A History of Rugby in Victoria

researched & written by Ron Grainger

VICTORIA’S RUGBY REBEL

Albert Freear

Albert Freear

In the Victorian team in 1909-10 was Albert E. Freear of East Melbourne, reported to be ‘a tower of strength.’ 

As far as is known Freear (sometimes spelt Freer) was born in Lancashire c. 1878.

If so he would have barely been 17 when he played for Dublin’s Lansdowne Club in the 1894/’95 season, initially as a centre but subsequently on the wing .

He played in that position for Ireland against England, Scotland and Wales in 1901 before leaving to join the Swansea ‘All Whites’ in Wales from 1901 to 1904, where he ‘made a sound impression on supporters with his “nose for the tryline”.’

Freear then moved to professional rugby (league) in northern England at Hull FC, whom he captained in 1906-7.

According to Robert Gate’s ‘History of the Irish Rugby League’, Freear had previously become the first Irishman to win international honours in rugby league, representing Other Nationalities against England at Bradford in 1905.

Albert Freear

Albert Freear at Hull FC

The VRU must surely have known of his professional past when they registered him as a Union player in and for Victoria [until 1995 anyone who played rugby league was banned from rugby union].

Little is known of Freear after the state team’s 1910 match against vs NZ Maoris.

He lived in Victoria for some of his remaining fifty years, and died in Cheltenham (in Melbourne) on 25 August 1960.

Research & content Ron Grainger

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This entry was posted on October 6, 2014 by in History, RUGBY in VICTORIA.