Only eight Queenslanders were named in the 28 strong 1948-49 Kangaroo touring team to Britain and France, with the omission of second rower, Ron McLennan and fullback, Danny O’Connor regarded as the biggest shocks north of the border.
But the major talking point was the naming of Colin Maxwell as captain ahead of Len Smith, who had been captain-coach of Australia against the Kiwis earlier in the season, and had captained New South Wales to a 17-13 win over Qld on the day the touring squad was named.
This remains one of the major controversies of Australian sport.
At the time there were strong divisions in the game along Mason-Catholic lines. Smith was a Catholic and at the time the Masons had the power.
But the other theory is that Norman ‘Latchem’ Robinson, one of the selectors, wanted the coaching job and Smith had to be sacrificed, although Smith himself said he didn’t want the responsibility of coaching. Ultimately Maxwell was named captain-coach.
The team was selected so early in the year because they had to travel to Britain on the Maloja, a steam powered ocean liner, from Sydney on August 4.
The Queenslanders chosen for the Kangaroo tour were: Eddie Brosnan, Duncan Hall, Henry ‘Frosty’ Benton, Pat McMahon, Len Pegg, Jack Horrigan, Bill Thompson and Bill Tyquin.
Benton had played 60 minutes of the final inter-state game with a broken rib, a remarkable effort for a hooker in the days when scrums were so physical.
Occupations of the 28 tourists ranged from policeman (Brosnan and Jack Rayner) to railway fitter (McMahon) and hotel manager (Maxwell).