Queensland’s Test halfback, Fred Gilbert had to be carried from the dressing rooms to a car, before being transported to hospital after he dislocated his shoulder in the first inter-state match of the 1937 series.
The injury put Gilbert in doubt for the Kangaroo tour of New Zealand, Britain and France, and ended Queensland’s chances of beating the star studded New South Wales side.
The Blues ultimately triumphed 21-9, but Queensland, playing with 12 men for 73 minutes, gained the support of the Sydney Cricket Ground crowd with their courageous tackling. On a sodden field, NSW sometimes rose to superlative attacking heights, despite the greasy ball.
“Time and again the crowd cheered the courageous defensive efforts of Queensland as veteran forward, Mick Madsen and his weakened forces stemmed the tidal waves of the opposition’s assaults,” wrote L H Kearney in ‘The Courier-Mail’. “Queensland’s tackling was immense at times, and as the storming Blues were temporarily repulsed, the applause was deafening for the stoicism of the brave defenders.
“Gilbert, after being taken to the dressing room, had to be carried to a motor car. He was in great pain, but did not want to leave. ‘Let me see the game through,” he said, but the doctor’s orders for his quick removal to hospital at Darlinghurst, had to be carried out.”
Centre, Jack Beaton scored two tries for NSW. Queensland’s only try was a 35 metre intercept effort by centre, Charlie Wright from the Ipswich Tivoli club.
The crowd was 19,516. Before the match the players were introduced to the Governor General, Windsor (England) born, Lord Gowrie. Officials of rugby union, Australian rules and soccer were guests at the match, invited by the SCG Trust.
Footnote: Gilbert recovered from the shoulder injury and played 16 of a possible 38 matches on the Kangaroo tour.