Former NSW captain and Wagga Magpies great Robert Honeysett is remembered

Bob Honeysett (centre) played in three premierships with Magpies. He's pictured alongside captain-coach Arthur Summons and Garry Wheeler (right).

Bob Honeysett (centre) played in three premierships with Magpies. He's pictured alongside captain-coach Arthur Summons and Garry Wheeler (right).

Former Wagga Magpies player Robert ‘Bob’ Honeysett has been remembered as one of the finest centres to have played in the Riverina.

Honeysett, who had been battling prostate cancer, passed away on the NSW Central Coast earlier this week, aged 83. 

A three-time premiership player with Wagga Magpies, Honeysett represented NSW four times against Queensland, including as captain in 1959. His final selection in 1962 came while he was playing for Magpies. 

Honeysett was a South Sydney junior who went on to play 52 first grade games for the Rabbitohs and 30 top-flight matches with the North Sydney Bears. He moved from Sydney to play with Young before joining Magpies.

“He was a great footballer. He came to Magpies in the early 60s and worked at the Leagues Club,” former teammate Tom McDonell recalled. “He played in the three premierships that we won in ’65, ’66 and ’67.”

Honeysett represented Riverina on several occasions and NSW Country, and was highly regarded as a superb attacking centre.

MAGPIES' 1966 PREMIERSHIP TEAM: (Back, from left) Cyril Wild, Kevin Brown, Ken Cluff, William Rake, Michael Walker, William Hickford, John Mavroudis; (centre) trainer John Knowles, Ron Wright, Tom McDonell, selector Tom Hilton, Robert Wallace, Barry Cottam, treasurer Paddy O'Brien; (front) selector Ernie Lloyd, Fred Norden, Terry Gaffney, captain-coach Arthur Summons, Robert Honeysett, Garry Wheeler, president Keith Inglis.

MAGPIES' 1966 PREMIERSHIP TEAM: (Back, from left) Cyril Wild, Kevin Brown, Ken Cluff, William Rake, Michael Walker, William Hickford, John Mavroudis; (centre) trainer John Knowles, Ron Wright, Tom McDonell, selector Tom Hilton, Robert Wallace, Barry Cottam, treasurer Paddy O'Brien; (front) selector Ernie Lloyd, Fred Norden, Terry Gaffney, captain-coach Arthur Summons, Robert Honeysett, Garry Wheeler, president Keith Inglis.

“I played alongside him in the centres. He didn’t strip real big but he was well-built, muscly,” McDonell said.

“He was ruthless in defence and when I say ruthless, I mean, he really defended his man. Playing alongside him, you never worried about his man. He had him under control.

“He was one of the best centres to play around here.”

It was said by some that his size cost him a Kangaroos jumper, when he was passed over for Australian selection because he wasn’t considered quite big enough.

But his nickname, Cruncher, alluded to his toughness. Nephew Greg Wiscombe said Honeysett epitomised the old saying that ‘it’s not about the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.’

Bob Honeysett is survived by Dot, his wife of 63 years, five sons, Allan, Wayne, Stephen, Garry and David and 11 grandchildren and eight grandchildren.

Many in his extended family remain in Wagga and Wiscombe said the family has been overwhelmed by messages of condolence from the Wagga community.