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Brendan Moon-the complete winger.

You know you are getting old when you type ‘Brendan Moon’ into YouTube and get the musician, not the rugby player!

Yet if you enter ‘David Campese’, there is a plethora of Campese videos.

Why does one receive so much attention and the other extraordinarily little?

One player dared to be different, was capable of absolute brilliance and mediocrity, the ultimate individual in a team sport, the other is Brendan Moon.

Some choose to play with absolute freedom, individuality and expression, others are more conservative, compliant and are team players. Some prefer the flashy player, others the safer option.

Brendan Moon slotted into the latter options.

Campese himself described Moon as not a creator, but dependable, and who scored tries when on offer.

Mark Ella said of Moon, “If you want a safe winger, Brendan’s it. I do not mean a boring, stereotyped winger. It is just that Brendan can do anything.”

Terry Smith wrote of Moon, “There was not a weak link in Moon’s armoury. He had the lot. Speed of limb and thought, safe hands, resoluteness in the tackle.”

It is quite remarkable Moon was playing Test rugby over 40 years ago!

Being an All Blacks supporter, I recall the Wallaby players who were the greatest threat to a New Zealand victory. and Moon was one of those, because you knew he would not do anything wrong – if there was a try to be scored or tackle to be made, he would do it.

His pace and beautiful running style reminded one of a 100-metre sprinter. Apparently when Moon made his Test debut for the Wallabies in 1978 versus New Zealand, he was regarded as being the fastest man in the squad.

Mark Ella wrote Moon that Moon was “a beautiful runner” and “a runner of the classical type. He had a high knee action and his arms pumped as he ran.” Some players look effortless as they run.

Brendan Joseph Moon was born in Melbourne in 1958 and attended Marist College Ashgrove in Brisbane. He played for the Australian schoolboys team in 1976 and was a precocious performer for the Brothers Club Under 19s. He made the Queensland team for a tour of Japan and North America in 1978 and was soon after chosen for Australia after displaying scintillating form.

In a career spanning 1978-1986, Moon made 35 Test appearances for the Wallabies. In 1980 he played with one of the most superb Australian backlines, including Mark Ella, Michael Hawker and Michael O’Connor.

Moon performed well on the 1981-82 tour of the UK and then unfortunately broke his arm versus England on the Grand Slam tour in 1984.

Moon made himself unavailable for the tour of New Zealand in 1986 and completed 100 games for Queensland in 1987. A goal of playing in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 did not eventuate with injury curtailing his plans, after starting the season in good form. He was also a regular member of the Australian sevens team to Hong Kong from 1981 to 1986.

They say that good wicketkeepers are not noticed in cricket because they are just doing their job. Moon was an all-round dependable player who ran with a classical style, possessed good defensive skills, had the strength to offload in tackles, a fine boot, and an excellent swerve.

Former All Black Stu Wilson rated him the best winger he played against. Both Andrew Slack and Roger Gould confirmed Moon as the best Australian player they had seen. Campese put him in the best Australian team of his time.

Moon was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2022 for significant service to public administration and to rugby. In 2016, he was appointed CEO of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.

Brendan Moon may have been understated, even underrated, but to many he was the complete player and an invaluable member of the Australian rugby team. The ultimate team player who is one of the great Wallaby wingers.

And he is another favourite Wallaby player of mine.

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