Wally Lewis

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Career Stats & Summary

Vital Statistics

Full Name
Wally James Lewis
Nickname(s)
The King
Born
Tuesday, 1st December, 1959
Current Age
54 years and 140 days
Place Of Birth
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Awards & Accolades

1984
Golden Boot Award
1988
Dally M Five-Eighth Of The Year
1988
Harry Sunderland Medal

Known Family Links

Brother
Heath Lewis
Brother
Scott Lewis

Biography

One of the most spectacularly talented and controversial players in the history of the game the career of Wally Lewis may have divided the League world in its devotion of him but there was no denying his genius at five-eighth. A member of the 1977 Australian Schoolboys RU side which toured Europe (launching the careers of Michael O'Connor, Tony Melrose and the Ella brothers) Lewis immediately switched to League and played with Brisbane Valleys from 1978-83 before moving to Wynnum-Manly (1984-87). He made his state debut as a halfback in 1980 before being selected as lock in Queensland's inaugural State of Origin team. Lewis went on to captain the Maroons in 22 consecutive matches, with the 'State of Origin' concept riding on the back of his ability to motivate an entire state behind him. At times blunt and outwardly abrasive NSW fans enjoyed, at best, a love-hate relationship with him. He made his Test debut against France in 1981 but NSW critics panned his performance. Despite being named vice-captain of the 1982 Kangaroos he failed to gain a place in the Test teams and was used mainly as a reserve player. Lewis' stay with Wakefield Trinity in England in 1983-84 was deemed unsuccessful but when he took over as Australian captain in 1984 he went on to be one of the best the code has seen, captaining his country in 23 consecutive Tests. His efforts were often inspirational - turning the Third Test at Wigan in 1986, playing brilliantly in a losing side in the Third Test in Sydney in 1988, or smashing his forearm in the final of the World Cup in 1988. In 1985 he was the inaugural winner of the Adidas 'Golden Boot' award for best player in the world but critics said that he had not yet proven himself in the Sydney competition. 'King' Wally was revered in Queensland and the QRL moved quickly to block moves by Manly to sign him in 1986. With the advent of the Brisbane Broncos in 1988, however, grand final success looked a formality but things went terribly wrong for Lewis. After beating NSW 3-nil in both the 1988-89 series and touring NZ with the Australian side, a broken fore-arm led to his losing the Test captaincy to Mal Meninga for the Test against France in Parkes in 1990. In a controversial decision Lewis was then ruled unfit to lead the Kangaroos, despite having a medical clearance, thereby missing the opportunity to surpass records held by Clive Churchill (captain 24 Tests) and Reg Gasnier (played 36 Tests). He handled the disappointment tactlessly; citing a conspiracy by selectors to protect the records, although he later retracted the allegation. Then, Brisbane dumped him at year's end after already relieving him of the club captaincy. Lewis turned out for the G’Coast in 1991, drawing good crowds to the fledgling club and like a true champion, leading Queensland to an emotional series win before announcing his retirement after 29 State of Origin matches (28 as captain and 8 man-of-the-match awards). He won back his Test spot (but not the captaincy) for the First Test against NZ in Melbourne but fans did not see the ‘Lewis’ of old and he was one of the first players sacked after Australia's shock defeat. Despite achieving the personal milestone of being the G’Coast club's first Test player Lewis took on the daunting role of captain-coach in 1992 (the last player in the modern era to carry such a position) with the club finishing with the wooden spoon for the second successive year. Retiring as a player he stood down as coach following a third straight wooden spoon in 1993, and consecutive losses as coach of Queensland's State of Origin side led to his dumping in 1994. Later a commentator with Channel 9 and FoxSports, Wally Lewis will be remembered as one of the most competitive captains Australian sport has seen in any code. However, if there is one regret to his career it is the fact that NSW spectators did not accept him for what he was - a champion, warts and all. In 1999, Lewis’ name was belatedly added to list of post-war ‘Immortals’, joining Churchill, Raper, Fulton, Beetson, Gasnier and also Graeme Langlands, at the apex of the game’s greatest players. Biography; Forever the King (2004).

- 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 1981-89, 1991 34 11 -   2 45 29 5 0 85.29% Match list
Overall 1981-1991 34 11 0   2 45 29 5 0 85.29% Match list

International Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Australia 1981-1988 2 2 4   - 15 2 0 0 100.00% Match list
Overall 1982-1988 2 2 4   0 15 2 0 0 100.00% Match list

World Cup Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Australia 1981-1989 9 5 -   - 20 7 2 0 77.78% Match list
Overall 1985-1989 9 5 0   0 20 7 2 0 77.78% Match list


Representative

Australia - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Brisbane Firsts 1979, 1981, 1983 3 1 -   - 3 0 3 0 0.00% Match list
QLD Firsts 1979-81 4 - -   - - 0 4 0 0.00% Match list
Queensland 1980-91 34 10 2   2 44 21 13 0 61.76% Match list
Overall 1979-1991 41 11 2   2 47 21 20 0 51.22% Match list


Club Career

Australian League Matches - By Year

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Brisbane NSWRL 1988 19 15 8 / 16 50.00% - 76 13 6 0 68.42% Match list
Brisbane NSWRL 1989 18 4 2 / 8 25.00% - 20 13 5 0 72.22% Match list
Brisbane NSWRL 1990 9 1 1 / 1 100.00% - 6 5 3 1 55.56% Match list
Gold Coast NSWRL 1991 14 3 2 / 4 50.00% - 16 1 12 1 7.14% Match list
Gold Coast NSWRL 1992 20 3 1 / 7 14.29% - 14 6 13 1 30.00% Match list
Overall 1988-1992 ? 26 14 / 36 38.89% 0 132 ? ? ? ?  

Australian League Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Brisbane 1988-90 46 20 11 / 25 44.00% - 102 31 14 1 67.39% Match list
Gold Coast 1991-92 34 6 3 / 11 27.27% - 30 7 25 2 20.59% Match list
Overall 1988-1992 ? 26 14 / 36 38.89% 0 132 ? ? ? ?  

Australian Finals Matches - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Brisbane 1988-1990 1 - -   - - 0 1 0 0.00% Match list
Overall 1990 1 0 0   0 0 1 0 0.00% Match list

English League Career - By Year

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Wakefield Trinity Championship 1983/84 ? 4 -   - 16  
Overall 1983-1984 ? 6 0   0 24 ? ? ? ?  

English League Career - By Team

Team Years App T G   GK % FG Pts W L D Win %  
Wakefield Trinity 1983-84 ? 6 -   - 24 ? ? ? ?  
Overall 1983-1984 ? 6 0   0 24 ? ? ? ?  

Your Say

Anonymous says: just brillant (16/08/2011)

Anonymous says: the last comment stated "just brilliant".....you know what, he was better than that!! (22/04/2012)

Queenslander says: No words can describe the king (01/06/2012)

matt geiger says: best ive ever seen (23/07/2012)

Want to have your say about this player? Add a comment.

 

Last modified: Mon, 09 Dec 2013 06:08:07 +1100 (Sydney time)