When Ben Murphy was writing for the Scone Advocate I occasionally helped him out with some ‘mini-scoops’. Thank you Ben for allowing me to share the following for a champion bloke! Multi-talented Ollie Hall is eminently worthy of every recognition in our community.
Featured Image: Acknowledge Scone Advocate. Ollie told me very firmly this was the photograph he wanted to be remembered by. Thank you Ben Murphy!
June 24 2016 – 4:11PM
Former Wallaby and movie actor talks about his achievements
HE’S played rugby for Australia, acted alongside movie stars like Tom Selleck, and is now working with the next generation of local sporting talent.
Ollie Hall’s achievements on and off the rugby field are the stuff of dreams.
It all kicked off in 1983 when he was part of the Alan Jones-coached Manly side that won the Sydney Premiership.
Hall then helped Sydney beat the United States and was involved in the clash between NSW and Argentina.
His impressive form that year saw him picked to tour Italy and France, where he played in five matches for his country.
Despite only just embarking on what appeared to be a promising representative career, multiple knee injuries brought it crashing down the following year.
Jones had just taken over as coach of the Wallabies at this point and, though he wanted to take the 32-year-old Hall on their Grand Slam tour, knew it was not realistic.
Life after sport can often prove to be troublesome for some, but not Hall.
He quickly turned his attention to acting and nabbed a role in Mad Max III: Beyond Thunderdome. The 1985 film starred Mel Gibson and Tina Turner.
“I worked on Mad Max III for 10 months, I was the longest employed,” Hall said.
“My role was as Tina Turner’s bodyguard, but I was also an assistant to [The Master] Angelo Rossitto and did some stunt work.
“So that was my initiation into the film industry.”
He went on to work in a TV mini-series called Fields of Fire over three years before moving to Scone in 1989.
Rugby remained a major passion, and he strapped on the boots for the Scone Brumbies, helping them win the premiership that season.
Author’s Note: I vividly recall the grand final. Ollie’s good mate Jonno Clift (ex-Joeys) was coaching the Brumbies. Scone were desperately clinging to one point advantage late in the game gallantly withstanding a rampant Singleton pack and the mercurial half back combination of the Merrick brothers Dale (5/8th) and Steve (half back). (Ollie on his knees: “Shit they’re good”!) Ollie masterfully ‘slowed the game down’ with some strategically ‘feigned’ injuries. They might have been real? Olly’s legs had seen better days. Singleton joined the Newcastle competition in 1990 (next season) and won the premiership. Bob Dwyer famously plucked Steve Merrick from the club side and he scored a memorable try for the Wallabies against the NZ All Blacks.
A year later, Hall won a role in the movie Quigley Down Under, which starred Tom Selleck and the late Alan Rickman. Not long after filming ended, he decided it was time to move on from acting.
“I just thought to myself ‘you’re not a gypsy’,” he said.
“I was living out of a suitcase all the time and never home, so it was time to give it away.”
A venture into mining in the Upper Hunter lasted more than two decades, only ending in February this year.
During his time in the region, Hall has become an invaluable resource for Scone Junior Rugby Club as a coach. He believes the next generation of country players is shaping up well.
“If Australian rugby can encourage these children to stay in the sport then we’ve got an enormous amount of talent there,” he said.
“I think Scone juniors is one of, if not the largest, club in the Central North competition.
“I’ve been coaching for about six years now, and I’ve probably gotten as much pleasure out of this as anything I’ve ever done.”
Away from the rugby field, Hall has returned to his roots.
Born and raised on land near Wellington, NSW, he grew up around cattle. Now he’s bought some of his own.
“I’m going back to where it all started,” he said.