FLASHBACK: June 1953

AYR forward, Kel O’Shea stamped himself as a new star of Australian Rugby League after the 19-year-old blitzed New South Wales in Queensland’s 22-13 triumph at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds.
The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon wrote that O’Shea had “tackled, rucked, struggled and run for the full 80 minutes, and was still full of running at the end of the game.”
Winger, Des McGovern scored two tries and was named in the Australian team to tour New Zealand.
O’Shea had to be content with a place in a State selection to play the touring American All Stars.
The eight Queenslanders chosen for the Trans-Tasman trip were Ken McCaffery (Toowoomba), Alex Watson (Brisbane Wests), Des McGovern (Too), Bobby Banks (Too), Harold ‘Mick’ Crocker (Brisbane Souths), Bernie Drew (Ipswich), Brian Davies (Brisbane Brothers) and Alan Hornery (Brisbane Souths).
Queensland had also beaten NSW at the Brisbane Cricket Ground that same month – 32-23 – with coach, Duncan Thompson’s defensive strategies working a treat against the faster Blues backs.
Fullback, Clive Churchill was regarded as the Blues danger man, but ‘The Little Master’ had a rare quiet game, thanks to Queensland’s strangling defence.
Long before ‘Rugby League Week’ came up with the Immortals concept, Churchill was rated an ‘immortal’ by Reardon after the Newcastle product and South Sydney star had played 50 consecutive representative games leading into the 1953 inter-state series.
Queensland’s success in Brisbane represented a huge turn around after NSW had won the first two inter-state games in Sydney – 26-15 and 27-16.
Thompson studied films of both those games and came up with a winning formula.

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