SOUTHS coach, Wayne Bennett took his second Brisbane grand final thrashing on the chin after Wynnum-Manly laid claim to being Australia’s top club side, with a 42-8 win at Lang Park.
Bennett was Souths’ coach in 1979 when they were thrashed 26-0 by a Valleys side, with a young Wally Lewis on the rise for the victors.
In 1984 Lewis played for Wynnum-Manly and captained Queensland and Australia to Origin and Test series wins over New South Wales and Great Britain respectively.
But hooker, David Green was Wynnum’s club captain and rated the Seagulls outfit the best he had seen.
There were even calls for a national club championship show down with Canterbury-Bankstown, the Sydney premiers, given Wynnum contained five current or future internationals (Lewis, Gene Miles, Greg Dowling, Colin Scott, Gary Coyne); Origin stars, Ian and Brett French and Terry Butler); state residents prop, Tony Kajewski and Brisbane reps., Brian Walsh, Peter Dawes and Mal Green.
Canterbury boasted seven internationals (Andrew Farrar, Terry Lamb, Steve and Chris Mortimer, Paul Langmack, Steve Folkes and Peter Tunks) as well as NSW rep, Peter Kelly and Qld forward, Darryl Brohman.
There is little doubt Wynnum were capable of winning a one-off match, given the presence of Lewis, Miles, Dowling and Scott, and the fact Queensland had won the Origin that year, while Brisbane won the National Panasonic Cup competition. Queenslanders also dominated the Australian side, so in ’84 everything the Maroons touched turned to gold.
But it is doubtful Wynnum would have had the depth to compete in the Sydney competition, week-in- week-out.
Wynnum scored eight tries to one in accounting for Souths in the ’84 BRL decider, the result a triumph for coach, Des Morris, who had guided the baysiders to their first ever title in ’82, without the services of Lewis.
Brian Walsh, a product of the Murwillumbah Brothers club, proved himself the Mr Versatile of the BRL, playing fullback in the grand final in place of Colin Scott, who was suspended on a high tackle charge.
“I did not think they were that good,” said a stunned Bennett after the match.
In reserve grade, prop, Scott Tronc starred for the Magpies in their 10-6 win over Valleys, who were coached by Wally Lewis’s father, Jim. Souths’ coach was former Qld five eighth, Graham Atherton.
Redcliffe beat Souths 14-4 in third grade, with Test referee, Eddie Ward in charge of proceedings. David Manson refereed first grade.
Souths were fined $250 and severely reprimanded by the Brisbane Division for not providing the correct team to officials for the preliminary final clash with Valleys the previous week, but in fairness to the Magpies, they had all three teams still vying for titles, and head coach, Bennett had a difficult task finalising his squads.
Still, Wayne has been known to throw a few curve balls when it comes to naming sides.