Samuel David Kreutzer
(1894 Brisbane 1971)
Australia 1 (New Zealand 1914)
Second Row Forward
Queensland (2 Matches 1920 v NSW, 1921 v NZ)
One of a number of former St Josephs Gregory Terrace products who rose to Rugby prominence through the Christian Brothers club, Kreutzer was also one of a generation of players whose career was circumvented by the advent of the First World War. A test debutante in his twentieth year Kreutzer seemed to be on course to become a fixture in the Queensland team. However, the hard working forward was joined by a host of other Union identities who switched en masse to Rugby League in 1919. Away from sport he was a policeman. Although he did not reach the same heights in the professional code as he did in Union, Kreutzer continued to play League until his sporting retirement.
Sam Kreutzer attended St Josephs College Gregory Terrace at a time when school boy competition was organised by the Queensland Rugby Union. Terrace often found itself playing not only other schools such as Brisbane Grammar and St Josephs College Nudgee, but also against college aged players from the University of Queensland, Christian Brothers, and Past Grammars clubs. Kreutzer’s play however was enough to see him selected in a representative School Union team to take on the Southport Rugby Union in a match midway through the 1910 season.
Upon leaving school Kreutzer followed the path of his former school mate James Flynn and joined the Christian Brothers club. He did not have the immediate success Flynn did and during the 1912 season Kreutzer could not secure a place in the powerful Christian Brothers’ forward pack. However, he was selected in a Brisbane Junior team where he teamed with the youngest of the famous Dore brothers, Vince in two matches against Toowoomba. Although they were beaten in the first match, the Brisbane team rebounded in the return encounter. Early in the 1913 season Kreutzer was named to make his A-Grade debut at prop in Brothers’ 26-14 win over their arch rivals Past Grammars. The young forward did not secure a permanent place and was in and out of the first grade team through the season. Despite his sporadic appearances club selectors did see fit to name the young forward at prop for Brothers’ A-Grade 21-8 semi-final win over Easts. Kreutzer’s play obviously impressed the selectors as he was retained in the side which the following week capped off their unbeaten season with a 12-0 win over Past Grammars to secure their third successive club Rugby championship
Kreutzer’s opportunity to play first grade Rugby Union regularly came about because of the strength of the Christian Brothers club in the years prior to World War 1. The dominance of the Brothers club meant they choose to field two sides in the 1914 Brisbane competition to provide parity in the local game. The young prop made his first A-Grade appearance for 1914 season in the Brothers ‘B’ side’s first match of the season. Despite being the nominal second team, the B’s were so strong that they made the final of the Hospital Cup in 1914 only to be defeated by the Brothers A side 8-6 in a closely fought match. It was from Brothers’ B side that Kreutzer was chosen to make his state debut against the visiting All Blacks. Although he was named initially as a reserve for the match, Kreutzer came on as a second half replacement and his play against the might of the New Zealand forwards saw him marked as a player of the future.
The future; however, came very quickly. When the two Australian props from the first test, New South Wales’ Harald George and Billy Watson, were unable to make the trip north for the second test, Kreutzer was chosen to face the might of the All Blacks as a front row forward on the strength of one match for Queensland. This was to be his only test match. The Australian side included a record eight players from Queensland, and six of these were from the Brother’s Club including Captain Jimmy Flynn and Kreutzer’s fellow Brothers B team forward and Wallaby debutante ‘Clinker’ Birt. Missing the bulk of the forward pack that had “played all over their New Zealand counterparts” in the first test, the young inexperienced Australians were beaten soundly by the All Blacks by a score of 17-0.
While this was Kreutzer’s only appearance for Australia in a Rugby Union international his achievement can not be underestimated. To be selected as a front forward to met the best national side in world Rugby at the time shows the maturity of the young forward. Although his contemporary Flynn is often lauded as a protégé whose career was most effected by the First World War, Kreutzer was born in the same year as his test captain and former school mate under whom he made his international debut. While many historians lament the curtailment of Flynn’s career, Tom Welsby’s assessment that Kreutzer was on of the “early heroes” of the powerful Brothers Club at the age of twenty and despite playing only one full A-Grade season prior to World War 1 provides an insight into the young man’s potential. In spite of his test cap and enormous potential Kreutzer still found himself in his club’s ‘B’ side for the remainder of the 1914 club Rugby season.
With the suspension of interstate Rugby during the war years Kreutzer’s representative honours were restricted to intrastate games. He was selected in a powerful Brisbane team to play Toowoomba in 1915 and was also a part of the South Queensland team that played North and Central Queensland representative selections in a bid to keep the game alive throughout the state during the war. In 1916 only informal club competition was held throughout the state, while the 1917 and 1918 Brisbane QRU fixtures were not strong. As a consequence Unions throughout the state began to defect to the rival Rugby League to assure themselves of competition. Many players followed the shift. Kreutzer’s Rugby League career began in 1918 when he played alongside Flynn for the Brisbane Rugby League Club premiers Merthyr in a challenge match for the club Rugby League Championship of Australia. Playing in the second row Kreutzer featured in Merthyr’s loss to Sydney League Champions South Sydney and also in Queensland’s 19 all draw with the Southerners in exhibition match in front of 13,000 spectators – a record attendance for a Rugby match of either code in Brisbane.
Despite playing against professionals and under the auspices of the rival body, Kreutzer was permitted to return to Union for the 1919 season. He was named at prop in the Christian Brothers 'A' side for the opening round of the re-formed Queensland Rugby Union premiership fixtures. From here he was selected in the Queensland team that met the touring AIF selection in 1919. This side had been formed for the Kings Cup in England; a competition between soldiers of the victorious Allied Forces of World War 1 that was designed to entertain the mass of troops awaiting repatriation following the end of the war. Kreutzer also regained his spot in the Queensland team for the first interstate series to be played since 1913. Despite the success of these matches for spectators and players alike, the war had an indelible effect on Rugby Union in Queensland. A number of prominent clubs, including Christian Brothers, Past Grammars, and University switched to the Brisbane Rugby League competition in 1920 and took with them a host of talented players; Kreutzer being one of the most prominent.
Following his switch to the rival code, Kreutzer’s representative career continued. As the entire Christian Brothers club had changed codes, Kreutzer was able to continue his association with the club in the professional game. He was selected in a Queensland team to play New South Wales in Sydney in the 1920 season and although the visitors were defeated by a margin of 40-18 the local press complimented the Queenslanders on the advancement they had made in their play. Adapting quickly to the new code the Christian Brothers Club made the final of the Brisbane Rugby league competition only to be defeated by the more experienced Western Suburbs team by a margin of 16-8. The 1921 season also bought further Queensland Rugby League honours for the former Wallaby when he was selected for the state side’s second victory against the visiting New Zealanders.
Kreutzer seems to have left the Brisbane rugby scene altogether after the 1921 season. He did not play for Queensland again in either code and there is no record of him lining up in any matches during the 1921 and 1922 season. He was last spotted playing League in Bundaberg. It is most likely that his employment with the Queensland Police Service saw him transferred to Bundaberg. Kreutzer died in 1971.