FLASHBACK: April 1967

Jim Murphy made an impressive senior representative debut for Ipswich against Brisbane in the inter-city Bulimba cup competition.

Murphy, who would go on to tour New Zealand with the 1971 Australian side, was one of seven newcomers for Ipswich, the youngest outfit fielded by the coal city since World War II.

A product of Brothers St Brendan’s Club, Rocklea in Brisbane, Murphy was serving at the RAAF Base at Amberley and playing football in the Ipswich competition when chosen for the Bulimba Cup.

The youthful exuberance and high skill level of the Ipswich side was not enough to beat a Brisbane side inspired by Test forward, Peter ‘Pedro’ Gallagher. Brisbane won 26-17 after being down 13-0 after just 17 minutes.

Brisbane, coached by former Test forward, Henry Holloway, had two newcomers – halfback, Hasel Rolfe, 19, from Norths and second rower, Geoff Connell (Easts), with Connell previously having played first grade for Balmain in Sydney. Connell, born at Gundagai in NSW, but raised at Longreach in Queensland, had come to Brisbane as a National Serviceman.

Rolfe, a shock selection ahead of international halfback, Barry Muir, was outplayed by Ipswich’s State halfback and captain, Abe Weimers.

The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon tipped representative honors for Weimer’s halves partner, John White and also marked down Ipswich prop, Kev Stephens as a bolter for the Kangaroo tour of Britain and France at the end of the season.

In the round of Brisbane club football preceding the Bulimba Cup clash, premiers, Norths were brought back to earth by Brothers, who registered a 33-19 win at Lang Park, the first premiership match played under the new four tackle rule.

Brothers’ international second rower,  Noel Cavanagh kicked nine goals from 11 shots, most from wide angles. The only goal from in front was 50 metres out!

Cavanagh and Gallagher had accepted offers from North Sydney in the off-season, but the QRL refused them clearances. North Sydney already had Queenslanders, George Ambrum, Lloyd Weir and Eric Pitt on their books.

Brothers played attacking football, scoring five tries to three. The try of the match came from 70 metres out, with five eighth, Johnny Gleeson making the initial break. Gleeson found forwards, Dennis Manteit and Peter Gallagher in support, with Gallagher dummying and pivoting, before sending the final pass to centre, Des Smith to score.

At Langlands Park, home side Easts trounced Souths 26-5 with five eighth, Bob Schofield the destroyer.

Souths were missing State fullback, Tony Scott who suffered four facial fractures after being hit late in an Easter Knock-out series match against Wynnum-Manly at Lang Park. The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon did not name the perpetrator, and no-one was charged.

But Jack had his own quirky way of describing what proved the greatest controversy of the start of the 1967 season.

“This stiff arm merchant also knocked out a front tooth of Brothers’ international forward, Noel Cavanagh and flattened Norths’ fullback, Peter Lobegeger, all in the Easter knock-out,” Reardon wrote. “The betting is this king hitter will not last out the first round. He has built up too much retaliation in one weekend.”

Driving rain and gale force winds made attractive football almost impossible at Redcliffe Showgrounds where the home side went down 9-5 to Valleys, despite dominating possession.

In the Sunday Lang Park match, Wests had to withstand a withering assault on their goal line for the last 15 minutes before emerging 17-13 winners over Wynnum. Paul ‘Porky’ Morgan, who later would become Brisbane Broncos chairman, scored two tries for Wests.

There was no mention of Wynnum’s ‘stiff arm merchant’, or the retribution that had been widely tipped.

WhatsApp Image 2017-10-26 at 1.44.46 PM

George Ambrum in action for Australia against New Zealand in Sydney in 1972.

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