The experience and guile of legendary Valleys’ halves, Marty Scanlan and Ross Strudwick proved decisive in the Diehards 9-2 win over a young Brothers’ outfit in a tryless grand final at Lang Park.
Strudwick gave a preview of the form which would see him selected for Australia the following season, while Scanlan displayed the passion and strength expected of a loyal Valleys’ servant.
Brothers won the only other tryless Brisbane grand final – in 1967 when Noel Cavanagh kicked three penalty goals to one by Norths’ Peter Lobegeiger.
On this occasion Valleys’ points came from two penalty goals and a field goal by Strudwick; a penalty goal by prop, John Crilly and two field goals by blond haired fullback, Alan Mills.
Brothers’ only points came from the boot of winger, Ian Dauth, who landed one goal from three shots.
The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon described the game as ” dour and unspectacular”, but said it was still exciting given the hard, clean tackling.
This was in marked contrast to the major semi-final between Valleys and Norths when Strudwick was hit late, hard and often by the Devils, as the Diehards hung on for a 16-15 win.
Brothers, under the coaching of Paul Broughton, had advanced to the grand final courtesy of a 27-12 win over Souths in the minor semi-final, and then an amazing 12-9 victory over Norths in the preliminary final.
Brothers’ fullback, Wayne Bennett master minded a 110 metre try in the prelim. final, shedding a number of tackles before finding winger, Ian Dauth with a perfectly timed pass, with Dauth doing the rest.
In the grand final, Bennett and Ian Sartori had Brothers’ fans on their feet courtesy of some promising bursts, and halfback, Tony White got through a mountain of work, as did forwards, Bob Cock and Peter McNamara.
Crilly and Russell Hughes, the man John Sattler called a ‘young punk’ in his autobiography, made the most ground in the rucks for Valleys. Diehards’ centre, Bob Beatson found a few gaps, but the cover defence was always up to the task.
In one amazing incident Valleys’ winger, Paul Gayler was tackled from behind and wrestled to the ground by a drunken spectator during a passage of play.
Valleys’ coach, Henry Holloway thought his side had the better of the match, even though they lost the scrums.
It was Holloway’s fourth title in six years with Valleys after he was captain-coach in Redcliffe’s 1965 grand final win over Valleys.
Broughton, a first year coach with Brothers, brought new ideas to the Brisbane coaching scene, after his old club, St George in Sydney, rejected the same concepts.
“I was a week off life membership with St George when I left,” Broughton told The Courier-Mail’s Lawrie Kavanagh after the grand final. “But I don’t regret my move now”.
BROTHERS FANS – If you want to see an amazing ‘Hall of Fame’ of some of the greats from ‘The Fighting Irish’, visit Brothers Community Club, Agincourt Street, Grange. Brothers NRL Bid team member, Anthony O’Brien is a talented artist, and the gallery is his work, one of his latest editions a portrait of ‘Smokin’ Joe Kilroy’.