Kel O'Shea

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Kel O'Shea
Personal information
Full name Kelvin Joseph O'Shea
Born 13 July 1933
Ayr, Queensland, Australia
Died 22 January 2015 (aged 81)
Redland Bay, Queensland, Australia
Playing information
Position Second-row
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1953–55 Colts (Ayr)
1955[1] Souths (Brisbane)
1956–63 Wests (Sydney) 111 30 0 0 90
1965 Maitland
Total 111 30 0 0 90
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1953–55 Queensland 8 0 0 0 0
1956,58 New South Wales 8 0 0 0 0
1954–58 Australia 20 7 0 0 21
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1965 Maitland

Kelvin Joseph "Kel" O'Shea (13 July 1933 – 22 January 2015) was an Australian representative rugby league footballer, a second-rower from Queensland whose club career was played with the Western Suburbs Magpies in Sydney. He is rated among the nation's best players of the 20th century.[2]

Club career[edit]

O'Shea first came to prominence from Queensland in 1954 when while playing for Ayr Colts he was selected for Australia. He remained in Queensland for the 1955 season but in 1956 accepted an offer to move to Sydney to join the Western Suburbs Magpies who at that time were buying up a talent roster including Arthur Summons, Harry Wells, Dick Poole and Ian Moir in their pursuit of an elusive premiership title - an approach which earned the club their tag as "the Millionaires".[citation needed]

He played in three of the Magpies' four Grand final losses to St.George: 1958; 1961 and 1963.

O'Shea left Wests for Newcastle at the end of 1963 and came out of retirement in 1965 to captain-coach Maitland in 1965. Playing in the Newcastle Grand final he converted his club's winning try after the bell as spectators invaded the field.[citation needed]

Representative career[edit]

He debuted for Australia in 1954 called into the forward pack to partner Norm Provan against the touring British Lions. Over the next four years O'Shea and Provan formed a solid partnership that saw them represent against all of the rugby league playing nations.

O'Shea first represented for New South Wales in 1956 after moving to Wests. He played against New Zealand in 1956 Trans-Tasman series and at the end of that year was selected for the Kangaroos playing in all six Tests and eight minor matches of the 1956-57 Kangaroo tour.

He played against Great Britain in the 1954 World Cup campaign and in 1957 was a member of Australia's victorious World Cup squad. All up O'Shea made fifteen Test and five World Cup appearances for his country.


In 2004 O'Shea was named at second-row in the Western Suburbs Magpies team of the century.[3]

In 2007 O'Shea was selected by a panel of experts at second-row in an Australian 'Team of the 50s'.[4]

In February 2008, O'Shea was named in the list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia.[5][6] In 2009, he was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame for his achievements in Rugby League.


Kel O'Shea died on 22 January 2015, aged 81.[7]


  • Andrews, Malcolm (2006) The ABC of Rugby League Austn Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney, AUS
  • Whiticker, Alan & Hudson, Glen (2006) The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players, Gavin Allen Publishing, Sydney, AUS
  • Kelvin O'Shea profile,; accessed 10 September 2014.


  1. ^ Kel O'Shea at the SportingPulse Homepage for Northern Division
  2. ^ Century's Top 100 Players Archived 25 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine.,; accessed 10 September 2014.
  3. ^ (2008). "Western Suburbs Team of the Century". Wests Archives. Western Suburbs Magpies R.L.F.C. Archived from the original on 21 October 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-28. 
  4. ^ AAP (1 August 2007). "Team of the 50s named". The Daily Telegraph. Australia: News Limited. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Peter Cassidy (2008-02-23). "Controversy reigns as NRL releases top 100 players". Macquarie National News. Archived from the original on 25 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  6. ^ "Centenary of Rugby League - The Players". NRL & ARL. 2008-02-23. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  7. ^