller of Saturday afternoon NSWRL games, for which the ABC had the live TV coverage rights for decades until the advent of the Super League War in 1995. Peard was famous for his humorous rapport with Boland, and in particular former teammate Beetson.
Peard is a life member of the Eastern Suburbs club. The John Peard Cup, which commenced in 2004, was named in his honour.
Peard suffered a life-threatening stroke in 2002 and he documents his rehabilitation in his autobiography Fine Thanks Mate: John 'The Bomber' Peard on Football, Life and Second Chances, released in April, 2007. As part of the book promotion he appeared on The NRL Sunday Footy Show on 1 April 2007.
- "World Series". Rugby League Week. Rushcutters Bay, NSW: Rugby League Week Pty Ltd (1975–1976): pg 85.
- "Sydney Roosters and St. George honour former great". Rleague.com. 1 July 2004. Retrieved 1 April 2007.
- "Book Description". ABC Shop. Retrieved 1 April 2007.
- Peard, John; Writer, Larry (2007). Fine Thanks Mate: John 'The Bomber' Peard on Football, Life and Second Chances. Sydney, New South Wales: ABC Books. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-7333-2103-0.