Super Rugby


Vale Thomas Sweeney

The Queensland Rugby Union community is mourning the loss of former Queensland and Australian fullback, Thomas Sweeney, who passed away in Melbourne last week, aged 87.

After graduating from the same school as his father, St. Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace, Tom joined Brisbane’s Brothers Club where he would play for five years.

Thomas enjoyed a brilliant time at the top as Queensland’s first-choice fullback over the 1952 and 1953 seasons. Before he retired from the game aged 24, Tom had seven Queensland caps and a Wallaby tour under his belt, as well as the Queensland High Jump title (1947-1952) and an impressive performance at the 1952 Olympic Trials.

Playing for Queensland against the feared 1952 Fijians, Tom kicked 11 points before going down from a tackle by giant (197cm) Fijian flanker Semesi Baleca, and leaving the field with several broken ribs. Although this forced him to bow out of the Wallaby tour of New Zealand due to depart the following week, Tom fought his way back to start in the first Queensland game of the next season, kicking his home state to a 11-6 victory over New South Wales. The performance secured his spot on the 30-man, 28-match, four-month tour of South Africa in 1953. He played fourteen of the matches, including one Test and returned home as the leading points-scorer with 69 points.

Soon after the 1953 South African tour Sweeney suffered an anterior cruciate ligament rupture in the left knee during a Brisbane versus Toowoomba game, which concluded his playing career, but not his involvement in the game.

Tom coached Brothers from 1956 to 1959 with fellow QLD representatives Kevin Ryan as vice-captain and his cousin Des Connor as captain. Tom was later made a Life Member of Brothers, in recognition of his contribution to the Club.

After rugby, Tom, a professional engineer, worked for the Snowy Mountains Authority for ten years in a senior capacity on all the major developments of the Scheme. He followed this with an appointment as Chief Resident Engineer for the Gate Bridge Authority during the re-construction of the bridge following its collapse.

Throughout his career and later life, Tom’s passion for Rugby never faded and even from his home in Melbourne he never missed a Reds game.

Funeral Details:
Wednesday 1st of March, 1PM
Our Lady of Good Council
Deepdene, Victoria 3103

Rugby Traveller