The All-Conquering 1924-25 Toowoomba Clydesdales

1924-25 Toowoomba Clydesdales - Rugby League

The crowning achievement of the 1924/25 undefeated Toowoomba Clydesdales was beating England in 1924. The English touring side was a team full of talent and were confident of success in Australia. They were the holders of the Ashes, and would go on to retain them by beating Australia two Tests to one just a short time later. The Toowoomba team for the match was:


H Steinohrt, C Thompson, H Liebke, D Dempsey, V Armbruster, C Broadfoot, M Ryan, J Bennett,

D Thompson (c), J Lindsay, J Cuneen, T Gorman, W Spencer, M Heuschele, G Hawthorn, J Lemon,

G Ogilvie

Final Score: Toowoomba 23 (W Spencer 3 tries, J Lindsay 2 tries, D Thompson 4 goals) vs England 20

Regular centre Edwin ‘Nigger’ Brown would have been picked, but was unavailable due to injury.


On the afternoon of the match there was an amazing atmosphere at the ground, with people travelling in from all over the Darling Downs. The attendance was over 10,000, the largest crowd ever to attend a rugby league match in Toowoomba up until that time.

Toowoomba’s coach was Bill ‘King’ Renwick, a talented rugby union player from Toowoomba who had played five-eighth for Queensland in 1904. He would later go on to coach the Queensland rugby union team.

The on-field tactician was captain Duncan Thompson, who could change the momentum of a game by quickly sizing up what needed to be done in attack and then finding a way to execute it.

The game started with a battle for supremacy in the forwards. England was endeavouring to gain the upper-hand, but Toowoomba held strong. Combining toughness and skill, Toowoomba scored the first 10 points of the match. At the half-time break Toowoomba were leading.

In the second half, Duncan noticed how closely the English were marking winger Bill Spencer. Because of his reputation, England put their best winger up against him. The English concern was justified, as he scored three tries in the match.

However, in their efforts to shut Spencer down, Toowoomba’s other winger, Jack Lindsay, was not being closely watched. Duncan engineered some plays to get the ball to Lindsay, who scored twice in minutes, which put Toowoomba back in front

Near the end of the match England tried to wrestle the lead back. Toowoomba’s ability to defend was severely compromised due to the serious injury sustained by the full-back Marty Ryan, who was so badly injured he had to walk with the aid of a walking stick after the match.

Toowoomba had to play the last 15 minutes of the game a man short, but still managed to hold out the English. When the hooter went some of the excited crowd carried the Toowoomba team off the field.

At a reception for the English team, Toowoomba mayor Doug Annand coined the famous term ‘Galloping Clydesdales’ and all the Toowoomba players received a gold watch in recognition of being the first provincial team to beat the English.