Former Australian rugby league great Gary Parcell with his grandson Matt at the North Ipswich Reserve where Gary was painted with his Ipswich and national teammates Dud Beattie and Noel Kelly.
Former Australian rugby league great Gary Parcell with his grandson Matt at the North Ipswich Reserve where Gary was painted with his Ipswich and national teammates Dud Beattie and Noel Kelly.

Farewell footy great Gary: As witty as you were tough

AS the rugby league community tonight mourns the loss of another Ipswich sporting great, he will be remembered for his straight-shooting wit as much as his onfield deeds.

Former Ipswich, Queensland and Australian front-rower Gary Parcell is best known for creating history in the Australian team on the 1959/60 tour to England and France.

Parcell played alongside two other regional greats, Dud Beattie and Noel Kelly, in the Australian frontrow.

The former Bulimba Cup footballer represented Queensland 14 times from 1959-62 and Australia in eight Tests between 1956 and 1962.

His sense of humour was a feature, especially when asked about international teammates like Beattie and Kelly.

Gary Parcell (left) and Noel Kelly with QT rugby league columnist Michael Nunn at a Jets Old Boys function. Parcell and Kelly were two-thirds of the Australian team's front row in the late 1950s.
Gary Parcell (left) and Noel Kelly with QT rugby league columnist Michael Nunn at a Jets Old Boys function. Parcell and Kelly were two-thirds of the Australian team's front row in the late 1950s.

When named in Australia's Team of the Century, Parcell joked: "We're pretty bloody old you know''.

He said tough man Kelly was "always a rough sort of a bugger'' and Beattie was "more like a president than a footballer''.

Kelly sadly passed away earlier this year after Beattie's death in 2016.

Parcell was 87.

They were three of Ipswich and Australia's most tenacious footballers, who shared a bond of mateship.

Gary Parcell. Picture: The Courier-Mail Archive.
Gary Parcell. Picture: The Courier-Mail Archive.

During his time on Kangaroo tours, Parcell and his teammates had to fly to England, a journey that took 50 hours. They also played in France.

Parcell represented Australia 26 times, including minor games on tours.

After tasting overseas life proudly wearing the green and gold, Parcell settled back on his property near Harrisville.

He made his first grade debut for Ipswich Brothers in 1952, sharing in five premiership-winning teams.

Parcell was always a popular figure at Ipswich sporting functions, happy to reminisce about the days where football was tough and at times ruthless.

Gary's fine footballing legacy will live on, wearing his Kangaroos jersey alongside good mates Beattie and Kelly on a specially painted wall at the North Ipswich Reserve.



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