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Vale: John Gill

The Parramatta Eels are saddened to hear of the passing of former player John ‘Jack’ Gill.

John began his career in Newcastle and became captain/coach of the Northern Suburbs (Newcastle) Rugby League.

In 1959, John joined the Parramatta Eels as player #168 following in the footsteps of some of the greatest Newcastle North Bluebags to join the blue and gold, including Eels captain/coach Johnny Slade (#80), captain/coach Charlie Gill (#95), Max Bailey (#92), Alec Perkins (#79), and Tom Anderson (#97).

John Gill played the position of lock in 12 x N.S.W.R.L. first-grade games for Parramatta in 1959 and played one game for the club in the Country Carnival of the same year.

He returned to Newcastle and was selected for Newcastle Firsts vs France in 1960 and vs New Zealand in 1967.

We extend our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of John Gill – forever Parramatta Eels player #168.


The following tribute is reproduced courtesy of Matthew Woolston and the Northern Suburbs (Newcastle) Blue Bags Rugby League.

With the passing of former Northern Suburbs (Newcastle) Bluebag Player and Coach John Gill (better known to all as Jack or Croker) last Sunday, we would like to share some statistics and notable achievements about Jack's career and life, to the best of our knowledge.

John (Jack, Croker) Gill.

Birthplace – Stockton in 1937.

School – Hamilton Marist Brothers

Stockton and Northern Suburbs Juniors.

Northern Suburbs Career;

1955 – Under 18’s

1955 – Represented Newcastle Under 18’s v. Southern Division at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

1956 – Under 20’s.

1957 – Under 20’s.

1958 – First Grade debut in Round 1 against Western Suburbs on Easter Sunday at Harker Oval, 5th April 1958.

Jack had big shoes to fill at lock, replacing his former Junior teammate in Doug “Jumbo” Jones, who had signed on with the Western Suburbs Magpies in Sydney and had won the prestigious Bert Agland “Newcastle Player of the Year” award the previous year.

1959 – Signed with Paramatta, joining many former Northern Suburbs Bluebags that had played previously played at the club in the early to mid 1950’s.

* Jack became Eels Player No 168, playing in 13 first grade games, and scoring 2 tries.

1960 – 1968, Northern Suburbs, playing in well over 100 First Grade games.

1962 – First Grade Premiership winning player.

1967 – First Grade Premiership winning Captain/Coach.

*Post Grand Final, Jack is also known as the player responsible for getting the 25 yard dropout rule changed after the Grand Final, where Jack continually kicked the ball dead in goal, thus winding the clock down and forcing a drop-out from Western Suburbs.

1968 – First Grade Coach.

1973 – First Grade Coach.

Jack Represented Newcastle in 4+ games.

Notable Representative games were:

1960 – vs. France, Newcastle Sports Ground, Saturday 21st May 1960.

1967 – vs. New Zealand, Newcastle Sports Ground, Saturday 21st May 1967.

1967 – Elected Life Member of the Northern Suburbs Rugby League Football Club.

Jack worked at the old Newcastle State Dockyard and then with Varley Engineering at Carrington, working his way up through higher roles.

Jack was also a distinguished Member of the Stockton Surf Club.

On behalf of everyone at the North Bluebags, we would like to pass on our condolences to all of Jack’s family, friends and former teammates.

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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