FLASHBACK: MAY 1947

LEN Kenny emerged as a champion winger after a dazzling display for Brisbane in a 23-5 thrashing of Toowoomba in a Bulimba cup match at the Brisbane Cricket Ground.

Kenny played a role in tries scored by teammates, Jack Schatz and Ron McLennan, and scored a solo try which The Courier-Mail’s Laurie Kearney said featured “audacious daring and gazelle like speed, reminiscent of some of the greatest efforts seen in Queensland inter-city football.

“In every angle of the game, Kenny was a real champion,” Kearney continued. “He opened attack in masterly style and was wonderfully ubiquitous in his own spectacular scoring effort.

“If a vote were taken on the greatest player of the match he would have been the first choice of the 11,000 spectators, with his other flank colleague, Schatz in second spot.

“Seemingly cornered by a bevy of Downs’ forwards on the right flank, Kenny emerged from the maze of opponents with an electrifying burst of speed, and, cutting diagonally across field, raced 50 yards to score in the left hand corner. It was one of the most mercurial efforts I have seen in recent years, and, for sheer brilliance, it brought to mind some of the great efforts by Cecil Aynsley and Harold Horder.”

Brisbane’s win was a triumph for coach, Fred ‘Firpo’ Neumann, who had banked on speed as the key weapon against the powerful Herb Steinorht coached Toowoomba side.

Brisbane players received five pounds each for the win, and the reserves two pounds 10 shillings.

On the Brisbane club scene the big news was a decision by a meeting of Brisbane delegates to annul the result of the Presidents Cup final, won by Wests over Valleys.

Wests had fielded an ineligible player – Ron Millar – formerly of St George in Sydney. Wests were at fault, not having tendered Miller’s clearance before the start of the President’s Cup competition. Wests’ delegate, Tom Purtell was furious, and twice had to be called to order as he heatedly disputed the BRL decision.

Longreach wrote to the BRL desiring a visit from a Brisbane side. It was decided to ask Longreach for a bigger guarantee, as air transport for the team would cost more than 200 pounds.

Writing in ‘Sporting Life’ magazine, the great Dally Messenger, the first superstar of rugby league in Australia, took aim at some of the rough house practises of 1947.

“The scheme of rugby league is to brighten the game, not maim each other,” he wrote. “The players should shoot the ball about and give the public the thrills it wants.”

Balmain winger, Bob Lulham and Canterbury-Bankstown halfback, Bruce Hopkins were two of Messenger’s favorite players of the 1947 season.

Bob Lulham (left) and Henry Benton (Toowoomba)

Bob Lulham (left) and Henry Benton (Toowoomba)

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