He and four of his brothers all played with Collingwood. The elder, Bob, turned out on 143 occasions for the Pies between 1899-1908. Such was his influence on the club that in 1965 a stand at Victoria Park, Collingwood’s former home ground, was named after him. Bryan on the other hand, played 17 games for Collingwood prior to the outbreak of WWI and it was probably this conflict that interrupted his football career.
This article is about Bryan and we are indebted to his son, also named Bryan, for supplying information about his father.
I can hear your brain asking, “What is so good about Bryan Rush?”
In 1921, Brian was transferred to Sydney in the Commonwealth Public Service following five years service in the 1st AIF. He did spend a limited time in Melbourne after the war undertaking a medcial degree but support for his further education was unfortunately removed.
Upon his move to Sydney Bryan took up with the North Shore Club “then called North Sydney, and in 1921 he was part of their incredible premiership in the clubs first year back from a WWI recess. In 1922 he took over the reigns but could not emulate their previous year’s performance; they finished fifth.
After a short period in Newcastle as secretary to the Newcastle Gas Company, Bryan returned to Sydney teaming up with a former army cobber to set up an accounting firm which would go on to become a major player in Sydney’s commercial and financial scene over the succeeding number of years.
He gave up football upon his return to Sydney however the 32 year old kept an interest in the game serving several seasons as state selector. He had represented NSW on 10 occasions: once in 1921, four times in 1922 and five in 1924, which included several appearances for the state in the national carnival at Hobart, so he knew his footy.
Rush was often named as one of the best players in these interstate games.
Fortunately for us, Bryan junior, at 81, amongst other things, recently donated his father’s 1924 representative certificate along with a quite unique service certificate awarded to his father in 1935 for his contribution to the game in NSW over a fourteen year period. We have never before seen these type of documents.
Besides his football, Bryan Snr played first grade cricket with Manly.
He rarely talked about his sporting experiences, perhaps due to his dislike of attending meetings in Newtown where selection of the NSW teams were discussed. It was here, he maintained, that he would have his tyres slashed if no Newtown players were chosen in the NSW team.
At the outbreak of WWII Bryan again served in the army at Victoria Barracks, Paddington where, at the rank of major, he was District Finance Officer.
He died in Melbourne in 1982, aged 89.
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