The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) will next week induct six legends of the game into the Queensland Rugby Hall of Fame, including the first female player and the first coach.
Former Wallaroos captain Selena Worsley and Queensland’s most famous coach Bob Templeton will join the Hall of Fame along with Bill McLean of the famous McLean dynasty, Queensland’s first 100-cap player Stan Pilecki, 1960s flanker Jules Guerassimoff and two-time Super-rugby winning captain Peter Slattery.
The six will be inducted in a special presentation at next Friday’s Queensland Rugby Long Lunch at the Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre, which will also celebrate the 1991 Rugby World Cup-winning Wallabies.
The Queensland Rugby Hall of Fame honours players and coaches who have made a contribution to the game in the State. The new inductees join an honour roll of 17 existing members stretching back to 1893.
QRU Chair Brett Clark said the six new inductees had all made a lasting impact on the game in the eras in which they played.
“You know you’ve got it right when every single inductee begs the question of why weren’t they inducted already,” he said.
“In the case of Bob Templeton and Stan Pilecki, we already have the Bob Templeton Cup played for between Queensland and NSW, and the Stan Pilecki Medal for the best Reds player.
“Bill McLean’s family had the original stand at Ballymore named in their honour and the new McLean Stand now under construction will be similarly named.
“The Hall of Fame induction is further lasting recognition of their contribution, as well as an overdue recognition of the outstanding contributions of Jules Guerassimoff, Peter Slattery and Selena Worsley.”
Worsley will be the first woman added to the Hall of Fame.
“Selena was a pioneer in women’s rugby and captained the Wallaroos to two Women’s Rugby World Cup championships, as well as a dual-code player for women’s State of Origin,” Clark said.
“Inductees need to have been retired from the professional game for more than five years, so Selena was one of the first pioneers of the women’s game we could induct and was an unanimous choice.
“Peter Slattery was also an unanimous choice from the modern era – he captained Queensland in back-to-back Super Rugby titles in the 1990s and was a Rugby World Cup winner in 1991.
“And Jules Guerassimoff is undoubtedly one of the most popular choices for the Hall of Fame. He remains a larger-than-life character in a game that has produced many of them. He was a true legend of the game and until overtaken by Stan Pilecki more than a decade later was the highest capped Queensland player.
“Pilecki was probably the only player of that era who could compete with Jules as a character – both refugees and hard men on the field. Stan was the first Queenslander to reach 100 caps and while a late-blooming Wallaby was renowned as the ultimate team man.
“Bob Templeton is the first inductee to have never played for Queensland and was selected on the basis of his stellar coaching record, which included 233 games as Queensland coach and as assistant coach of the Wallabies in 1991.
“Bill McLean is best remembered as part of a rugby dynasty, which included his father Doug senior, his son Peter and his nephew Paul, who was an inaugural inductee into the Hall of Fame. What is not as well-known was his bravery off the pitch – having been selected for the 1939 Wallabies who never played due to the Second World War, he immediately joined up as a commando who parachuted behind Japanese lines in Borneo.”
The selection panel included existing Hall of Fame members Andrew Slack and Tim Horan, rugby writer Jim Tucker, rugby historians Reg Roberts and Scott Oakhill and Wallaroos Vanessa Bradley and Emilee Barton (nee Cherry). The panel chose six inductees to catch up from a hiatus due to coronavirus. A maximum of three inductees a year are usually chosen.
The induction will be the highlight of next Friday’s Queensland Rugby Long Lunch at the Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre. Guerassimoff, Slattery and Worsley will be in attendance, while the late Pilecki, Templeton and McLean will be represented by their families.
Hall of Fame Inductees – Biographies
Jules Guerassimoff – University and Rockhampton Grammar School
The son of White Russian refugees, Wallaby no. 490 and Queensland no. 745 Jules Guerassimoff grew up in Rockhampton and debuted for Queensland in 1962. He was capped 12 times for the Wallabies and 72 times for Queensland. A punishing flanker, one of his most memorable games came in the 1963 Wallaby trials when he was shifted to fly-half mid-game to cover an injury – and promptly scored two tries in five minutes. He debuted for the Wallabies in 1963 against South Africa at Newlands, starring in a shock 9-5 victory.
Bill McLean – GPS and Brisbane State High School
Wallaby no. 332 and Queensland no. 523 Bill McLean was selected as a backrower in the ill-fated Wallaby tour of August 1939 which did not play a game due to the outbreak of war. He served as a Captain in the 2/3 Commando Squadron in the Pacific theatre and finally made his Wallaby debut in 1946. He was capped five times for the Wallabies, including as captain, and 18 times for Queensland. The McLean Stand – which name will continue in the new facility – recognises the contribution to the game of the McLean family, including Bill’s father Doug senior (Wallaby no. 54) his brother Doug junior (Wallaby no.285), son Peter and nephews Paul and Jeff, who all played for their country. Paul McLean is an inaugural member of the Hall of Fame.
Stan Pilecki – Wests and Marist College Rosalie
Prop Stanislaw Pilecki was one of the hardest of hard men who became the first Queenslander to win 100 caps for his State. Wallaby no. 594 and Queensland no. 843, Pilecki was one of the oldest-ever Wallaby debutants at 31, eight years after his Queensland debut. He won 18 caps with the Wallabies and toured with the 1984 Grand Slam side. Described as “a prolific smoker, a poor sleeper, a renowned snorer and the toughest of touring roommates”, his technique as a prop and his levels of fitness were “developed through sheer obstinance and a complete denial of the laws of mechanics and principles of exercise physiology”. His at-the-time unheralded work ethic and teamwork was later recognised with the annual Queensland Reds Stan Pilecki Medal, presented to the “players’ player”.
Peter Slattery – Wests, University and Brisbane State High
Peter Slattery captained Queensland to its inaugural Super Rugby title in 1994 – and then captained the side to a second, back-to-back Super Rugby title the following year. Queensland no. 968, he was capped for his State 109 times, played 17 games for the Wallabies at halfback (Wallaby no. 692), losing just one (against France in 1993). One of his most memorable games was the crucial 1991 World Cup quarter final against Ireland in Dublin, where Australia won at the death. He played in two Rugby World Cups and represented Australia at the Hong Kong Sevens. A rugby tragic, Slattery took up club rugby in Sydney after his retirement and won the Shute Shield with Manly in 1997.
Bob Templeton – GPS, University and Anglican Church Grammar School
“Tempo” coached Queensland a record 233 times in a period spanning 26 years. He coached the Wallabies in 29 Tests and served as assistant coach from 1988 to 1995, helping to orchestrate Australia’s 1991 Rugby World Cup win. He served as an Australian selector for 18 years. He was a coach most highly regarded by the people who mattered most – his players. Considered the epitome of the true spirit of rugby, he was synonymous with the game for more than 40 years and toured the world enjoying the camaraderie and competition it offered.
Selena Worsley – Souths, Easts, Wests and Downlands College
Wallaroo Cap #7 and Queensland Cap #15, Selena won four National Championships with Queensland. A member of the inaugural Queensland Women’s team in 1996, Selena played her last game for Queensland in 2008, making her the most capped player with a career spanning 12 years and 34 caps - five as Captain. A flanker renowned for her uncompromising competitiveness, Selena was always in the face of the attack, scoring many tries from intercepts. Selena played in three Rugby World Cups in 1998, 2002 and 2006. She was a World Cup Champion in 2009 with the Australian 7s team and has 25 caps for the Wallaroos.