Born: 10 October, 1985
Test record: 13 Tests (2005, 2008-11) – 1 try (4 points)
Tours: 2005 Tri Nations, 2008 World Cup, 2009 Four Nations, 2010 Four Nations
Bronson Harrison was highly regarded as a skilful, damaging second-rower at Wests Tigers, Canberra and St George Illawarra in a decade-long NRL career and featured in two of New Zealand’s stunning tournament final upsets of Australia among 13 Test appearances for the Kiwis.
Born in Auckland, Harrison played his junior football for Leichhardt Wanderers, before penning a contract with the Tigers. Harrison made his NRL debut as an 18-year-old in 2004, chalking up 12 appearances in his rookie season. The teenager became an interchange regular in 2005, playing in 19 games, but was squeezed out of the Tigers juggernaut’s 17 ahead of their grand final defeat of North Queensland.
But that disappointment was tempered to some extent by playing in New Zealand A’s thrashing of a strong Kangaroos Invitational side and his subsequent selection in the Kiwis’ Tri Nations squad – less than 18 months after representing NSW Under-19s. Although he was not chosen for any of the tournament fixtures, Harrison made his Test debut at lock in a 38-22 win over France in Toulouse, just a month after his 20th birthday.
Harrison’s 2006 campaign was cruelled by injury, but he fought back to reclaim a permanent place in the Tigers’ line-up in 2007-08, equally comfortable in the front-row, backrow or coming off the bench. He was granted a release by the Tigers to link with Canberra ahead of the 2009 season, while his renaissance continued when he was a late replacement in the Kiwis’ 2008 World Cup squad for the injured Iosia Soliola.
A tackle-busting runner on the fringes with great offloading ability – combined with a solid work ethic in defence – Harrison scored a try in New Zealand’s 32-22 semi-final win over England, before starting in the second-row in the 34-20 boilover victory against Australia at Suncorp Stadium in the final.
Harrison played three Tests for New Zealand in 2009 – the Anzac Test loss to Australia, a post-season international against Tonga and the Four Nations-opening draw against the Kangaroos in London – and was a mainstay in Stephen Kearney’s line-up in 2010. He again featured in an Anzac Test defeat, played in a one-off post-season clash with Samoa and in the Kiwis’ Four Nations victories over England and Papua New Guinea, before celebrating in another Brisbane tournament final triumph as they rolled the Kangaroos 16-12.
The 25-year-old made his last appearance in the black-and-white jersey in the 2011 Anzac Test loss on the Gold Coast.
After 83 games in four seasons for the Raiders, Harrison spent the 2013-14 seasons with the Dragons before calling time on a 196-game NRL tenure.