Duncan Hall walks with his son Duncan Hall Jnr prior to the RLWC Grand Final in 2008.
Duncan Hall walks with his son Duncan Hall Jnr prior to the RLWC Grand Final in 2008. Contributed

Farewell to a legend

LONG before the name was born, the legend was in the making.

Early next week, the rugby league fraternity will farewell one of its greatest players after Duncan Hall, the finest rugby league player central Queensland has produced, passed away on Monday, aged 85.

Hall will be remembered at a ceremony on Tuesday, at 1pm at Pinnaroo Lawn Cemetery, Bridgeman Downs, in Brisbane's north, with everyone encouraged to attend to pay tribute.

Born Douglas Hockins on August 24, 1925, Duncan spent his early years growing up with the Duncan family in Clermont, in Central Queensland's west.

In recognition to the family that raised him, he took on their family name as his first name, and, following his mother Nell's marriage to Bill Hall, he was known as Duncan Hall.

Undoubtedly one of the toughest players to grace the rugby league field for Australia, Hall is remembered for his intimidating presence on the park.

However, to his family, he was first and foremost a father.

“He was two different people to me. As a father he was a loving and caring person and then, when it came to rugby league, there was this legend,” son Duncan Hall Jr said.

“That's not just because he made the Team of the Century or the like but because so many people can vividly recall things he did in matches so many years ago.

“When I talk to people about him there are so many that can remember specific moments straight away, and it's not as if they can look back at footage of him playing to remember.”

In a decorated 13-year career covering the entire reaches of Queensland, the rock-hard forward pulled on the beloved maroon jersey on 24 occasions between 1948-1955 and donned the Australian jersey 21 times during the same period, including Kangaroo tours in 1948-49 and 1952-53.

Hall's legendary status within the game and the quality and diversity of his playing history earned him selection in the Central Queensland, Queensland Rugby League and Australian Rugby League Team of the Century at prop-forward, announced in 2008, as part of the competition's centenary year celebrations.

Earlier that year Hall 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.

Starting in the senior ranks with Rockhampton Brothers in 1944, Hall was earmarked as a future superstar of the sport and moved south to Brisbane to further his rugby league career.

During the late 1940s and 1950s, he played for Brisbane Valleys, progressed to play for Toowoomba club Newtown and then Home Hill in North Queensland, before finishing his career with Wests in Brisbane from 1954-57.

Aside from his representative honours, Hall won the esteemed Bulimba Cup competition with both Brisbane and Toowoomba, the Brisbane Rugby League premiership, numerous President's Cups, the Pike Cup, J G Stephenson Trophy and Gunner McCook Trophy.

Every club team Hall played for in his career qualified for the finals.

Following his playing career, he went on and coached and managed representative teams, including being a co-manager of the 1977 World Cup squad and a co-manager of the 1980 Queensland State of Origin side with Brian Davies.

The iconic figure has in recent years been honoured with life membership of the QRL and the Rockhampton Senior Local Rugby League.

In 2000 Hall was awarded the Australian Sports Medal, and in 2006 he was inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame.

In 2007, the QRL unveiled The Duncan Hall Medal, which is presented in his honour annually to the best and fairest player in the Queensland Cup grand final.

Hall has four sons – Colin, Duncan Hall Jr, Bradley and Lindsay – and a daughter, Ellen.

DUNCAN HALL PLAYING RECORD

 

Australia: 21 Tests

 

Queensland: 24 matches

 

Playing Career: 1944-47 Rockhampton Brothers

1948-49 Valleys (Brisbane)

1950-52 Newtown (Toowoomba)

1953 Home Hill

1954-57 Wests (Brisbane)

Every club team Hall played for in his career qualified for the finals.



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