The South Sydney Rabbitohs are mourning the passing of the oldest Rabbitoh, former player of the 1940s, Jack Devery, who passed away on April 1.
Jack Devery was born Phillip John Devery on December 1, 1919, at Tweed Heads, NSW. He was the older brother of Pat Devery – a former-Balmain Tigers player (1944-47) and a former-Kangaroo.
Jack played Rugby League at Murwillumbah High School and then for Tweed Heads Seagulls. When his family moved to Sydney he switched codes to play Rugby Union for Sydney University, and after he trialled with Souths in early 1947 he decided to switch back to League, taking up an offer at Souths.
Souths were in a rebuilding phase in 1947. With the injection of new players in 1947 like Clive Churchill, Johnny Graves, Ernie Hammerton and Les 'Chicka' Cowie with whom Jack played alongside.
Jack made his first grade debut at the age of 25 in Round 1 against St George at Erskineville Oval, on April 12, 1947. Jack played at five-eight and the Dragons won the match by 30-11.
He played in 11 games for the Rabbitohs – all in first grade. He also scored two tries in the process, the first was against Balmain in Round 4 at Leichhardt Oval and the second was in Round 12 against Manly at Brookvale Oval.
His last game was in Round 15 against Canterbury-Bankstown at Sydney Sports Ground on August 2, 1947, where he badly fractured his arm. The arm needed rebuilding and he was forced to retire from the game for good as a result. Souths paid for all his medical bills in the five or so years after his arm injury, which he was said to be grateful for.
On behalf of everyone connected with the Rabbitohs, we offer our deepest condolences to the Devery family for their loss.