FLASHBACK: June 1965

AUSTRALIAN selectors handed out one of the biggest shocks in years with the naming of North Queensland centre, Gary Wellington in the Kangaroos’ squad to tour New Zealand.
Wellington at first refused to believe it, when told of his selection following Queensland’s 22-4 loss to New South Wales in Sydney. He heard the news on radio, and then telephoned league officials to see if it was true.
A regular in North Qld rep sides for two years, Wellington was sound, rather than brilliant in the two inter-state matches leading up to the selection of the national squad.
The other Queensland based players named for the Kangaroos were Johnny Gleeson and Noel Cavanagh, while Sydney based Maroons, Mick Veivers and Lloyd Weier also were rewarded with green and gold.
The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon rated five eighth, Garth Budge and fullback/winger, Ray Laird the unlucky Queenslanders, although he said Budge may have ruined his chances by not feeding his outside men.
Reardon was stunned by the selection of Manly-Warringah winger, Nick Yakich.
“Yakich was considered to have played his way out of reckoning when he dropped passes and slowed down when faced by Ray Laird,” Reardon wrote.
But Reardon was equally damning of Qld’s effort, saying the Maroons had hit rock bottom in one of the poorest inter-state games he had ever covered.
“Queensland fumbled and groped their way through an agonising first half to be down 14-2,” he wrote.
In his first interstate series, tall Manly-Warringah forward, John ‘Pogo’ Morgan played outstanding football, brushing off Qld defenders with ease. (Morgan’s son, Garrick, also known as ‘Pogo’, would go on to play rugby union for the Wallabies).
The Australian touring squad: Backs: Les Johns, Mike Cleary, Ken Irvine, Nick Yakich, Reg Gasnier, Graeme Langlands, Gary Wellington, Jim Lisle, Johnny Gleeson, Billy Smith. Forwards: Johnny Raper, Noel Cavanagh, John Morgan, Barry Beath, Brian Hambly, Paul Quinn, Mick Veivers, Lloyd Weir, Ian Walsh (captain/coach), Alan Buman.
Managers, Des ‘Banjo’ Green (Qld), Arnold Stehr (NSW).

Gary Wellington about to run onto a pass from John McDonald during a training run.

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