EASTS’ lock, John Tobin scored the decisive try three minutes from fulltime as the Roosters carved out a 14-4 win over Combined Brisbane at Lang Park in the opening Tooth Cup match of the 1980 Rugby League season.
The only other try of the match was scored by giant Easts’ centre, Noel Cleal, and Brisbane were in the contest until that 77th minute break through by Tobin.
Future league ‘Immortal’, Wally Lewis started on the bench for Brisbane, and was injected into play late in the second quarter, his brilliant reading of play causing all sorts of headaches for the Roosters.
Five eighth, Peter McWhirter and centres, Mal Meninga and Chris Close also played strongly for the Henry Holloway coached Brisbane, with Meninga registering the only points for the home side – two penalty goals.
Queensland and Australian hooker, John Lang made his debut for the Roosters after gaining a late clearance from the QRL to make a comeback to football, after announcing his retirement at the end of the 1979 season following a fall-out with Brisbane Easts.
The Roosters induced Lang out of retirement after their top hooker, Arthur Mountier was sidelined by a work accident. Grafton product, Kevin ‘Stumpy’ Stevens started at hooker against Brisbane.
Brothers’ star, Jay Hoffman, father of current Warriors’ star, Ryan Hoffman, was a controversial selection ahead of form Norths’ hooker, Greg Conescu.
The teams were:
Brisbane: Alan Power; Bligh Davidson, Chris Close, Mal Meninga, Brad Backer; Peter McWhirter, John Salter; Norm Carr (c), Greg Quinn, Bryan Niebling, Al Mcinnes, Jay Hoffman, Dave Brown. Res: Mick Neill, Mark Thomas, Wally Lewis, Bill Whitmore.
Easts: Kerry Boustead; David Michael, John Berne, Noel Cleal, Steve McFarlane; Barry Andrews, Kevin Hastings; John Tobin, Ian Schubert, Des O’Reilly, Royce Ayliffe (c), Kevin Stevens, John Harvey. Res: Russell Fairfax, Steve Hage, John Lang, Gary Metcalf. Coach, Bob Fulton.
Clontarf High beat Kelvin Grove 15-12 in a Commonwealth Bank Cup curtain raiser.
On the Brisbane club scene, Craig Brodie (Valleys) and Gary Thompson (Souths) failed in their appeals against three weeks and two weeks suspensions respectively, Brodie for a high tackle and Thompson for a kneeing incident.
<Pic>Noel Cleal in action for NSW.