FLASHBACK: January 1965

BRISBANE Easts pulled off a major coup for the game in Queensland when they signed ‘The Little Master’, Clive Churchill as non-playing coach.
Churchill, who had coached Canterbury-Bankstown in 1964, also was chased by Tweed Seagulls, and expressed a desire to live on the Gold Coast.
In the end Easts got their man, with supporters hoping Churchill could repeat his 1959 effort of guiding Norths to the BRL title, their first in 19 years.
Churchill’s 1300 pounds coaching fee, and a job as barman at the Stones Corner Hotel, made him the highest paid coach in BRL history. He had been driving taxis in Sydney.
In other news of the time:

  • Test five eighth, Johnny Gleeson signed with Souths in Toowoomba after two seasons at Wynnum-Manly.
  • Manly-Warringah signed Australian Test forward, Ken Day from Townsville Souths, while Balmain signed Tweed Seagulls’ players, Jim Bonus and Mark Anderson;
  • Brisbane Souths, coached by former Test halfback, Cyril Connell, signed Queensland representatives, Ron Dutton and Trevor Niebling, with rugged forward, Niebling returning to football after a year’s break.
    Dutton, Originally from Sydney, had been playing in Rockhampton prior to joining the Magpies.
  • Sydney Wests signed Brisbane Brothers’ hooker, Noel Thornton.
    Brothers, coached by former Test forward, Brian Davies, kicked off their 1965 training programme with a calisthenic exercise programme at Corbett Park, Grange under the supervision of former Olympic swimming coach, Arthur Cusack.
  • The Australian Rugby League Board of Control cleared Wally Tallis (father of future Broncos’ skipper, Gorden) to play for Greater Manchester club, Leigh in England. Tallis had been playing for Brothers in Townsville.

    Clive Churchill (centre back) in the official Easts team photo from 1965. In the centre at the front is skipper, Ben Wall.

    Clive Churchill (centre back) in the official Easts team photo from 1965. In the centre at the front is skipper, Ben Wall.

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