Banished to Newcastle for the second year in a row, Queensland were no match for New South Wales in the fourth and final inter-state match of the 1970 season, the display ruining the chances of several players vying for selection in Australia’s World Cup squad.
In 1969 Newcastle fans turned out in force to watch the Maroons, with the crowd close to 20,000.
But just 8658 paid at the gate in 1970, such was the anticipation of a one sided contest, after the Blues had won the previous two matches 22-9 (at Lang Park) and 34-8 (at the SCG). Qld had started the four match series in great style, winning 16-15 at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds.
Queensland were brave for much of the Newcastle encounter, leading 12-11 early in the second half, before going down 32-15.
Debutant hooker, Hugh O’Doherty won the scrums 17-13 against NSW’s Test rake, Elwyn Walters and with halfback, Johnny Brown showing the way, the Maroons displayed plenty of razzle dazzle for 60 minutes, before their bigger rivals wore them down.
Young Queensland centre, Glenn Harrison (whose nephew, Ash Harrison would go on to play Origin football for Qld), made several spectacular side stepping runs, leaving rivals grasping at thin air.
Qld five eighth, Doug Stapleton suffered a painful dislocation of the thumb and was replaced at halftime by Brisbane Souths’ teammate, Graeme Atherton, a NSW Country representative when he played for Marist Brothers in Lismore.
Giant centre, Mark Harris had made a stunning debut for NSW in the SCG match and backed that up with another top notch display in Newcastle.
A Queenslander, Harris had played rugby union in his home state and league in Papua New Guinea before signing for Easts in Sydney.
He set up the first try of the match for winger, Ray Corcoran; scored the next himself, and then set up the third try for his other winger, former Wallaby, Dave Grimmond.
The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon wrote that Harris had to be chosen for the World Cup campaign, even though his defence was suspect.
“Qld centre, Max Anderson left Harris for dead three times in the first half and he was awkward at other times trying to tackle rivals,” Reardon reported. “But he has everything else, and given the right kind of coaching he would not be wrong footed so often.”
Reardon also gave his seal of approval to Harris’s centre partner, Graham Moran, a graduate of the famous Woodlawn College, just outside Lismore.
Ron Beauchamp started in the centres for Qld, but moved to the wing after youngster, Wayne Stewart was injured. Beauchamp was one of the Maroons’ best and was rewarded with a try.