THE ‘Golden Greek’, Fonda Metassa hit the headlines for all the right and wrong reasons in August, 1965.
The colourful Norths’ Devils winger was sent off in one Brisbane Rugby League premiership match, and scored three tries in another.
Metassa, who would play his one and only match for Queensland the following season (against Great Britain), was sent off on August 1, 1965, by controversial inter-state referee, Henry Albert.
Albert charged Metassa with using a forearm to the head of Redcliffe opponent, Trevor Harken in the 26th minute of a tough, exciting match at Lang Park, with the Dolphins emerging 10-5 winners.
Metassa exacerbated the situation by refusing to leave the field immediately after he was given his marching orders.
Despite being a man down, Norths showed tremendous grit, with the scoreline 2-2 at halftime.
Ultimately the power of Redcliffe forwards, Rowan McNamara, George Gledhill and Arthur Beetson proved too much for Norths, with Beetson setting up a crucial try for Harkin with a neat, short pass as he was held up in a tackle.
Norths’ only try was scored by Mal Breen, who sprinted 75 metres after swooping on a loose ball.
Devils’ hooker, Elwyn Walters won the scrums 13-6 and displayed great mobility in open play.
When Metassa fronted the BRL judiciary the following day he pleaded not guilty, but to no avail, emerging a disconsolate figure after being hit with a two match ban.
Going into the match against Redcliffe, Metassa was the BRL’s leading try scorer with 17, two more than Valleys’ Robin Gilbank.
In the final round of home and away fixtures Metassa scored three tries in Norths’ 31-17 win over Wynnum-Manly at Oxenham Park, to finish the regular season in equal first spot with Gilbank, who scored five tries in the last three rounds.
Prior to the match against Wynnum, Metassa told the media the opposition would not be able to handle his crashing runs.
True to his bold prediction, Metassa had the near record crowd on their feet with his blockbusting sideline forays.
After scoring one try in the corner, he turned to a large group of cheering boys, and asked: “Did you like that?”
The kids roared as one: “Yeah“.
Metassa replied: “Well, hang around. I’ll be back in a minute“.