The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon described the week from August 30 to September 6, 1970 as the blackest in the history of Past Brothers Rugby League Club in Brisbane.
Worse was to come in later years, but there was certainly plenty of doom and gloom in the ranks of The Fighting Irish in that period in 1970.
Brothers had claimed the 1970 BRL Club Championship after the ‘home and away’ rounds, and its First Grade and C Grade sides were minor premiers, with the Reserve Grade, second.
On August 30 all three teams played in the major semi-finals and were beaten, and the following week all three were beaten in the preliminary finals.
During the week, two hard working club officials, Ted Kelly and Bill Higgins died, and former treasurer, Des Condon lost his 18 month old son in tragic circumstances.
Former Wallaby forward, Peter Reilly broke his leg, and co-forward, Steve Lean was in hospital with an injured spine.
On a brighter note, the first sod had been turned for Brothers’ new $200,000 club house at Grange in Brisbane’s inner north.
Site of the clubhouse was Hickey’s Dairy, where Brothers used to hold social gatherings, and people sat on bales of hay or an upturned bucket. The dairy, on the banks of Kedron Brook, had been a jersey stud.
It was in Hickey’s Dairy where Brothers then coach and social secretary, the great Bob Bax, once raffled a chook, and when the winner came to collect his prize, ‘Baxie’ pointed to the rafters of the barn where a live chook was minding its own business.
In 1970 the plans for Brothers Leagues include squash courts (it was a huge game back then), a swimming pool and bowls green. None of them came to fruition, although the club was grand by Brisbane standards when it opened, and was a nightlife hub, particularly on Sundays, when young people would line up at the door.
Now known as Bandits-Brothers (The Bandits National Baseball team has its offices here), the club still trades, and Brothers’ second division men’s side conducts raffles on Friday between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
And every now and then you can spot a Brothers’ legend, enjoying an ale, and wondering whatever happened to that chook.