Ron Willey

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Ron Willey
Ron Willey.jpg
Personal information
Full name Ronald William Willey
Born 1929
Died 24 September 2004
Playing information
Position Fullback, Centre
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1948–53 Canterbury-Bankstown 70 5 136 0 287
1956–62 Manly-Warringah 124 20 447 2 958
1963–64 Parramatta 7 1 20 43
Total 201 26 603 2 1288
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1955 Queensland 1 0 10 0 20
1956 NSW City Firsts 1 0 7 0 14
1956 New South Wales 3 0 12 0 24
1952–53 Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Coaching information
Club
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1962 Manly-Warringah 18 7 1 10 39
1970–74 Manly-Warringah 132 95 3 34 72
1977–79 Balmain 70 36 4 30 51
1980–82 North Sydney 74 31 2 41 42
1983–85 South Sydney 83 39 1 43 47
1988–89 Penrith 49 31 0 18 63
1989–90 Bradford Northern
Total 426 239 11 176 56
Representative
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1986–87 NSW City 2 2 0 0 100
1986–87 New South Wales 7 5 0 2 71
Source: [1]

Ronald William Willey (1929–2004) was an Australian rugby league footballer and coach. He was a representative for the Australian national side. Post-playing, Willey had a long and successful first grade and State representative coaching career.

Playing career[edit]

Club career[edit]

Born in Canterbury, New South Wales in 1929, Willey was graded by the Canterbury-Bankstown Berries in 1948 as a Centre, but was soon shifted to Fullback, and was the Berries regular first-grade fullback and goal-kicker from 1949 to 1953. In 1951 he was appointed captain for four games at the age of 21. He held the record as the youngest Bulldogs captain until Braith Anasta in 2002.

He joined Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in 1956 and played a total of 124 games over seven seasons for the club including their unsuccessful 1957 and 1959 Grand Final attempts. In his last season as a player at Manly in 1962, he was captain-coach. He held a record for the most points scored at Manly until overtaken by Graeme Eadie in the 1970s.

In 1962 he overtook Bernie Purcell's record for the most points scored in an NSWRFL career (1,152); Willey's eventual total of 1,288 stood as the new career record for four seasons until it was bettered by Keith Barnes in 1966.

Willey joined the Parramatta Eels in 1963 but only played seven games before retiring in 1964.

Representative career[edit]

A player of immense talent, Willey played in an era where Clive Churchill was the incumbent representative fullback, denying Willey many selection opportunities. He became the first Canterbury local international when he was selected on the 1952–53 Kangaroo tour.

After missing most of 1953 and the entire 1954 season through a serious knee injury, Ron returned to the game as captain-coach of Rockhampton and represented Queensland that year.

In 1956, Ron played two games for New South Wales.

Coaching career[edit]

Club coach[edit]

Willey returned to Manly in 1970 for a successful five season tenure as a non-playing coach.During this time he guided them to their first New South Wales Rugby League premiership in 1972 and repeated that premiership success in 1973. In this, his second coaching stint at Manly he enjoyed an extraordinary 74% win rate.

He later coached Balmain from 1977 to 1979, North Sydney from 1980 to 1982 and Souths from 1983 to 1985 but was unable to repeat premiership success.

Willey coached English side Bradford Northern for a short stint and led them to the Premiership final and success in the Yorkshire Cup in 1989–90.

He coached for a total of 17 seasons and 403 matches.

Representative coach[edit]

Willey also coached New South Wales to the first ever clean sweep of a State of Origin series against Queensland in 1986.

Personal life[edit]

Willey's grandson is professional rugby league player Anthony Don, a fullback/winger who plays for the Gold Coast Titans.[2]

References[edit]

Preceded by
Bernie Purcell (1959)
Record-holder
Most points in an NSWRFL career [1]

1962 (1,155) - 1966 (1,288)
Succeeded by
Keith Barnes (1966)
Preceded by
Bill Anderson
1980–1982
Coach
South Sydney Rabbitohs

1983–1985
Succeeded by
George Piggins
1986–1988
Preceded by
Ken Arthurson (1957–1961)
George Hunter (1968–1969)
Coach
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

1962
1970–1974
Succeeded by
Tony Paskins (1963)
Frank Stanton (1975–1979)
  1. ^ Heads, Ian and Middleton, David (2008) A Centenary of Rugby League, MacMillan Sydney