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Favorite Moments - 076 -100 Your fun memories from EOTB

fm81 - Frank Drake, the first full-back to score a try in Australia-Great Britain Test matches

Posted by quigs eraofthebiff - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Glen Dwyer
Director - Newtown Jets
Australia
Newtown .. is the club I follow

 

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DIDN’T YOU USED TO BE ......... RUGBY LEAGUE'S ELVIS PRESLEY?

"Bumper" Dwyer looks at the chequered career of Frank Drake, the first full-back to score a try in Australia-Great Britain Test matches, and reveals a more complex character than that of Drake's public image.

[Article donated by the author. First published in 1999 in Loosehead Magazine and the Toowoomba Chronicle. ]

Anthony Mundine and Nathan Blacklock and their flamboyant backflips; "Changa" Langlands and the notorious white boots episode of 1975; Martin Offiah and his triumphalist posturing to the roaring crowd - they have all captured the Rugby League public's attention in different ways, but forty years ago a dashing young full-back named Frank Drake made an impact in top-level Rugby League circles like you wouldn't believe.

Drake's career achievements make interesting reading in the modern Rugby League context, with his career path following a very different direction to present-day players. Can you imagine for example South Sydney's Craig Wing moving from Sydney to a Queensland regional city to further his representative selection prospects - not likely! However, things were somewhat different in the late 1950's and sporting opportunities emerged in unlikely ways.

Frank Drake was a talented schoolboy and Balmain junior footballer. He attended the Rozelle Christian Brothers College, where one of his opponents in inter-school football was a young lock-forward from Newtown Christian Brothers named John William Raper. Drake captained the Balmain DRLFC President's Cup team in 1957, having won selection from his junior club Gladesville Sports. He moved into the grade ranks with the Balmain Tigers that same year, following the completion of that season's President's Cup fixtures.

Still only a teenager, Drake was back again with the Tigers in 1958, where he faced a major obstacle to securing the first grade full-back spot - the in-form Keith "Tinlegs" Barnes, who was to captain the Kangaroos touring party of 1959/60. However, his opportunity in first grade came when Barnes was injured, and Drake stayed in first grade on the wing after Barnes' return from the injured list.

It was a good year for the Tigers, who defeated the Newtown Bluebags in a thrilling play-off for fourth place. Drake distinguished himself with a "corner post to corner post" match-saving tackle on Johnny Raper just minutes from full-time. Balmain advanced as far as the Preliminary Final, bowing out to St. George who went on to beat Western Suburbs 20-9 in the Grand Final.

The Preliminary Final was to be the occasion of Drake's first significant run-in with League officialdom. As Tom Goodman wrote in the "Sun-Herald" of September 7, 1958: "Balmain left winger Frank Drake shocked old timers at the SCG yesterday, taking the field with white running shoes that had studs on them. He was officially reprimanded after the match by the NSW Rugby League secretary, Harold Matthews". Drake says he did not wear the boots as a direct challenge to the standards of the time, but because he genuinely found the improvised cut-downs far superior to the heavy-weight boots then in general use. The boots were actually athletics training shoes with football studs inserted, and they gave him a five yards' advantage in speed. Drake jokingly claims to have been "the father of the cut-down boot", and he wishes that Adidas and Nike had been around in those days with their big sponsorship dollars!

The 1958/59 off-season was a major cross-road in Drake's career. Ambitious and impatient for higher honours, and certain that full-back was his best position, Keith Barnes' continued presence at Leichhardt Oval meant Drake would have to look elsewhere to play in his favoured number one strip. Tiger Town officials were keen to retain his services - but as a winger. An approach came from an unlikely source - Drake had kept in touch with two former teachers from Rozelle Christian Brothers, Brothers Mullane and Noonan, who were now teaching at a school in that phenomenal hotbed of Rugby League, the Queensland regional city of Toowoomba. Being aware of Drake's dilemma, these men of the cloth contacted Freddy Gilbert, a 1933/34 Kangaroo and livewire official with the Toowoomba-based All Whites club. Gilbert wasted no time in making overtures to Drake, drawing to his attention that Toowoomba was the dominant power in Queensland Rugby League and offered genuine representative selection opportunities for youngsters with ability and ambition.

Contrary to widely held belief, it was Freddy Gilbert and not Duncan Thompson who was instrumental in persuading Drake to throw in his lot with "the University of Rugby League", as Toowoomba had come to be known under Thompson's highly successful coaching regime. Renowned as "The Downs Fox" because of his coaching wizardry, Thompson had attracted a host of young talent to the fabled Toowoomba Clydesdales' stronghold in the early 1950's - players like Ken McCaffery, Bobby Banks, Tommy Payne, Duncan Hall, Don Furner, Barry Muir and many others. The bracing, mist-shrouded mountain city seemed to also offer great opportunities for the twenty-year old Drake, who made the big move to Toowoomba in early 1959.

To say Drake's arrival in Toowoomba caused a sensation is somewhat of an understatement - he hit the place like a proverbial comet! Picture the scene - he arrived in the city aboard a high powered motor bike, sporting an Elvis Presley hairstyle, long side levers, leather jacket, tight jeans and high leather boots - all this in a regional city that was the definitive image of conservative, prosperous, hard working, Cold War era Australia. To quote the headline of the front page story of the Darling Downs Star of February 16, 1959: "Sydney's Rugby League Elvis Presley has arrived in Toowoomba", accompanied by a huge front-page photo of Drake lacing up his white boots prior to a staged training run.

The ironic aspect of the dramatic impact Drake made on wide-eyed Toowoomba teenagers, who were completely agog at his "Rebel Without A Cause" image, was that the private man had little resemblance to his flamboyant street persona. In reality he was a non-smoking, teetotal, practising Catholic who was also an all-round Mr. Nice Guy. During his time in Toowoomba, Drake must have made countless trips to school and junior coaching sessions, as well as many hospital visits to sick children. Far from being a "mug lair bodgey", he was more of an honourable Pied Piper! The entire population of the League-mad city soon came to this conclusion, particularly once he had unleashed his special talents in the sky blue colours of the Toowoomba Clydesdales. Admittedly, his penchant for wearing his cut-down boots taped or painted in the colours of the team he was playing for tended to infuriate a significant percentage of old-school male supporters!

Drake quickly made the fullback spot in the Toowoomba representative team his own, in a year that the Clydesdales regained the coveted Bulimba Cup. He displaced none other than Clive Churchill from the Queensland team. Churchill, then captain-coach of Brisbane Norths, became a great fan of Drake's, and took a special interest in his progress. Drake had a blinder in the Toowoomba - New Zealand tour match, scoring an absolute scorcher of a try, and was also a key figure in his All Whites club team taking out the Toowoomba premiership title of 1959.

What exactly were his attributes as a fullback? Pace was certainly his paramount asset - he was arguably one of the fastest men in Australia over thirty yards, noted for blinding speed when chiming into the backline. Superb handling skills and a pin-point kicking game were other features of his play, in an age when lengthy kicking duels between opposing fullbacks were still in vogue. Knockers claimed he could not and would not tackle, but he was no worse in this department than other slightly built footballers. This type of criticism was probably no more than the "cutting down the tall poppy" syndrome, an ongoing and unpleasant aspect of Australian life.

He was back in Toowoomba for a second season in 1960, and firmly established himself as the first choice Queensland fullback. It was to be an even higher benchmark year for him in terms of his Rugby League achievements. Toowoomba retained the Bulimba Cup, trouncing Brisbane and Ipswich in the process, and Drake had a standout game in the Clydesdales' gripping 21-all draw with the touring Frenchmen, played before a huge Athletic Oval crowd. In what some commentators claim to have been his greatest-ever performance, Drake was man of the match for the Maroons in the Wednesday afternoon interstate clash at the SCG. Queensland came from 12-0 down to win 17-12, prompting 4BH (Brisbane) commentator, George Lovejoy, to exclaim: "Let me say it loud for all of Sydney to hear - this man Frank Drake is the best player in the Rugby League world"! He was then named as a reserve for the Australian team for the Third Test against France, thereby joining the exalted ranks of Toowoomba-produced Rugby League internationals.

Injury in a Toowoomba club game cruelly robbed him of certain selection in the 1960 World Cup touring team to Britain. Meanwhile, All Whites won their second successive Toowoomba premiership with a team coached by 1956/57 Kangaroo "Ripper" Doyle, and bristling with international and state representatives such as Elton Rasmussen, Johnny Gleeson, Alan Gil, Bob Gehrke, Kevin Lohman and Kevin Boshammer. Clive Churchill was quoted in the Brisbane Courier-Mail as saying that All Whites were far superior to any of the Brisbane club sides in 1960, and that the Toowoomba premiers were without doubt the best club team in Australia outside of the Sydney premiership competition.

Drake transferred from Toowoomba to Southern Suburbs (Brisbane) for the 1961 season, a surprising move given that several Sydney clubs had been beating a path to his door. He represented Queensland again with distinction, and made the Australian team that toured New Zealand. Wests Donny Parish received the nod for the First Test against the Kiwis, but Drake made his own international debut in the second Test of that series at Carlaw Park, Auckland.

One of Drake's most vivid memories of the 1961 season was the bitterly contested Bulimba Cup decider between Toowoomba and Brisbane at the Athletic Oval. The match rivalled the infamous 1970 Rugby League World Cup final at Leeds for brutality, and Brisbane received more than their fair share of dubiously favourable refereeing decisions. Brisbane won back the Bulimba Cup for the first time in a decade with a controversial try on the full-time siren, and sections of the enraged Athletic Oval crowd set upon the Brisbane players as they left the field. Amid unprecedented scenes, several Brisbane players suffered extensive cuts and abrasions, including peppery halfback Barry Muir who was very much the principal target of the crowd's wrath. A small boy was seen to deal a wicked blow with a hard projectile to the back of the head of Brisbane's coloured Test winger Lionel Morgan. Drake in the meantime took no part in the rough and tumble - he was still out on the field signing autographs for his legions of fans!

The year 1962 brought about the most shining moment of his career. He was a reserve for the First and Second Tests against what is said to have been the best ever Great Britain team to tour here. Don Parish and Keith Barnes had been the fullbacks in the outclassed Australian teams in the first two Tests . Fifteen minutes into his Test match debut against Great Britain at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Drake flashed onto a centre-kick by Australian winger Eddie Lumsden and dived over to score just to the right of the goalposts at the Paddington end of the ground. After fifty-four years of Test match football, at last a full-back had scored a try - and it was by none other than the so-called Elvis Presley of Rugby League himself! Drake in fact nearly didn't make it onto the field, as he was badly affected by an attack of bronchial pneumonia in the week leading up to the match.

From 1963 on, his playing career was dogged by injury. Drake represented Queensland for the fifth successive year, but fullbacks of the calibre of Graeme Langlands, Ken Thornett and Les Johns had emerged on the Sydney scene. Up against such quality opposition and playing with injury for much of that season, Drake was shut out of consideration for the home series against Mel Cooke's Kiwis and the ill-fated South Africans, as well as the supremely talented Ashes-winning Kangaroo touring party of 1963/64.

Having signed with Eastern Suburbs (Sydney) in the off-season, Drake returned to his home city of Sydney in 1964. He had two solid seasons with the Roosters, captaining the side in 1965. Late in his second season with Easts he suffered a shocking hip injury against Wests at Pratten Park, and was laid up in traction for more than two months. Drake missed the entire 1966 season while recovering and his playing career looked to be over.

Drake and his young family returned to Brisbane in 1967, where he was enticed out of retirement to play with the Brothers club. He could still "do the business" on the field, even though he played occasionally in other positions than fullback. Sadly, he tore his hamstring in the Preliminary Final of that year, forcing him to miss the Grand Final which Brothers went on to win.

Thus ended an extremely interesting and eventful Rugby League journey. In retrospect, Drake wonders whether he "pushed the envelope too much from the inside". Was his flamboyant style and unorthodoxy all too much for "stick in the mud", blinkered officials and a vengeful media out to cut down the perceived tallest poppy of them all? Did he unintentionally set himself up to be knocked down, to the ultimate detriment of his Rugby League career? The man's private life reveals his essential decency - a hardworking, highly-skilled electrical tradesman, a devoted husband and father of five daughters and an all-round solid citizen, hardly the track record of an irresponsible, tearaway bodgey as he had been labelled in his earlier years.

To quote from the Toowoomba All Whites club's splendid Golden Jubilee book of 1992: "Frank Drake was an ornament to the game, a wonderfully gifted player who always gave of his best. While always the complete gentleman, he rather sneakily married the publican's daughter from the National Hotel (Toowoomba) where we had found him board for four quid a week - a clear case of insider trading at its worst"!

For those who were privileged to see his exquisitely-timed dashes into the backline, the supremely confident returning of the ball, his twinkle-toes running style and the radar-like kicking game, his skills were a revelation and inspiration. Above all, he has that unassailable record of being the first fullback to score a try in Australia-Great Britain Test matches to hold onto as the most glittering prize of all.

Glen "Bumper" Dwyer is a Director with the Newtown Jets RLFC in the NSWRL Premier League competition, and is a great admirer of all of the people who work so hard for the cause of Rugby League throughout the country areas of N.S.W. and Queensland.

 

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fm76 - Rich travels Sydney to Cardiff Wales to watch Hull defeat Leeds - challenge cup 2005

Posted by quigs eraofthebiff - Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Rich Harrison ( A hull man)
Sydney
Australia
Hull. .. is the club I follow
 

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Rich had planned long and hard that if his beloved Hull Team were to make it to the 2005 Challenge Cup final to be played in Cardiff Wales, then he would take a few days off work at the Balmain Leagues Club and travel over to watch the game. Then return asap to be at work.

Well Hull made it to the Final to be played against Leeds and this is his story in his words...

he tells us about his special day in Cardiff...

I am still coming down from the incredible high of seeing the lads lift that cup!

I’ll give you a run down of what I actually did around the time of the match.

After listening to the Semi-Final on the BBC website I emailed my Boss asking for a week off for religious reasons, After this was granted, I asked my Wife and then my Bank if it would be ok. The bank let me go after lending me an undisclosed sum. Ahem.

I finished work (At Balmain Tigers Rugby League Club in Sydney) on the 24th August at 8pm. I then went to the pub with a few of my colleagues and we put a rather large amount of Dollars on Hull beating Leeds, and proceeded to drink our own weight in cold Aussie beer. As the token Pommie at work, I come in for a fair amount of stick when it comes to international matches, but when it comes down to loving your club, Aussies understand. Everybody at work (110 of them) became naturalized Hullensians for the 80 minutes we played, let me tell you! So, anyway, after a few schooners of Amber Fluid I staggered home to pack and sleep off the beer. I got up at midday with a stinking hangover and managed to repack everything I had packed whilst drunk the night before.

I got to Sydney airport at 5pm and flew out at 8pm.

I got into Manchester (via Malaysia) on the Friday night at 6pm. The flight had been bad, VERY bad, in fact somewhere over India we dropped about a thousand feet in 2 seconds and the oxygen masks came down but only in first class!!! Obviously only rich deserve oxygen according to Malaysian Airlines!

I was met at Manchester by my Mum and Dad who then drove me back to Hull. I then ate the biggest home cooked meat pie I have ever seen (thanks Mum) and then slept until 3am. My Dad and I then boarded the coach to Cardiff outside the Marina and we were on our way!

By 10am, one of my colleagues in Australia had called the BBC and tried to arrange an interview for me on the day of the match. The BBC called my parents number at 10am on the day of the match to beg for an interview pitchside with Clare Balding at 1pm.

When we got to the Stadium and took our seats, it was strange, but you just KNEW that we wouldn't lose. I was surrounded by black and white and as I belted out Abide With Me, all I could think of was the Boulevard and the blokes that I had stood on the Scoreboard hill with since I was little. By the time the National Anthem and the red and white swine Prescott had both shuffled off, the rollercoaster began!

It’s all a blur now…. Motu Tony getting smashed by Mathers’ Knee as he scored… Kearney running forward with 3 hanging off him… The guy next to me rolling his scarf up into a ball and popping a pass out for me to plant on the steps just like Marcus Bai did for Whiting and then us hugging… Danny Brough kicking those touchline conversions… getting that horrible feeling when they went ahead… crying my eyes out as Cookie ghosted over for that amazing try… screaming LIFT IT and almost dislocating my arms after they kicked it dead from the kickoff… then literally screaming until I sounded like the love child of Rod Stewart and Bonnie Tyler when the hooter went.

I turned to my Dad (not usually the sentimental type) and he said, “I wish your Granddad had been alive to see this” at that point the tears came. Tears of joy, relief, tiredness, sadness, you name it I cried for it. Then as I was in the seat next to the steps I had the pleasure of being hugged by Wakefield, Huddersfield, Bradford, Wigan, Rochdale, Batley, Dewsbury, Castleford, Halifax, Widnes, Saints and Keighley, supporters all saying well done and telling me that they had all been rooting for us. Even a few Leeds supporters told us that it was the most amazing final they had ever seen.

I went back to Hull that night and then flew out of Manchester on the Sunday, back into Sydney by the Tuesday at 7am. The guy at customs asked me why I had only been in the UK for 50hrs and why my luggage was twice as heavy than when I left. He almost had the Vaseline and rubber gloves out before I mentioned that I had been to watch Hull. He told me he loved his “footy” and that he was very envious of what I had just done before ushering me straight through into the forgiving arms of my wife. She drove me into work to distribute the presents I had bought for work mates and there I had a coffee. My first non-alcoholic drink for 5 days, as I bored the bum off everyone that would listen.

So, in a nutshell that’s what I did! A mate of mine mailed me recently and said that I was a “first class mentalist” for doing it, my wife still thinks I am unbalanced and my workmates just smile and shake their heads in wonder when I mention how bloody much it cost me! But I really don’t care…. I was there when we beat Leeds.

Yours Old Faithfully,
Rich

 

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fm78 - Report on Frank Foster from his Grand Daughter

Posted by quigs eraofthebiff - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Amy Dempster
Barrow-in-Furness
UK
Bradford Bulls .. is the club I follow

 

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hi i'm frank fosters granddaughter.

thought you would be interested to hear he is doing fine(few battle scars are expected) and as hard has he as always been.

just thought it was great to see people remember him and recognise how great he was.

thank you for remebering him xx

 

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fm79 - Nomination and Memories of Bobby Goulding

Posted by quigs eraofthebiff - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ash Pemberton
Warrington
UK
Wigan .. is the club I follow

 

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I'd like to nominate Bobbie Goulding as a 'hardman'.

Bobbie, like Andy Gregory, was a very small, cocky, fiery scrum half. Bobbie is probably a bit taller than Gregory, but not my much.

He signed for the mighty Wigan at the height of their prowess in the late 80s as a teenager and won a Challenge cup winners medal with them in 1990, after already playing for hometown club Widnes as a teenager.

he went on to captain St Helens to many memorable victories and to Super League domination in the mid-nineties.

However, Bobbie will probably be best remembered for many nights out on the lash and his short fuse.

he smashed up Doug Laughton's car whilst at a brief stint with Leeds and during that stint he laid out strapping second rower Jamie Matiou with a few punches at a pre-season training camp.

he was once banned for 8games for laying out Wigan Prop Neil Cowie whilst at Saints and has faced the disclipanary commitee so much he might aswell have had his own parking space at Red Hall.

He represented Great Britain 17times during his career.

 

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fm80 - Memories of the 1979 Sydney Grand Final - St George victorious

Posted by quigs eraofthebiff - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Paul O'Connor
Sydney
Australia
Saint George .. is the club I follow

 

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I was lucky enough to get to the last Grand Final St.George won.

It started for me a couple of weeks earlier when The Saints were confirmed to be in the Grand Final , I went o Hurstville to buy my very first St.George Jersey with all the patches and sponsorship on it. I wanted the number 7 on the back as my favourite player was Mark Shulman, although he wasn't playing so it was in a way a dedication to him not that anyone else would know.

I got to the SCG the night before with some friends where we met a group of lovely female Bulldogs supporters and proceeded to hang out with them all night and letting our testosterone fuelled bodies ran rampant by showing off through having a race around Moore park at about midnight.

I don't think we got any sleep that night.

Next morning we started to line up at the gates at around 7am , as we had general admission tickets , to get as good a seat as possible. 8am went bye and no hint that the gates would open , 8 bacame 8:30 , then at around 9am as people started to get frustrated an official looking bloke came around and said tha gates would be open in about 30 minutes, so naturally we started to get excited and pushed ever closer. 45 minutes passed and nothing, then the same guy came around again and said the gates would be open in around 15 minutes, we all pushed closer together .

30 minutes pass ed and still nothing, by this stage everyone was getting very agitated, so as a joke I started yelling out to the guys at the front ,"Break the Gates down " but too my surprise a couple of guys thought that was a great idea and actually started breaking one of the gates open and they got through so we all started pushiong through. It was then that they decided to start opening the others gates.

What we didn't know was the the ticket collectors had decided to go on strike (we found out later).

All I can actually remember of the game was the Saints leading and me lying over these poor Bulldogs supporters and their winger dropping the ball over the try line when they could've won the game.

We left the ground on a magnificent high with my mates car stereo blaring out Queen's "We Are The Champions" (first time I had heard that song played for such an occasion). All the way home.

I went to Bankstown Rollerskating rink (no longer there now a restaurant), and it was then I realised I was badly sunburnt and I was so hoarse from screaming during the game that I could only talk in a whisper.

So all the great players who made an young 19 year olds football dreams come true that year, Thankyou , whilst i may not remember all the details I DO remember the atmosphere and the great fun .

P.S. btw to the girls from the game , my sincerest apologies for being so annoying

 

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fm82 - Young Jack meeting Garry Blecher, Canberra and Australian Fullback

Posted by quigs eraofthebiff - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jack Moore
Warnbro WA
Australia
Canberra Raiders .. is the club I follow

 

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This story happened a few months after Canberra won the premiership in 1990. I was barely 3 years old at the time.

I grew up in Gowrie, a small suburb in the southern part of Canberra, and our street was on a hill. Being only a little fella, this hill was Everest, but i was always determined to conquer it with this bike my old man bought me at the sunday markets.

Mum would only ever let me go half way up the hill, roll down, dodge the pot holes on the footpath and swing into the driveway, always just missing collecting the brick letter box on the way through. After a few attempts I decided I'd bend the rules a bit and go right to the top. Mum reckons I had my game face on. This was it.

About half way down the hill, you could tell there was going to be bloodshed. I almost lost control going past the neighbour's torana but managed to keep it in a straight line. However, there was no way in hell i was going to be able to steer it into the driveway without coming off second best. To cut a long story short, i over shot the driveway by about 10 metres, hit a fence and barrel rolled into a gum tree. Before Mum could determine whether I had permanent brain damage or whether I was dead, a bloke across the road had jumped out of his car and legged it to the scene of the accident. In total shock, he managed to fish me out of the garden bed and take us over to mum. Still in somewhat disbelief, he said "Geez, I've never seen such a little fella move so bloody fast!". Mum's concern for her son soon turned to the man, as she realised it was Gary Belcher, the Raiders fullback.

As it turned out, Gary was good mates with the family that lived over the road from us. He wasn't the Australian fullback for nothing, but Mum reckons she had never seen him run as fast as the day he peeled me off a gum tree!! As for me, I really didnt care that a Raiders legend was so concerned for my well being. All i cared about was the bike that i had just written off.


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fm83 - Peter Ramsden Huddersfield hard man flatten St Helens legend wingman Tom Van Vollenhoven

Posted by quigs eraofthebiff - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vic Tann
Warrington
UK
Warrington .. is the club I follow

 

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Huddersfield v St Helens. RL semi final 1963 ( I think)

Peter Ramsden Huddersfield hard man and loose forward flatten St Helens legend wingman Tom Van Vollenhoven.


Van Vollenhoven on the burst, Murphy in support


A furious Alex Murphy retaliated. Both Ramsden and Murphy were sent off and Vollenhoven carried off.

Thus Ramsden eliminated St Helens top 2 stars and Hudds won through to the final.

 

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fm84 - Souths vs Wests at Lidcombe Oval in 1976, fond memories

Posted by quigs eraofthebiff - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dean Gibson
Newcastle
Australia
Balmain Tigers .. is the club I follow

 

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Souths vs Wests at Lidcombe Oval in 1976

I remember going to the match with several schoolmates. It was a Sunday, and the crowd was so big that we spilled onto the cycle track inside the fence before first grade started.

I remember it was just a hard match. Wests absolutely hammered Souths in the first half. The game never seemed to be more than 30 metres from Souths line but they hung in. Wests had John Donnelly, Les Boyd and Geoff Foster and with Tommy Radonikus and John Dorahy were a formidable side - just watching them! I remember Bernie Lowther took an intercept and ran the length of the field to score. Souths seemed doomed simply by the weight of defence they had to produce but they just always got someone to the next tackle. It was the game that George Piggins scored a memorable try in the 2nd half, driving through the middle of the ruck to score by the posts. I remember the atmosphere and noise was amazing. I have supported Balmain all my life but I simply remember this game as being one that was the most memorable I ever saw live.

Best Regards with the site

Dean Gibson

 

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fm85 - Steve Giffiths - ex Salford, Warrington player, Memories of the game, and some of the stars

Posted by quigs eraofthebiff - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Steve Griffiths ex Salford and Warrington Player,
Warrington UK
Warrington .. is the club I follow

 

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I played pro in england in the mid 80s for Salford making my full debut against my home town club Warrington, who were known as the Zoo in that era. At fullback was a brian johnson who was also making his debut for Warrington - but with alot more experience than i.

The Warrington front roy that day would have put fear into any international team. it read Boyd, Tomati, and Jackson(Bob)who I later went on to play with at Warrington.

I recall Alan rathbone being at loose forward on that day also. A little geneous called Andy Gregory was at no 7. Thankfully for us that day Boydy went off early with adead leg - aresult of a mistimed tackle from Roby Mullerwho caught Les on the thigh with his head of all things.

This game of ours isnt all about braun as we know as the star of the day was at 6. on his day this guy was the best in the world and so he proved as he ran in 4 tries that day on 6th Oct 1986. Phil Blake was mercurial that day. In my eyes he was the master of the chip and chase.

Later on in my "career", Brian Johnson went on to be my coach at Warrington. Brian's feelings on the chip and chase were, "Only try it if you knew it was gonna come off!!" We tried a few!

I played with some great Aussie guys over her in England, Mark Wakefield - is he still in Marwillumbah? Brian Battese- one hell of a worker!! the late Geoff Selby - a brilliant future lay ahead for this talented young guy tragically killed in a car accident in 1989. Neil Baker played with Neil in that Warrington game. Watched in awe as he drew a Leeds defence - chipped and regathered on the full and then drew the fullback and cipped and caught on the full and went under the posts. genious!

Greg Mackey- still holds the record for most consecutive matches for Warrington. kept me from making a full debut for Warrington. What he did was tackle well above his weight. A clever player, learned alot from him.

Well it was nice to share some of my favourite moments in my modest career. I have an aweful lot of precious moments from the best game in the world.

Thanks to all those who helped me make em.

Steve Griffiths
ex Salford and Warrington RL

 

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fm86 - Chris Hill, St Helens memories of Saints -v- Roos 1986.

Posted by quigs eraofthebiff - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chris Hill,
St Helens UK

St Helens .. is the club I follow

 

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The Return Of The Invincibles (1986 Kangaroos) were a far superior team for any of the British Teams including GB although the 3rd Test at Wigan was a cracker....

St.Helens were top of the English league played 8 and won 8 averaging 37pts a game, when the Aussies arrived. As optimistic as we were, the Kangaroo back line read: Jack, Shearer, Kenny, Miles, Meninga, Lewis & Sterling. So we were at least honoured with a full test line up. Channel 9 broadcast the match live and from the off both sets of forwards gave it plenty.

For Saints (Tony Burke, Graham Liptrot, Paul Forber, Andy Platt, Roy Haggerty & Chris Arkwright / For Australia: Roach / Simmons / Dowling / Cleal / Niebling / Lindner)

Steve Roach was off the field after 2 minutes, he stiff armed Chris Arkwright and dislocated his elbow and was replaced by Paul Dunn.

Saints gave as good as they got and some of the off the ball challenges would make you cringe. With his back to the Saints posts Lewis laid off a typical pass and was hit by Arkwright (Grandson of Jack Arkwright) with a forearm in the back of his head.

Later in the game Paul 'Rambo' Round came on the park with one purpose in mind, to hit as many Aussies as possible. With partner and back-up Arkwright, Round hit Garry Jack and all hell let loose, Arkwright had his shirt ripped off and Round and Jack were sent to the sinbin, threatening each other all the way back down the tunnel.

The highlight of the game came from the Aussie commentator on the day as he was trying to work out the English accents in the crowd and the songs we were singing. Fred Lindop had just given a penalty to Australia when we were begging for a way back into the game. The Saints crowd, as one, started to sing, "Who's the bastard, who's the bastard, who's the bastard in the black ? "

The guy on Channel 9 repeated it word for word with a chuckle....I doubt if he's ever worked again !!!

 

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