FLASHBACK: February 1977

Pat Kelly scored a controversial ‘extra time’ try for 1976 Brisbane Rugby League premiers, Wests in their 11-9 win over Wynnum-Manly in a round 1 Woolies pre-season competition match at Purtell Park, Bardon.

Kelly, a product of the Southport based Gold Coast Tigers club, broke the hearts of Wynnum supporters who were prematurely celebrating victory.

When the scoreboard clock showed full time, the ground announcer stunned fans when he said there was two minutes injury time remaining. He made another announcement with one minute remaining.

When the two minutes were up, Wynnum had possession and there was a tackle.

“That should have been the end of it,” wrote ‘The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon. “But play went on because referee, Eddie Ward apparently did not hear the full time siren.”

Wynnum led 9-8 at that stage, but Kelly barged over for the match winner.

Reardon pointed out that the rules of the pre-season comp stipulated there would be no time off for injuries. There were mutterings of a protest, but in the end Wynnum lived with the decision.

Wynnum’s former Murwillumbah Brothers’ hooker, John Dowling scored seven of his side’s nine points, from a try and two goals, with Ross Nunn also landing a goal.

Reardon predicted Easts would be the team to beat in 1977 after he saw the Tigers belt Norths 32-9 in the first match of a Lang Park double header.

Easts scored eight tries with Townsville centre signing, Mark Payne crossing twice. Kiwi international centre, Bernie Lowther also impressed in a slick backline display.

Valleys also scored eight tries in the second match at League HQ, leaving Brothers licking their wounds after a 34-0 loss.

Valleys’ former Test halfback, Ross Strudwick, scored three tries while lock, John Ribot crossed twice.

Brothers went into the match with a number of key players unavailable as a result of a long injury list from a trial against Sydney glamour side, Easts Roosters at Corbett Park, Grange.

Players battled ankle deep water in the other round one match – at Redcliffe Showgrounds where the home side accounted for Souths 13-7.

Redcliffe captain-coach, Ian ‘Bunny’ Pearce was inspirational, while former New South Wales prop, John Barber reveled in the heavy stuff in the middle.

Souths used two halfbacks, Brian McGrath (first half) and John Martin. McGrath would go on to become a prominent official at the Brisbane Broncos.

Eddie Ward.

Eddie Ward.

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