Ray Price (rugby)
|Full name||Raymond Alan Price|
|Nickname||Mr Perpetual Motion|
4 March 1953 |
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|1978–84||New South Wales||15||6||0||0||18|
Ray Price OAM, is an Australian former dual-code international (rugby union and rugby league) footballer. He was nicknamed 'Mr Perpetual Motion' for his hard, intimidating style of play in league at lock forward. Price played rugby league for Sydney's Parramatta Eels club with whom he won four NSWRL premierships, a Dally M Medal and a Rothmans Medal. He also played in State of Origin for New South Wales. Price is also a bowel cancer survivor and an ambassador for Brown Ribbon Day.
Son of former North Sydney Bears player Kevin Price, and nephew of Norths and Manly-Warringah player Peter Diversi, Ray Price began his career playing rugby union for Junior Club Dundas Valley, played senior rugby union for the Parramatta Two Blues and represented the Wallabies in 8 tests, as flanker/breakaway, between 1974 and 1976, scoring 4 tries. One of these was against the New Zealand All Blacks, when, following a wayward penalty kick, Price wrested the ball from an in-goal defender, and scored. During the 1975 England rugby tour of Australia, Price was so intimidating off the back of the lineout, that English flyhalf Alan Old stood >20 metres from the scrumhalf.
After this, Price moved to play rugby league for the Parramatta Eels and was an instant sensation with his courage and high work rate. Although Parramatta lost the grand final that year, Price played consistently well throughout, and he only improved in the following three seasons, maintaining his form even in the fiery and successful assault of the St. George pack in the 1977 Grand Final Replay (which Parramatta lost 0–22). Despite being controversially sent off in the 1978 minor semi-final, it was no surprise when Price was chosen to go on the 1978 Kangaroo tour.
In July of that year his international rugby league début in the 2nd Test against New Zealand in Brisbane saw him become Australia's 36th dual code rugby international following Geoff Richardson and preceding Michael O'Connor.
1979 proved to be Price's finest year, for he won the Rothmans Medal and the Rugby League Week Player of the Year awards and was established as the premier Loose Forward/Lock in Australia, a place he was to hold until the middle 1980s. Although his form at club level never reached quite the same standard of his first four seasons, his high work rate and chasing of Peter Sterling's kicks made Price an integral part of Parramatta's hat-trick of premierships in 1981-1982-1983. Though he had been superseded by Wayne Pearce of the Balmain Tigers (who had been moved into the second row in test and NSW teams since 1982/83) as Australia's premier Loose Forward/Lock, Price was still at his best in 1985, winning the Dally M Lock of the Year for the fourth successive year and the Rugby League Week Player of the Year award for the second time. That same year, Price became the first rugby league player to win the Order of Australia Medal (OAM).
With Parramatta winning their second premiership in succession, Price was an automatic selection for the 1982 Kangaroo Tour. Coached by Frank Stanton, the 1982 Kangaroos went through their tour of Great Britain and France undefeated, becoming the first Kangaroo touring side to achieve the feat. As a result, the 1982 Kangaroos became known as The Invincibles. Price played in the first two Ashes tests against Great Britain and was named Man of the Match in the Kangaroos 27-4 win in the second test at Wigan's Central Park ground. A knee injury would keep him out of the final test against the Lions at Headingley in Leeds as well as the two test series against France. He also played in the pre-tour test against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby. Australia won its first ever test against the Kumuls 38-4.
Following the retirement of incumbent NSW and Australian captain Max Krilich in 1983, Ray Price was given the captaincy of NSW for the 1984 State of Origin series. Although Queensland won the series 2-1, there was a strong public push, especially within the Sydney media and from the NSWRL, for Price to be named as Australian captain for the upcoming Ashes series against Great Britain. However, with a view to the future, the Australian Rugby League named Queensland captain (and vice-captain of the 1982 Kangaroos) Wally Lewis as the new test captain. Price retired from representative football following the final test of the 1984 Ashes series, played in front of 18,756 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Australia won the match 20-7 and the series 3-0. Following the game, Price gave his #13 (Lock-forward) jumper to Pearce in a symbol of passing the torch.
1986 was planned to be (and was) his last season with the Eels and he celebrated with an unprecedented fifth straight win of the Dally M Lock of the Year and a premiership win in the grand final.
After moving into the media with 2UE for two years, Price made a comeback at age thirty-six with English club Wakefield Trinity (Heritage #1103). He stayed for one season (1989–90) and played 25 games, scoring 6 tries. However, after one season, he sought and obtained election to the Parramatta board, but his comments about the club's decline in the early 1990s were widely criticised and he lost his place in 1994.
On 12 December 2006, Price revealed he was suffering from bowel cancer. He appeared on The Footy Show on 16 June 2007 and declared that he had beaten the aforesaid cancer. Price has been a tireless volunteer raising funds for research into Bowel Cancer. He is the public face of the Federal Government's bowel screening programme and has personally delivered bowelscreen kits to the entire 2012 Eels playing roster.
Price married into the Kellett family.
Rugby League career statistics
- Parramatta (1976–1986)
Games 258 Points 258 (78 tries – 24 after the value increased from 3 points to 4 in 1983)
- Australia (1978–1984)
Tests 22 (including Kangaroo Tours in 1978 and 1982) Points 31 (10 tries – one after value increased from 3 points to 4)
- New South Wales (1978–1984)
Games 15 (3 as Captain) Points 18 (6 tries)
- Wakefield Trinity (UK) (1989–90)
Games 25 Points 24 (6 tries)
- Rothmans Medal in 1979
- Harry Sunderland Medal in 1979
- Dally M. Medal in 1982
- Order of Australia in 1985
- Inductee, Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1992
- Australian Sports Medal on 24 October 2000
- Named in Parramatta Legends Team (Greatest Lock Forward) in 2002
- Named in Feb 2008 in the list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia.
- Awarded a statue outside Parramatta Stadium in 2009
- "Raymond Price OAM". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Peter Cassidy (2008-02-23). "Controversy reigns as NRL releases top 100 players". Macquarie National News. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- "Centenary of Rugby League – The Players". NRL & ARL. 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Whiticker, Alan & Hudson, Glen (2007). The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players. Wetherill Park, New South Wales: Gary Allen Pty Ltd. p. 609. ISBN 978-1-877082-93-1.