FLASHBACK: April 1984

Centre, Jeff Burns, who played in the infamous 'Dalby Donnybrook' in 1984

Centre, Jeff Burns, who played in the infamous ‘Dalby Donnybrook’ in 1984

Former Wallaby rugby union prop, Tony D’Arcy signed with Brisbane Wests after an unsuccessful stint with Sydney club, Penrith.

D’Arcy, who played 10 union Tests for Australia, said league was a more dynamic game than the 15 man code.
“You watch on television and it seems soft,” D’Arcy said. “But go down to the sidelines and listen to the crunches.”
Valleys signed young English forward, Colin Maskill from Wakefield Trinity, where he had impressed Australian guest players, brothers Wally and Scott Lewis.
The Winfield State League was launched in fine style at the Queensland Cultural Centre , but despite the QRL’s hopes for a strong showing from the bush, Brisbane clubs dominated.
That doesn’t mean country sides did not provide tough opposition, as evidenced by a match between Toowoomba and Brothers at Dalby, which the Brisbane boys won only 18-12 in a spiteful encounter.
The Brothers’ boys earned the ire of one of their favourite sons, Johnny Gleeson, who played for Australia from Corbett Park.
In ’84, Gleeson was back in his home town of Chinchilla and was a Toowoomba selector. He was so incensed at Brothers’ style of play under coach, Tom Raudonikis, he labelled them thugs.
My story in The Telegraph, quoting Gleeson, saw me banned from Brothers’ dressing rooms by president, Frank Melit.
I don’t think it helped that Frank arrived at Brothers’ Leagues Club to be met by a Telegraph poster in the leagues club foyer which read: ‘BROTHERS THUGS’.
And me, an old Brothers’ boy!
Meanwhile, in Paris, Oceania beat Europe 54-4 in a match to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of French rugby league. Former Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam was among the special guests at the historic match.
But the big news from April, 1984, was the theft of the television set from the press box at Lang Park. Is nothing sacred?

One response to “FLASHBACK: April 1984

  1. As coach of that Toowoomba team , there was great spirit displayed in that game and Toowoomba actually scored while there was a fight still going on . Don Oxenham

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