FLASHBACK: March 1954

International league stars of the 1950s, (from left) Ken McCaffery, Brian Davies, Duncan Hall and Alex Watson.

International league stars of the 1950s, (from left) Ken McCaffery, Brian Davies, Duncan Hall and Alex Watson.

MUCH was made of the State Teacher’s College decision to enter a team in the 1954 Brisbane Rugby League C grade competition.
Previously the college only played rugby union, but with sponsorship from Wynnum-Manly, the teachers decided to also give the 13 man code a try.
QRL president, Cyril Connell Snr and BRL secretary, Ron McAuliffe were among the prime movers in luring the college to league.
The State Secondary Schools League also was formed in the 1953-54 off-season, so officials of the time deserve praise for their initiative.
In the first representative match of ’54, Brisbane defeated Ipswich 33-8 at the Exhibition Ground with Brisbane winger, Wally McDonald; fullback, Norm Pope and prop, Duncan Hall in brilliant form. The crowd was 7,000.
A week later Toowoomba beat Ipswich 18-12, also at the Ekka in front of a crowd of 6,000 with centre, Russell Brown and halves, Cyril Connell Jnr and Bobby Banks crucial to the Clydesdales’ success, despite heavy spotting.
Brisbane coach, ‘Scotty’ Macrae stepped down as Souths Magpies’ coach because he felt he could not do justice to the job given he was coaching the rep side, as well as being a state and national selector.
Wests were dealt a huge blow when international Alex Watson suffered a knee injury in a trial, with the block busting centre expected to be sidelined for the season. Not only did Watson come back, he played in all three Tests against the touring Great Britain side, scoring a try in the decider in Sydney, which Australia won 20-16 in front of a crowd of 67,577.

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