Hall of Fame – Jim Lisle
Rabbitohs.com.au walks you through our pantheon of Club legends in our Hall of Fame series. Today, we bring you Jim Lisle.
No player in the history of Rugby League has enjoyed the type of truly meteoric rise from Club football to Kangaroo as five-eighth and centre of the 1960’s, ‘Jimmy’ Lisle.
Originally from Grafton, Lisle joined Souths after a Rugby Union career that saw him become a Wallaby after just one season, with four Test Matches to his name, including games against Fiji and a tour of South Africa.
After playing just one game of Rugby League in the red and green of the Rabbitohs in 1962, Lisle was selected to play for NSW, City and then the Kangaroos in consecutive weeks – making his Test debut at five-eighth in the Third Test against Great Britain that year.
Lisle went on to play six Tests for Australia, while also going on tour with the 1963-64 Kangaroos, where he played 13 matches (no Tests). He also played in matches against France in 1964 and New Zealand in 1965.
A five-eighth or centre with a lethal turn of speed and strength, Lisle became a main-stay in a Rabbitohs line-up building to a golden-era – one of which he not only took part, but played a pivotal role in.
Before John Sattler’s heroics as Captain of the Rabbitohs, Jim Lisle had the ‘c’ next to his name, leading South Sydney on to the historic 1965 Grand Final against the juggernaut that was the St George Dragons – a team that would go on to win 11 straight Premierships.
Although Souths would lose that match 12-8 in front of what was a then-record crowd quite literally hanging from the roof of the SCG (78,056), the nucleus of South Sydney’s coming glory years were there for all to see against the Saints.
Lisle would play a pivotal role in Souths’ 1967 Premiership win, in what was the first year of limited-tackle football (then four-tackles), before eventually retiring from the game at the end of 1968 with 102 games for the Club.
After his football career, Lisle studied for a Masters of Education degree at the University of Oregon in the USA, before becoming a well-respected and loved teacher, plying his trade for a time locally at Randwick Boys High School in Sydney.
The game of Rugby League’s quickest rising star, and a South Sydney legend, passed away on March 1st 2003 on the Central Coast aged 63.
Just one year later, Lisle was named in the Club’s Dream Team – effectively a team of the century – in what was a true vindication of the importance and high esteem in which he was held.