Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:11): It is with sadness that I rise to speak of the passing of Brian ‘Chicka’ Moore and to pay tribute to his enormous contribution to Rugby League in this nation and particularly in the inner west of Sydney. Brian passed away this week at the age of 70, after a long illness. Brian was very much a passionate Rugby League man. Many people know that I am passionate about my support for South Sydney. Brian was just as passionate about his support for and participation in the Newtown Rugby League Football Club. When he began playing for them they were, of course, the ‘Bluebags’; they were later known as the Newtown Jets.
Brian was a devastating player. I never missed a Newtown versus South Sydney game on the hill at Henson Park. One of the great experiences for kids was old-school footy at Henson Park in Marrickville, in my electorate. The King George V stand fitted hundreds of people, but there were thousands standing around and sitting on the grass watching Rugby League when Newtown had a home game.
Brian was a tall, hard-running centre with strength and speed. He did play for Australia, but many good judges argue that he would have been a permanent fixture in the test team were he not a player in the same era as people like Reg Gasnier, Graeme Langlands, Paul Sait and a range of very good players who kept him out of the test team. But he did play for New South Wales between 1963 and 1970, and he toured with the Kangaroos in the 1967-68 tour. He did not play any tests on that tour, but he was Australia’s top try scorer—a remarkable feat, given that he did not play in the test. Later he became Newtown’s last first grade coach in 1983 when they left the main competition. Newtown still play in the New South Wales Cup and are still followed by many loyal supporters. It is still a good day at Henson Park watching Newtown go around.
Brian was also a police officer, as many of the Rugby League greats of that era were. They did not get paid well enough to have Rugby League as their full-time job—so they had other jobs. He was a police officer and he was a mentor of many younger people coming through. Indeed, in 2008 he was inducted into the New South Wales police team of the century and in 2009 he was awarded the New South Wales Police Medal for diligent and ethical service during his time in uniform. One of the obituaries on the Newtown website says:
Arguably the finest moment of his career came in 1973 when he almost single-handedly helped Newtown to a remarkable comeback win over St George in the final of the 1973 Wills Pre-Season Cup.
‘Newtown were down 15-2 at halftime and the heat was horrendous,’ says respected rugby league historian Terry Williams.
‘They won 17-15 and that was largely on the back of Chicka. He basically took St George on on his own. In attack he cut the Dragons to pieces out wide and when they had the ball he became a road block.
Chicka Moore was a great character. He very prematurely, at a young age, became bald and his figure stood out on the field. As a young man in his 20s he played 173 games for Newtown and scored 90 tries, and he was a great player and a great character in Newtown. I pay my respects to his family and all of his friends.