Craig ‘Croc’ Dunbar
Died 4th February 2020 Coffs Harbour, New South Wales
It is with great sadness that I write to confirm the untimely death of Craig Dunbar who played at Inverleith in the late eighties.
Craig played Rugby in Australia for his beloved Bowral Rugby Club, directly after leaving High School. He was fortunate to be playing at a time with current Australian player Steve Streeter and was coached by Jim Hindmarsh, a former Australian player. He played rugby with his twin brother Mark and older brother Michael. They shared a season in the Sydney first division competition, for Easts, at a time when the Ella brothers were dominant in Sydney and Australian Rugby.
The Dunbar boys were referred to as the white Ellas such was their skills and the style they played. Craig represented the region (Illawarra) in which Bowral played, on many occasions and also represented NSW Country.
Craig returned to play out his playing days in Bowral.
When he pitched up at Inverleith he was though an unlikely looking Aussie 10/12 but looks can be deceptive.
To quote Jason Clarke, ” no Michael Lynagh more-so a shuffling, scruffy mongrel with socks around his ankles but always a smile on his face! But like many Australian 5/8ths though he was far better than he looked which wasn’t hard but was actually very good. One of those quietly effective play-makers who brought others into the game. He understood the team ethic of rugby football ”.
Craig was, we think, the first lad to play for the Club from either Australia or New Zealand and is so fondly remembered to this day and whilst the greatest drop goal ever hit at Inverleith was actually struck by him, I think it’s not only grown arms and legs, but yards as well, as the years have gone by!
After a bit of research it turns out the occasion was not to win the League but the semi final of the Cup against arch City rivals Boroughmuir RFC. In their ranks I think they had Sean Lineen who must have chuckled to himself eyeing up his opposite number! But Craig was to have the last laugh for, in the dying minutes of the game, he looked up from just inside his own half and sent the ball soaring between the sticks!
No-one was more surprised than his team-mates but I recall him treating the feat as though it was just another everyday occurrence! In the hundred and twenty years of rugby played on that famous old pitch no-one ever matched it. He was to tell lads in the 2nds that the ball nearly hit the Castle which would have taken a bit of believing as we were playing in the opposite direction at the time!
But he was a great lad and left his mark with us and the name ‘Croc’ Dunbar immediately raises a smile – what a legacy.
I was so sad to hear of his early passing, not just for his brothers, sisters and his mother but for the many friends he made along the way for Craig was different and he touched our lives as he passed through.
We are just all passing through – may God rest his soul.