[Article 9805]Vale Don MALONE

Vale Don “Irish” John Malone

1st June 1938   –  25th October 2019

Wests player number 566 (1958) and Life Member of Wests number 57.

“You are sadly missed but your pain is over

Our love for you is never ending”


 Don was a great Magpies man who played through Wests  “golden era”. Although not always an automatic selection in first grade he still played 84 First Grade games from a total of 187 games for the club in a career stretching from 1957 to 1967.

The Early Years and Beyond.

Don’s Rugby League career started back in the 1950’s with a young Don playing for the Glebe Police Boys.

1955 best back photo

1955 best back photo leaving stage

The person standing behind Don is Lew Hoad who was also from Glebe.

In 1957 Don was called up to grade to play for Wests.

1957 1st grade game fpr Wests

Don’s first game in Grade.

1957 1st Reserve grade game wests

Don’s first game in Reserve Grade.

Little did Don know at the start of the 1958 season that he at the age of 20 would be playing for Wests in the Grand Final against the Mighty St George.

1958 1st Forst grade game Wests

Dons first 1st Grade game playing along side Harry Wells in the centres.

1950 harry

Harry Wells in 1958 proudly wearing his NSW jumper.

1958 newspaper story about don

Local boy makes good.

1958 Wets 53 Souths 8

Don’s 2nd First Grade game.

And scores his first try in the big time.

1958 4

Don scored a try in this BIG win over Souths.

1958 semi final program rln

This was the famous Semi where Peter Dimond was switched from centre to five eight.

Some say one game to early.

1958 10

1958 =


1968 7


Newspaper photo taken at Pratten Park dressing room ??

Don is second from the right middle row.

1958 gf program

1958 GF story Wests battered by StG

A very tough game…..the St George machine at its best…or worst.


The 1958 Wests Grand Final Team.


Don played in 3 First Grade games in 1959. One was against the Old Foe at Henson Park before a record crowd of 30,500 spectators.

1958 wests at henson park record crowd

Note: a young player by the name of Reg Gasnier scored 4 tries that day!!




1960 wins award for smh.

Don played 2 First grade games in 1960.


In 1961 Don played 4 First Grade games and 14 Reserve grade games.

In the First Grade game against Newtown played at the SCG Don scored 2 tries and won the SMH Man of the Match.

1961 wests 39 newtown 11 don scores 2 tries @ scg

1961 don gets 3 points in SMH award.

Don played in the Reserve Grade Grand Final which was played at Henson Park one week after the First and Reserve Grade Grand Finals.

1961 Reserve grade GF at Henson Park program

1961 RG grand final program team lists

Don scored a try in this Grand Final win.

1961 GF team photo


1962 was Don’s biggest year at Wests .

Don played in all 20 First Grade games.

1962 close up of don.

Don at the age of 24 in 1962.


1962 wests v newtown

Wests 25 beat Newtown 13.

This win made it possible for Wests to once again play St George in the Grand Final.

1962 1

Looks like Don is wearing a tie??

1962 2

1962 GF program

Don at half back.


1963 another great year for Don playing in 18 First Grade games for Wests including the Famous Grand Final.

During the season Wests defeated St George in both rounds of the comp and also in the Major semi.

1963 anzac day win

1963 anzac day story about game.

1963 2rd round win over saints

1963 photo at raining with summonds

1963 story about don .

Don played a big part in both wins over St George.

1963 semi

1963 semi final

Unfortunately for Don and Wests the MIRACLE came one game to early (again)

1963 grand final program

Once again Wests lose to St George.

For Don thats 3 from 3.

1963 team pic

Top L to R. Chow Hayes, Jack Gibson, Kel O’Shea, Denis Meaney, Ned, Jazza.

Bottom L to R. Kevin Smyth, PD, Gil Mc Dougall, Arthur Summons, Podgy Mc Guinness, Irish Malone, Don Parish.

1963 Ampol Cup program

Although Wests won the Ampol Cup.

Don played half back that day.


In 1964 Don played 17 First Grade games and 1 State Cup game.

1964 ron costello and don at training @pp

Ron Costello and Don Malone at Pratten Park.

1964 Wests beat easts 22 to 5

1964 program wests v easts

* Roy Ferguson at Five eight.


Carl Ross, Roy Ferguson and Don Malone at the Pratten Park Magpies Reunion in 2014.


In 1965 Don played in 3 First Grade games, 14 Reserve Grade games and 1 State Cup game.

Below team photo taken inside the West’s dressing rooms at Pratten Park.


Don is second from the right middle row.

Related image

In 1966, Don played in  2 First and 17 Reserve and 1 Third grade game.

At the age of 28 Don hung up his boots and coached Wests Third Grade to a Premiership in 1967.

1967 dons last game for wests in third grade

Along the way Don came out of retirement and played in 4 games for his young stars of the future.

1967 third grade GF program

Wests 7 beat Balmain 2.


1967 dons last game for wests in third grade

Don coached Third Grade for 3 years 1967 to 1969 then Reserve Grade in 1970.





 * Below are a few words from Noel ‘Ned’ Kelly about his team mate and dear friend……


We have just lost one of the greatest ‘MAGPIES’ ever.

IRISH was one of the best blokes I have ever met, be it on or off the footy field.

He was of top quality.

A great MAGGY at all times.

He represented ‘WESTS’  with pride and dignity, guts and determination.


I am proud to have been chosen to be known as a mate of Don ‘Irish” Malone.

RIP My friend.

Noel ‘Ned’ Kelly.

Image result for pat thomas rugby league

Ned watching Irish and Pat Thomas at training.

2018 don at 2018 ppm reun ion.

Don at the 2018 Pratten Park Magpies Reunion.

“Think where mans’ glory most begins and ends
And say my glory was I had such friends” – Yeats

RIP Don Malone.


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