There were threats from North Queensland clubs they would switch to rugby union because of complaints about the standard of administration by the regional controlling body and the QRL.
But QRL secretary, Harry Sunderland, rather than taking a conciliatory stance, effectively challenged the Northerners to ‘make my day’ in a year when the South African union side was scheduled to tour Australia.
“In the rugby league code we have at least secured visits of the Englishmen to those far northern areas, sometimes at a financial loss,” Sunderland said. “I doubt if northerners, in view of long distances and economic conditions, would get a team such as South Africa to go north. No New Zealand or English (union) teams ever went north in the days when the region did play the 15 man game.”
The North stayed loyal.
NOTE: The annual Harry Sunderland Address will be delivered by media personality, John McCoy in Suncorp Stadium’s Paddington Room at 10am on Saturday, May 25. ‘Rugby League at the Exhibition Grounds’ is the subject of the address. Admission is free and includes a fine morning tea.