FLASHBACK: August 1977

British international, David Topliss scored five tries for Balmain in their 43-12 demolition of Newtown at Henson Park in Sydney.

Topliss, born and bred at Wakefield in West Yorkshire, joined Sid Goodwin, Arthur Patton and Bob Lulham in having scored five tries for Balmain.

On the 1982 Kangaroo tour, Topliss was recalled from a mid-season break in Spain to reinforce the besieged Great Britain side in the Third Test at Headingley, Leeds, and was named captain.

The Kangaroos had won the first two Tests convincingly – at Hull and Wigan, but Hull FC, with Topliss the five eighth and skipper, had given the tourists an almighty fright, before going down 16-13. A win in the Headingley Test would see the Max Krilich captained Kangaroos become the first Australian side to win all three Tests against Britain in England.

Topliss played well, as did the entire British side. But Australian ran away with things in the second half against a 12 man outfit, with young British forward, Lee Crooks given his marching orders.

The last time I met David was 2006, when he was following the Great Britain side on their Tri-Nations tour of Australia. I remember him playing touch football on the beach at Surfers Paradise and looking as fit as the time when he represented his country. On June 16, 2008 Topliss died from a heart attack, aged 58, while playing five-a-side soccer.

David Topliss

David Topliss

One response to “FLASHBACK: August 1977

  1. This is the only time a five-eighth (or halfback) has ever scored five tries in an NSWRFL/NSWRL/ARL/NRL game. It was also the last occurrence of five tries in a game by one player until Andrew Ettingshausen scored five tries in the last round of 1989, and the first and still only case by an Englishman.

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