John Dallas Donnelly 1955-1986


  • Banned

    <big>John Donnelly</big>
    Personal information
    Full name John William Donnelly
    Nickname Dallas
    Born 1955
    Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia
    Died 22 February 1986
    Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
    Playing information
    Position Prop
    Club
    Years Team Pld T G FG P
    Gunnedah
    1975–84 Wests Magpies 144 6 6 4 34
    1984–85 Southend Invicta
    Total 144 6 6 4 34
    Representative
    Years Team Pld T G FG P
    1973–76 New South Wales 3 0 0 0 0
    1975–78 Australia 4 0 0 0 0
    Source: RLP
    John “Dallas” Donnelly (1955–1986) was an Australian professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1970s, and 80s. An Australian Kangaroos and New South Wales Blues representative, he played for the Western Suburbs Magpies between 1975 and 1984 in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership.

    Donnelly who was also commonly known by his nickname “Dallas”, referring to his size, came from the New South Wales country town of Gunnedah, representing New South Wales and winning the award for country player of the year in 1973.[1] He moved to Sydney’s Western Suburbs club in 1975 and quickly gained a reputation that grew to almost cult status for his fiery on-field play as well as his off-field larrikin persona.[2]

    With Wests, Donnelly formed part of one of the most dominant forward packs in Australian Rugby League history under coach Roy Masters in the late 1970s, earning test selection for Australia in 1978 against New Zealand. By the 1980s however, he was plagued by increasing weight problems and constant suspensions, subsequently moving to English club Southend Invicta for the 1985-1986 seasons.

    Donnelly returned to Australia in 1986 immediately after his season in England where he took on a position as Captain/Coach of the Byron Bay side. However, Donnelly who suffered from epilepsy throughout his career, drowned after suffering an epileptic seizure while surfing in the beach at Byron Bay, New South Wales.

    Donnelly was awarded Life Membership of the Western Suburbs Club after playing 150 first grade games. Former Wests coach and player Ron Watson said of Donnelly, “I’ve seen a lot of players come through this club. I’ve never known anyone as popular as Dallas.”[3] Writer Alan Whiticker described his career, “central to the heart of the Wests club.”[2]

    In 2004 Donnelly was named at prop in the Western Suburbs Magpies Team of the Century.[4]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Donnelly_(rugby_league)
    –------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Byron Bay Surf LIfe Saving Club boast of never losing anyone between the flags, he must have been outside. I was not aware of his passing.



  • They mean never losing anyone to drowning between the flags. Not much you can do if someone has a heart attack etc, that is just fate.
    Never saw him play but through his highlights he looked like a real character and hard man, similar to Blocker, not surprising that he was revered and beloved by Magpies fans.



  • @:

    They mean never losing anyone to drowning between the flags. Not much you can do if someone has a heart attack etc, that is just fate.
    Never saw him play but through his highlights he looked like a real character and hard man, similar to Blocker, not surprising that he was revered and beloved by Magpies fans.

    Great player and great bloke



  • How did you follow the magpies in the 8os and not be aware of his death?
    Legend of the club


  • ForumSupporter

    Absolute Legend…Epitomised those Magpies Teams of the 70’s/early 80’s …very sad day…the Day Dallas passed…

    Never forgotten…


  • Banned

    @:

    How did you follow the magpies in the 8os and not be aware of his death?
    Legend of the club

    I was too busy trying to save the world and in between I was building my house in Byron Bay in 86, was living on the farm 84-86. (was in vain as have now given up on the world).



  • Thanks very much for this BBF. Saw Dallas play. Surprisingly light on his feet for such a big man. Very, very tough. I’m sure there’s lots of great stories out there. Very sad.



  • Even though I was a staunch Balmain Tigers supporter,I had a mate who played for the Magpies in the late seventies and always admired the magpies team and club as a true working mans team,having said that,Dallas epitomised the team,he was hard playing,hard working and life loving …anyone who supported others teams even loved Dallas for the person he was…he will always be in most hearts for his time with us…



  • A Magpie legend, and could kick field goals as well



  • He used to jog/walk past my home regularly when he played for the Maggies. I often bailed him up for a chat & I think he welcomed the brief stop. Offered him a beer from time to time - but he never accepted. Was happy to have a drink from the garden tap though…



  • had legs like tree trunks.must have been hard to tackle.



  • Dallas won a trifecta once, using his lucky numbers, 1, 10 and 11.

    A true character of the game.



  • Dallas was the ultimate team man, loved by all but hated by Manly.

    I was at Lidcombe Oval in 1986 for the first home game of the year against Penrith and they had his jersey on a chair near the sideline. I think the whole crowd was crying when the Magpies ran past his jersey and touched it.

    Still lost the bloody game though.



  • I used to play with the Teachers Club in the late 70’s and we trained in Lidcombe on Tuesdays and Thursdays. After training we would go for a drink at the Railway Hotel and Wests would always be there after their training. Dallas would always be one of the last to leave. He was a great bloke - hard as nails on the field but a softy off it - would give the shirt off his back to someone if he thought they were doing it tough.


  • Banned

    @:

    I used to play with the Teachers Club in the late 70’s and we trained in Lidcombe on Tuesdays and Thursdays. After training we would go for a drink at the Railway Hotel and Wests would always be there after their training. Dallas would always be one of the last to leave. He was a great bloke - hard as nails on the field but a softy off it - would give the shirt off his back to someone if he thought they were doing it tough.

    The political party I was in at the time deliberately set their meetings on Monday nights to avoid the footballers at the Railway Hotel. As well I knew not to visit their for a quiet drink after working late. All the softies go to Dooleys Catholic Club now where they don’t even put the volume up for the footie or tennis.

    Great to hear that about Dallas.


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