TOP BLOKE: Happy 80th birthday to Allora-based rugby league champion John Gleeson.
TOP BLOKE: Happy 80th birthday to Allora-based rugby league champion John Gleeson. Contributed

League legend in our midst celebrates special birthday

OF LATE, Allora and associated sporting stars have taken to the dais to be recognised for their 2018 glittering success.

Another walks among us in the Best Little Town on the Downs - none other than mild-mannered gentleman John Gleeson, who celebrated his 80th birthday on December 28.

While John and his wife Dawn celebrated quietly with family, you can be sure wishes from a sporting fraternity across the Darling Downs were going the birthday boy's way.

A rugby league legend, John relocated with Dawn to Allora a few years back from hometown Chinchilla.

The quietly spoken achiever is often seen on a morning walk for the newspaper or a coffee run to the local cafe from their nearby residence, which coincidently is just a good drop kick from the Allora Regional Sports Museum.

For those unaware, John Gleeson is a former rugby league footballer of the 1950s and '60s.

A Queensland representative and Australian international half/five-eight, he played club football for Chinchilla before heading to Toowoomba's All Whites Club.

He played with Wynnum-Manly in the Brisbane Rugby League before linking up with Brisbane's Brothers club, where he was a member of the 1967 Brisbane Rugby League Premiership-winning side.

He represented Queensland in 25 matches from 1961-67 and ran on in 10 Tests for Australia from 1964-67, including the 1963-64 and 1967 Kangaroo Tours of Britain and France.

I have been fortunate to enjoy a few morning smokos with John, reminiscing and discussing great moments in the greatest game of all.

While he scored plenty of tries, and sorted a few 'blues', John also makes his point as a fierce advocate for bush footy. He has first-hand knowledge of what it's like to try to keep the game going in our vast state's rural areas.

Happy birthday Johnny Gleeson, gentleman of Allora and Chinchilla, and a rugby league player's player.



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