Craig Gower

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Career Stats & Summary

Vital Statistics

Born
Saturday, 29th April, 1978
Current Age
36 years and 145 days
Place Of Birth
Penrith, New South Wales, Australia

Awards & Accolades

2000
Dally M Hooker Of The Year

Biography

Penrith junior (Colyton) came into grade with the reputation of being the best local product since Brad Fittler. A talented halfback and playmaker, Gower cemented the first grade hooker position during Penrith’s Super League season in order to accommodate the return of Greg Alexander. After a handful of first grade games, he was chosen in the Australian team for the ANZac Test (at age 18). In his first full season of first grade Gower represented NSW in the Tri-Series competition and went on to play in all five Tests that year - shifting to halfback on the end of season tour of Great Britain. In the absence of Greg Alexander Gower impressed at halfback with his deft ball play and ability to run the ball and take on the defence. (He scored four tries in a match against Northern Eagles in 2000 which is a rarity for a hooker). While the 1998 season was marred by injury, Gower was chosen as Australian Test hooker in the 1999 ANZac Test following the suspension of C’bury’s Jason Hetherington. The 20-year-old missed an early opportunity to play for Australia when he was sacked for misbehaviour in the week leading up to the match. While Gower admitted full responsibility for the incident, the affair was clearly mismanaged by the ARL and he wasted no time in achieving Test status at the end of the season in the Tri-Nations competition in NZ. Gower was first choice hooker in Australia’s 22-20 win over the Kiwis in the final of the competition but a knee injury kept him out of NSW’s whitewash of Queensland the following year and although chosen in Australia’s World Cup squad, coach Chris Anderson opted for Andrew Johns as the preferred rake in the final. A shoulder injury kept him out of the first State of Origin match in 2001 and although used from the interchange bench in the next two matches of the series, he was again overlooked by national selectors for the one-off Test against NZ. The 2001 season had the potential to be a complete disaster one for the young champion – contract negotiations continually stalled and destabilised the Penrith club; protracted debate over his preferred position saw his coach Royce Simmons put his career on the line in persevering to pick Gower at hooker so that he could make the Kangaroo Tour; shoulder surgery ruled him out for eight weeks; and despite Gower’s best efforts late in the season, the Panthers finished with the wooden spoon. His selection on the Kangaroo Tour was a just reward for his perseverance, while his selection at halfback in the warm-up Test against Papua New Guinea gave an indication of where his future lay. Unfortunately, Gower tore his medial ligament in the Test win against the Kumuls and was ruled out of the shortened Kangaroo Tour. In 2002 he developed his leadership skills – and perfected his kicking game – and led Penrith back from the bottom of the table to win the premiership the following year in what was an enormous personal achievement for the local junior. Gower represented Australia against NZ in 2003 – as halfback – and partnered Brett Kimmorley at five-eighth in two Tests against Great Britain on the Kangaroo Tour. His competitiveness was best exemplified when he attempted to kick a field goal to break an 8-all deadlock in the first State of Origin match in 2004 despite having injured his medial ligament again! Despite Penrith’s inability to defend its premiership (the club struggled and looked second rate when he was on the sidelines) Gower renewed his Test partnership with Kimmorley in the Tri-Nations competition but was injured in the win over Great Britain and missed most of the series. The following year Gower was recalled to the NSW team for the third match of the series (he was on the interchange bench in the Blues’ 32-10 victory in Brisbane that won the series) and represented Australia in the Tri-Nations competition but was sensationally stripped of the Penrith club captaincy (and fined $100,000 of his contract money) for his misbehaviour at a charity golf event in January 2006. By his own standards Gower’s enthusiasm for the game appeared to waver during the 2006 season (despite again playing for NSW) and injury ruled him out of the latter part of the season and Australian contention.

- ALAN WHITICKER

Career Statistics

All statistics shown in this section are based only on data available in the RLP database, and are not necessarily a complete and/or 100% accurate representation of a player's career. This information should be used as a guide only. If you see a question mark (?), it denotes that the figure is not available.

To view a list of corresponding matches, click on the Match list icon.

International

Test Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Australia (SL) 1997 5 3 -   - 12 3 2 0 60.00% Match list
Australia 1999-01, 2003-05 18 5 -   - 20 13 4 1 72.22% Match list
Overall 1997-2005 23 8 0   0 32 16 6 1 69.57% Match list

International Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Australia 1999-2003 1 1 1   - 6 1 0 0 100.00% Match list
Overall 2003 1 1 1   0 6 1 0 0 100.00% Match list

World Cup Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Australia 1999-2000 3 1 -   - 4 3 0 0 100.00% Match list
Overall 2000 3 1 0   0 4 3 0 0 100.00% Match list


Representative

Australia - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
New South Wales (SL) 1997 2 - -   - - 2 0 0 100.00% Match list
New South Wales 1999, 2001, 2004-06 6 - -   - - 3 3 0 50.00% Match list
NSW City 2002-03, 2005-07 5 - -   - - 4 1 0 80.00% Match list
Overall 1997-2007 13 0 0   0 9 4 0 69.23% Match list


Club Career

Australian League Matches - By Year

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Penrith ARL 1996 12 3 -   - 12 4 8 0 33.33% Match list
Penrith Super League 1997 20 7 1 / 1 100.00% 1 31 10 10 0 50.00% Match list
Penrith NRL 1998 13 1 1 / 2 50.00% - 6 6 5 2 46.15% Match list
Penrith NRL 1999 22 5 1 / 1 100.00% - 22 10 11 1 45.45% Match list
Penrith NRL 2000 21 6 -   - 24 13 8 0 61.90% Match list
Penrith NRL 2001 20 9 -   - 36 6 14 0 30.00% Match list
Penrith NRL 2002 23 4 1 / 2 50.00% - 18 6 17 0 26.09% Match list
Penrith NRL 2003 27 5 -   3 23 21 6 0 77.78% Match list
Penrith NRL 2004 18 6 -   1 25 12 6 0 66.67% Match list
Penrith NRL 2005 23 4 -   - 16 11 12 0 47.83% Match list
Penrith NRL 2006 15 3 -   - 12 8 7 0 53.33% Match list
Penrith NRL 2007 24 2 -   - 8 8 16 0 33.33% Match list
Newcastle NRL 2013 6 1 0 / 2 0.00% - 4 3 2 1 50.00% Match list
Overall 1996-2013 ? 56 4 / 8 50.00% 5 237 ? ? ? ?  

Australian League Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Penrith 1996-07 238 55 4 / 6 66.67% 5 233 115 120 3 48.32% Match list
Newcastle 2013 6 1 - / 2 0.00% - 4 3 2 1 50.00% Match list
Overall 1996-2013 ? 56 4 / 8 50.00% 5 237 ? ? ? ?  

Australian Finals Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Penrith 1996-2004 9 - -   1 1 5 4 0 55.56% Match list
Overall 1997-2004 9 0 0   1 1 5 4 0 55.56% Match list

All Australian Club Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Penrith 1996-07 239 57 4   5 241 120 125 3 50.21% Match list
Newcastle 2013 6 1 -   - 4 3 2 1 50.00% Match list
Overall 1996-2013 ? 58 4   5 245 ? ? ? ?  

English League Career - By Year

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
London Super League XVII 2012 26 4 24   - 64 7 19 0 26.92% Match list
London Challenge Cup 2012 3 - 3   - 6 2 1 0 66.67% Match list
London Super League XVIII 2013 14 3 -   - 12 3 10 1 21.43% Match list
London Challenge Cup 2013 2 - -   - - 2 0 0 100.00% Match list
Overall 2012-2013 ? 7 27   0 82 ? ? ? ?  

English League Career - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
London 2012-13 45 7 27   - 82 14 30 1 31.11% Match list
Overall 2012-2013 ? 7 27   0 82 ? ? ? ?  

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Last modified: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 20:46:23 +1000 (Sydney time)