Goal kicking horrors cost Brothers any chance of advancing to the 1976 Brisbane Rugby League grand final.
Brothers’ ace goal kicker, Ian Dauth was in the Frank Burke Stand at Lang Park, nursing a dislocated collar bone, as his club went down 18-10 to Wests in a hard hitting preliminary final.
Fullback, Alan Power, who had signed with Brothers from Surfers Paradise Pirates at the start of the year, was given first crack at the kicking job, and when he landed just one shot from six attempts, former Penrith lower grader, Wayne O’Keefe stepped up. O’Keefe kicked one from two.
Each side scored two tries, but the difference was the (relatively) accurate boot of Wests’ former Test winger, Wayne Stewart, who landed six goals from nine shots.
Brothers’ second rower, Bob Cock was sent from the field by referee, Bernie Pramberg, three minutes from full time for a late tackle, although Cock said later he had got there as quickly as he could.
Brothers’ fans had reason to shake their heads, given that Wests’ players escaped similar censure, despite the fact five eighth, Chris Ryan was carried from the field following two late shots, and indigenous forward, Noel ‘Chips’ Harrington had to be assisted from the field after a similar tackle.
In a further setback to Brothers, hooker, Greg Keane dislocated his elbow, and had to be replaced by former North Sydney rake, Ross Franklin.
Wests led 11-4 early in the second half, but O’Keefe (who replaced Ryan) and centre, Paul Beauchamp did the lead-up work for a block busting try by winger, Noel Russell.
Cock made a strong break to set up halfback, John Herlihy for a try to make it 11-10 Wests’ way, but that was the end of the scoring for Brothers, who were conceding too many penalties.
Wests tries were scored by winger, Mick Reardon and hooker, Gary Prickett.
Wests dual international five eighth, Geoff Richardson, gave Brothers’ fullback, Power a testing afternoon with meticulously placed bombs.
Wests’ win meant they would play Easts in the grand final the following weekend. Pramberg was appointed referee for the big one, but indicated he would retire afterwards, to pursue other interests, including a media career.
(Easts went on to win the grand fional 16-1).
In the Ipswich competition, Brothers won all five senior grades, with the firsts beating Wests End 10-6. The other wins were: Reserves 25-10 v West End; C grade 23-12 v Camboo; under-18s 23-19 v Booval Swifts; under-16s 16-10 v Gatton.
in the South Burnett competition, giant 18-year-old Wondai centre, Noel Cleal finished the season with 50 tries – 42 for his premiership winning club and eight for the rep side. Noel’s older brother, Les, was Wondai captain coach,
Noel would go on to play eight Tests for Australia from the Manly-Warringah club. Les played first grade for the Roosters and had a stint with Brothers in Brisbane.
The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon wrote that Noel Cleal, a New South Welshman, was not the hottest property in the South Burnett. He said 18-year-old Kingaroy local, prop, Dave Brown deserved that rating. Brown would go on to play five Tests for Australia from Manly-Warringah.