Team list

Revolutionising the game: Bob McCarthy

Name: Robert James McCarthy D.O.B: 05 August 1944
Birthplace: Redfern, NSW Nickname: Macca 
Position: Second Row, Prop Club Debut: April 6, 1963 - Round 1 vs Canterbury, Belmore Oval
Club Games: 211 (1963-1975, 1978) Club Points 301 (100 tries, 1 field goal)

South Sydney Rabbitohs legend Bob McCarthy is best known for revolutionising the second row position.

Playing in the great Rabbitohs sides of the late 1960s and early 1970s, McCarthy was one of the first wide-running second rowers in Rugby League, which made him one of the most dangerous backrowers in history with his terrific running game and try-scoring ability.

After debuting in Round 1, 1963, the Moore Park junior quickly established himself as one of the premier forwards in the competition. 

His first moment in the spotlight came in the 1967 Grand Final against Canterbury in the Club’s first decider in twelve seasons.

Just before half-time, the ‘Berries’ were on the attack on the Rabbitohs’ line and looking to claim an unlikely lead. That was until McCarthy struck, taking an intercept - thanks to his positioning on the edge of the field - and running 75 metres to score one of the most famous Grand Final tries in Rugby League history. 

Despite being left out of the touring Kangaroo side that season, and missing out on the 1968 Premiership through injury (although he did play in the second-grade Grand Final victory), McCarthy earned his first representative jersey in 1969 and played for City, NSW and Australia throughout a storied career. 


The barrel-chested backrower also won Premierships with the Club in 1970 and in 1971, where he scored another famous try, this time being the match-winner in the dying stages of the contest against St. George.  

McCarthy spent two seasons in 1976 and 1977 at Canterbury during the great player exodus of the mid-1970s but returned to Redfern in 1978 to lead a new generation of South Sydney players in his final year of playing. 

McCarthy held the record for the most first-grade matches played for the Club with 211 games to his name, which was broken in Round 5, 2014 by John Sutton.

Currently, McCarthy is the third-most capped player in Club history, and is the fifth highest try-scorer for the Rabbitohs, with 100 four-pointers. 

McCarthy also took the coaching reigns of the Club in 1994, famously winning the Tooheys Challenge Cup pre-season competition in one of the greatest upset victories of all time. He also served on the NRL Judiciary, and as Chairman of the NSW and Australian Selection Panels. 

Featuring in the South Sydney Dream Team in 2004 in the second row, McCarthy was made a Life Member of the Club in 1973, and was also named in the South Sydney Juniors Team of the Century in 2008. 

Since 2003, the Bob McCarthy Clubman of the Year award has been handed out at the Club’s end of year awards. 

Career Milestones

Premierships: 1967, 1970, 1971
15 Tests for Australia
5 World Cup Matches for Australia
11 Matches for NSW
6 Matches for City 
1 Test as Australian Captain 
South Sydney Captain
South Sydney Football Club Life Membership (1973)
South Sydney Coach (1994) 
South Sydney Dream Team (2004)
South Sydney Juniors Team of the Century (2008)
NRL Team of the 1970s (2005)


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