The blinding pace and elusiveness of indigenous winger, John ‘Chicka’ Ferguson proved the difference as Newtown Jets defeated Combined Brisbane 23-19 at Lang Park in the Tooth Cup mid-week combination.
Ferguson was named man of the match, even though he rarely handled the ball. When he did have possession he bamboozled the Brisbane defence, scoring a try and having a heavy involvement in two others.
Newtown scored five tries to three and deserved victory, even though Brisbane almost snatched a win at the end when halfback, Greg Oliphant claimed a try after Newtown made a mess of a bomb. But referee, Eddie Ward ruled a knock-on and the inner city Sydney club left the stadium with bragging rights.
Ferguson, then 26, was spending his first season in Sydney after playing most of his football in the bush. The Grafton product would go on to play three Tests for Australia and eight State of Origin matches for New South Wales.
The Courier-Mail’s Lawrie Kavanagh thought five eighth, Phil Sigsworth deserved man of the match honors.
Many of the Brisbane players thought fullback, Ken Wilson was a major contender, given the way his long kicking game had them on the back foot. Brisbane coach, Arthur Beetson had pinpointed Wilson as the danger man, but the home team had no answer to his tactics.
Meanwhile, in Sydney, Cronulla forward, Steve Kneen was banned for a total of 15 weeks for two separate offences, one an off the ball tackle, the other a high shot, both on Wests’ hooker, Alan Latham.
Kneen, who in recent years has been the bus driver for the New South Wales State of Origin side, toured Britain and France with the 1978 Kangaroos.
French selectors named a youthful 28 man squad to tour New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea. World class lock, Joel Roosebrouck from foundation league club, Villeneuve-sur-Lot was named skipper.
Occupations of the French players included soldier, physical education teacher, bank teller, accountant and policeman. Most were ‘council employees”.
The coach was Louis Bonnery from Limoux, who played two Tests for France against Britain in 1969. Bonnery is now host of a rugby league program on French television, with Perpignan product, Laurent Garnier as a co-presenter. Garnier was a member of Wynnum-Manly’s senior coaching staff in Brisbane before returning to France. He is now back in Australia.
<pic>Old journos at Breakfast Creek Hotel (from left) Lawrie Kavanagh, David Falkenmire, Steve Ricketts, Barry Dick, Jack Craig.