FLASHBACK: February 1979

Mal Meninga at training with the Brisbane representative side

Mal Meninga at training with the Brisbane representative side

The Courier-Mail’s Jack Craig was right on the money with his assessment ofyoungster, Mal Meninga after ‘big Mal’s’ senior debut for Souths against Brothers in a Woolies pre-season match at Davies Park. Meninga, who had played for Queensland under-18s the previous year, scored two tries – one a 60 metre effort – and kicked five goals from seven shots in the Magpies’ 19-13 win. Craig described it as one of the most impressive A grade debuts since Test winger, Wayne Stewart burst into top football in the semi-finals of the 1968 premiership. Ironically Stewart played fullback for Brothers against Souths in that ’79 Woolies match, landing two goals from five shots. Souths’ coach, Wayne Bennett predicted a big future for Meninga. “But we won’t be throwing him to the wolves, expecting him to run over teams like Easts and Valleys,” Bennett said. South Sydney signing, David Sinclair scored a 40 metre intercept try for Brothers. In other league news of the day, Redcliffe’s former state five eighth and future Broncos’ director, Steve Williams, 26, announced his retirement to concentrate on his job as an advertising salesman with 4BK. “I feel the game has slipped in appeal to players and the public in the last few years in Brisbane,” Williams told The Courier-Mail’s Lawrie Kavanagh. “Last season was probably the most boring, with Easts and Redcliffe the only interesting teams and Valleys getting into the grand final as a pure fluke. “I believe rugby league in Brisbane and Queensland needs a big boost. A lot of people will blame the players, but when things go wrong in business you look at the executive, not the workers.” Could the seeds for the Broncos have been sewn right there and then? Another former State five eighth, Steve Farquhar was admitted to rugby union and signed with GPS. Channel 0, later to become Channel 10, were awarded television rights to Brisbane football in ’79. They were the only applicants, with Channel 7, the previous rights holders, deciding not to bid.

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