Debutant winger, Eddie Lumsden scored four tries in New South Wales’ 49-11 thrashing of Queensland in the first match of the 1957 inter-state series at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds.
Lumsden, 20, who would go on to play 15 Tests for Australia, hailed from Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley coal fields, but was playing for Sydney club, St George. The other outstanding NSW back was five eighth, Greg Hawick, whose accurate passes, sharp running and punishing defence gave the Blues an edge in mid-field. Hawick’s halves partner, Keith Holman scored two tries, while Welsh born fullback, Keith Barnes kicked eight goals.
Barnes got the nod at fullback ahead of ‘The Little Master’, Clive Churchill who had toured Britain and France with the 1956-57 Kangaroos. Churchill insisted he was not over the hill, but The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon wrote that “his admirers would much rather he retired gracefully now, whilst he is still remembered as ‘The Little Master.’ (Churchill did not play for Australia again, but represented Queensland against New Zealand in 1959, while playing for Brisbane Norths).
Qld winger, Brian Carlson, a product of the Newcastle Norths’ club, scored two tries for the Maroons. Carlson was playing club football for Blackall in Central Queensland at the time.
The NSW forwards, with Bill Marsh and Don Schofield leading the way, proved too powerful for the Maroons’ set, although Queenslander, Tom Tyquin had one of his best games.
Centre, Geoff Hawkey also impressed for the Blues. Hawkey hails from Cudgen, in the Tweed Valley, and I remember watching him play in the early 1960s, when he returned to his home town club. My dad, treasurer of Murwillumbah Brothers at the time, regarded Geoff and his brother, Ron (particularly Ron) as ‘dirty’ players. He met them later in his job as a Shell Oil Co., rep., and was almost surprised to discover they were real gentlemen.
NSW were coached by former Test prop, Ray Stehr, who beat dual international, Ken ‘Killer’ Kearney for the job.
Stehr was president of Sydney club, Easts, and only a few months earlier was part of a weekly radio session known as ‘Pressure Cooker’, in which he regularly roasted league officials. The NSWRL even bought space on a rival station, at corresponding times, to split Stehr’s listeners.
The Blues’ score was their highest against Queensland since 1940, when they rattled up 52 points. The crowd was 23,364, with gate receipts of 3,965 pounds, nine shillings, a record for a floodlit inter-state match.
Queensland selectors had taken a huge gamble omitting the likes of internationals Tom Payne, Ian ‘Ripper’ Doyle, Bobby Banks and Norm Pope, as well as promising players, Gary Parcell, Brian Jones and Jim Payne. (Parcell would go on to play eight Tests for Australia).
The selectors announced they had not considered Banks and Tom Payne because of adverse medical reports.