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Vale Bill Pearson

Former Queensland Rugby League centre, Bill Pearson, is best remembered for the leadership qualities which enshrined him as one of the legends of the Norths' club, in the Brisbane competition.

Pearson, who died in Bundaberg on May 12, aged 90, captained Norths to four straight premierships, from 1960 to 1963, under the coaching of the legendary Bob Bax.

Born in Mackay, Pearson played his first senior football at Bowen, before enlisting with the RAAF, and having stints in Malaysia and Singapore, where he played rugby union. When he was posted to Amberley, he returned to rugby league, signing with Ipswich club, West End, from where he was selected for Queensland.

Pearson scored a try on debut against New South Wales, and went on to play six games for his state - five against the Blues, and one against the 1958 Great Britain side.

He won Ipswich premierships with West End in 1956 and 1957. Pearson moved to Brisbane in 1958 to play with Norths, where coach, Jack Bates appointed him captain.

In 1959, the legendary Clive Churchill was appointed Norths' captain-coach and the club went on to win the premiership, beating the Bax coached Brothers' outfit, 24-18 in the grand final.

Team mates carry Norths skipper, Bill Pearson after the 18-15 win over Valleys in the 1960 Brisbane grand final.
Team mates carry Norths skipper, Bill Pearson after the 18-15 win over Valleys in the 1960 Brisbane grand final.

Bax switched to Norths in 1960, and re-appointed Pearson captain, while at the same time moving the RAAF sergeant closer to the action, at five-eighth. Pearson was captain in all four premiership triumphs from 1960 to 1963, with Norths defeating Valleys in 1960, 1961 and 1962, and then Souths in 1963.

He returned to the centres for the 1963 grand final, with 1962 state five-eighth, Bobby Cook wearing the number six jersey.

Pearson accepted an offer to captain-coach the Brothers' club in Bundaberg in 1964. Playing at prop, Pearson captained Wide Bay in an undefeated State Championship campaign in Brisbane in 1966.

The following year he captained Bundaberg against Australia, after Kangaroos' captain-coach, Reg Gasnier had asked for a warm-up game, ahead of a Test against the Kiwis in Brisbane. Australia won 31-12 against the willing locals, at Bundaberg's Salter Oval. 

A minute's silence will be observed in honour of Bill Pearson, ahead of the Hostplus Cup match between Norths Devils and Brisbane Tigers at Bishop Park, on Sunday, May 22.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours 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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