FLASHBACK: April 1976

Brothers created history when they became the first Brisbane club side to defeat a Sydney club in a ‘competition’ match.

The competition was the knock-out Amco Cup and Penrith was the club to feel the wrath of the fired up Fighting Irish.

Coached by John Lohman, Brothers took no notice of reputations, scoring five tries to two in the 19-8 victory.

The scoreline would have been even more embarrassing for Penrith if Brothers’ winger, Ian Dauth had been on target, with the Beaudesert product missing seven of his nine shots!

Dauth’s kicking was so bad, he took himself off for the final kick in the closing stages, but his replacement, Rick Willmett was also astray with an easy shot.

Penrith, beaten grand finalists in the inaugural Amco Cup in 1974, never looked like winning, and were described as ‘dreary’ by The Courier-Mail’s Lawrie Kavanagh.

“Take Great Britain second rower, Bill Ashurst and halfback, Terry Wickey out of this Sydney side, and it could have been a side from Boggabilla on an end-of-season trip,” Kavanagh wrote.

Led by Test forward, David Wright, Brothers’ pack over powered the Panthers’ set, paving the way for a sensational performance by halfback, John Herlihy.

Wright’s co-prop, Noel ‘Chips’ Harrington was named man of the match for his barnstorming performance, and won a colour tv set.

Harrington rarely failed to bump off the first defender, and in the end had the Penrith forwards on the back foot.

An indigenous man, who lived at Inala in Brisbane’s south, Harrington reportedly told the television interviewer after the match, he would need to get the power on to take advantage of his prize. That, of course, was just Chipsy’s sense of humour. Harrington has since passed away from the effects of diabetes.

It was a Lang Park triple header, and in the later match, Canterbury-Bankstown thrashed North Queensland 40-0 with winger, Chris Anderson scoring three tries.

North Qld centre, Murray Schultz, returned to Brisbane soon after, to resume his playing career at Brothers, where he had been a star of their march to the 1974 BRL Grand final.

The first match of the night was a schoolboys clash between Iona College from southern bayside Lindum, and Padua College from northside, Kedron. Padua’s lock was future Test star and Channel 9 television personality, Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Please allow me to be self indulgent.

I played for Brothers in that win over Penrith. The previous Sunday I had played third grade for Brothers’ against Valleys at Neumann Oval, and impressed enough to get a call-up to the 17 man squad for the Amco Cup match.

I worked for The Telegraph newspaper on the day of the Penrith match, and spent most of the time in the toilet suffering from acute nerves.

That night I sat on the bench for the first two quarters and then played in the centres for the second half of the match. I was even involved in one try scoring movement.

I had little to do in defence because our five eighth, Chris Ryan cut off the Penrith attack before they could spin the ball wide. I remember going in to tackle Penrith’s Test prop, Bob O’Reilly at one stage, thinking how easy it would be, because he appeared to be lumbering. But he sat me on my arse.

That night back at Brothers’ Leagues Club, Grange, we watched the replay of the match, the only time I have seen footage of me playing football.

SCORES: Brothers 19 (I Dauth, J Herlihy, J Short, P McNamara, N Harrington tries; Dauth 2 goals) d Penrith 8(B Ashurst, V Humphries tries; K Wilson goal).

TEAMS: Brothers: Alan Power; Ian Dauth, Mark Thomas, Paul Beauchamp, Brad Shelvey; Chris Ryan, John Herlihy; Allan Rushton, John Leyden, David Wright (c), Peter McNamara, Ross Franklin, Noel Harrington. Inter: Steve Ricketts, Laurie McBeath, Rick Willmett, John Short.

Penrith: Ken Wilson; Gary Allsopp, Ross Gigg, Glen West, Terry Quinn; Ian McKechnie, Terry Wickey; Peter Langmack, John King, Bill Ashurst, Terry Geary, Mick Stephenson (c), Bob O’Reilly. Inter: Barry Le Brocq, George Longhurst, Russell Hughes, Vaughan Humphries.

Referee, Don Lancashire.

Steve Ricketts in his Brothers' gear in 1976

Steve Ricketts in his Brothers’ gear in 1976

3 responses to “FLASHBACK: April 1976

  1. They were the good old days of football and remember that game as dad and myself would watch the Amco cup every I think it was a Wednesday night with black boot polish under eyes to stop the glare of the lights. I remember a great half back brothers had Tony White but was killed in a car accident not long after joining Brothers and do think he could have gone on to bigger and better things. I played for Brothers under nines 1972 – thirteens 76. I played second row to a guy name Rod Macall who went on to play for Australia in rugby Union. Also played with John Butler who was half back and went on to play A grade Easts. How times have changed and it’s now more about the money and I do believe when the Broncos entered the Sydney rugby League is when Brisbane football went down hill. Other good Brothers players Wayne Bennett Bob Cock and I forget the rest but it’s great to and still read a Brisbane football and thank you very much appreciated.

  2. I played for Toowoomba under 18s against Brisbane’s under 18s in 1976 as a curtain razor at Lang Park. Toowoomba won 21-20, I am seeking footage from that game, particularly the last half of the game if possible. Don Lancashire was the referee. The last tackle of the game done on Louche Nobile was on the try line beside the uprights. Injury time went into full time and we had beaten a star-studded Brisbane team with a makeshift group of country kids to achieve the unthinkable. Brisbane had Richy Twist, Wayne Stewart, to name just a few. Toowoomba’s team had 4 players that hadn’t even trained with us because of being flooded in whilst on holiday from studying in Toowoomba.
    Kind regards, John Bermingham

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