FLASHBACK: January 1986

Australian Test prop, Greg Dowling suffered severe lime burns to the right eye playing for Wigan in a 16-6 loss to Widnes at Naughton Park in the English Rugby League, where the Wynnum-Manly contracted star was spending the Australian off-season.

The lime, which was used for field markings, entered Dowling’s eye late in the match when he was tackled by a Widnes’ player.

Dowling’s wife, Rhonda was upset that that Widnes apparently did not treat the situation with the seriousness it warranted.

“They (Widnes) treated it as if it was nothing,” Mrs Dowling said. “If Wigan don’t make a formal complaint about the lime being used on the field, than I will. It’s ridiculous that something as dangerous as that can be put on the ground when players are being tackled on it all the time.”

Dowling suffered no long term damage, and today there are no problems at Widnes, given the new Halton Stadium has artificial turf.

Meanwhile, in Brisbane club football, former Brisbane representative halfback, Brad Sully had switched from Souths to Easts looking to revitalise his career after Wayne Cullen had usurped him as the top halfback a the Magpies, who won the 1985 premiership.

Sully was Easts’ major off-season signing, but the Tigers, under the coaching of Wayne Lindenberg, faced a tough time in ’86, given they had lost star forwards, Gavin Jones and Trevor Paterson to Sydney Easts, and Martin Bella to North Sydney.

Souths too, under new coach, Graeme Atherton, were rated long shots to defend their title, given they had lost the likes of Mal Meninga, Gary Belcher (Canberra), John Elias (Canterbury), Bob Kellaway (Ipswich) and Chris Phelan (retirement).

Atherton replaced Wayne Bennett, who took on the job as Queensland coaching director, as well as State of origin coach.

Souths’ most prominent player signing was prop, Peter Brown from Auckland.

Kellaway, a Qld Origin squad member in 1982 and ’84, was one of 13 players from Brisbane clubs to sign with Ipswich Jets, who were coached by former Test halfback, Tom Raudonikis. Tommy signed a host of players from his old club, Brothers, most notably Glenn Haggath, Pat Shepherdson and Shane McCarthy.

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Greg Dowling

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