The North Sydney Bears are deeply saddened by the loss of one of the great North Sydney players, Peter Diversi. Peter was a tearaway lock forward in the 1950’s, who was known for his bone jarring defence and toughness on the field. He went on to represent City, Country, NSW and Australia and was nominated as lock forward in the North Sydney Bears Team of the Century. He played 63 games over 4 seasons for the Bears, scoring 9 tries and kicking 33 goals. Our thoughts are with the Diversi family.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has paid tribute to Mr Diversi, saying that rugby league had lost another loyal servant. “Peter loved the game and from all reports, was a feared defender throughout the 50’s and into the 60’s,” Mr Greenberg said. “On behalf of the rugby league community, we offer our heartfelt condolences to Peter’s family and friends.”

Norths champion lock of the 1950’s may be regarded as one of Rugby League’s great survivors. Peter Diversi’s defensive ability, in particular, earned him the reputation as a feared competitor and his bone-crushing tackling became a trademark of his game.

A truck driver who was a product of the Illawarra region, his tackling alone was considered one of the highlights of the season.

After a Rugby League career in Wollongong, the 18-year-old trialled with North Sydney in 1952. Diversi missed the initial opportunity to be graded but was later recalled by coach, Ross McKinnon, and he credits McKinnon with having a great influence upon the development of his game. Diversi’s natural strength and pace aided his cover defence while his work was tireless at the base of the scrum.

Peter Diversi was called into the Australian side for the Third Test in 1954 when coach, Vic Hey, felt that Australia needed tightening in defence. Diversi was certainly the man for the job.

In an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald PETER DIVERSI ONE OF FOUR TEST REPLACEMENTS  the writer claimed: “Peter Diversi gave an outstanding display of tackling for N.S.W.”

Also from an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald SUPREMACY IN FORWARDS WILL DECIDE TEST (which includes a photo of Peter Diversi) has a column heading “Diversi Hope.”

As a member of Australia’s World Cup team in 1954, he played in all three matches in France as well as gaining selection of a combined ‘Australasian’ side to play England at the completion of the series. A strong personal memory of that tour was his confrontation with Great Britain lock Dave Valentine, a player he learned to admire and respect.

The 1955 season proved to be Diversi’s last at North Sydney, taking on the captain-coach position at Gundagai. However, the talented lock was not lost to Sydney football. In 1958 he returned to play for Manly, giving five seasons of great service for that Club, playing well into his late thirties.

In the early 1980s looking back at his career with North Sydney, Peter Diversi remembered the fellowship and camaraderie of the players and officials in the Club which launched his international career. He retired from the game in 1965 after two years with Kurri in the Newcastle competition.

Diversi married the sister of fellow North Sydney Bears player Kevin Price. Kevin’s son Ray Price followed in his uncle’s footsteps, becoming one of the great locks in the history of the game.

On the North Sydney 100 year anniversary in 2008, Peter Diversi was named North Sydney Lock Forward of the Century in the Bears Team of the Century.

Funeral Details

Thursday 1st Feb at 12 noon
Greenway Chapel
GREEN POINT NSW 2251

Reception afterwards

Ettalong Bowling Club
Springwood Ave
ETTALONG NSW 2257

Career Statistics

International

Test Matches – By Team

Team Years App T G GK % FG Pts W L D Win %
Australia 1954-55 5 2 6 3 2 0 60.00%
Overall 1954-1955 5 2 0 0 6 3 2 0 60.00%

World Cup Matches – By Team

Team Years App T G GK % FG Pts W L D Win %
Australia 1954 3 1 3 1 2 0 33.33%
Overall 1954 3 1 0 0 3 1 2 0 33.33%

Representative

Australia – By Team

Team Years App T G GK % FG Pts W L D Win %
NSW Firsts 1952-56 9 2 4 8 1 0 88.89%
NSW City Firsts 1952-53 2 1 1 0 50.00%
NSW Country Firsts 1956 1 0 1 0 0.00%
Overall 1952-1956 12 0 2 0 4 9 3 0 75.00%

Club Career

Australian League Matches – By Year

Team Years App T G GK % FG Pts W L D Win %
North Sydney NSWRFL 1952 5 33 81
North Sydney NSWRFL 1953 2 6
North Sydney NSWRFL 1954
North Sydney NSWRFL 1955 2 1 8
Manly Warringah NSWRFL 1958 2 1 8
Manly Warringah NSWRFL 1959 3 3 15
Manly Warringah NSWRFL 1960 1 3
Manly Warringah NSWRFL 1961 2 6
Manly Warringah NSWRFL 1962
Overall 1952-1962 17 38 0 127

All Australian Club Matches – By Team

Team Years App T G GK % FG Pts W L D Win %
North Sydney 1952-54 3 9 34 95 0 3 0 0.00%
Manly Warringah 1958 1 8 4 32 0 1 0 0.00%
Overall 1952-1962 4 17 38 0 127 0 4 0 0.00%