FLASHBACK: September 1947

Winger, Len Kenny scored four tries in Brisbane’s 45-7 win over Bundaberg in a floodlit match at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds, despite having left his favorite football boots at home.

Kenny could have finished with five tries, but unselfishly passed to fellow winger, Jack Schatz, to allow him to score, when a try was at Kenny’s mercy.

Amazingly, Kenny was not feeling his best, given he had had vaccinations just a few days earlier, ahead of his sailing to England to take up a contract with Leeds.

He was engaged to Frances Connon from Fairfield, Brisbane, who was to travel to England in October for the wedding.

For the first five minutes of the match against Bundaberg, Kenny played in borrowed boots. He left his own at home, and Valleys’ official, Jimmy Battersby made a car dash to Kenny’s Teneriffe home to get them. When Battersby returned, Kenny changed his boots on the field. The game was delayed a few minutes, but Kenny borrowed a pair of boots from a player involved in the curtain raiser, so the main game could start.

Tight head prop, Eddie Brosnan was Brisbane’s best forward.

The Bundaberg side include brothers, Keith and Noel Hazzard, with Noel going on to play for Australia four years later. Bundaberg had had a good run before meeting the might of Brisbane, having beaten Maryborough twice, Gympie and the strong Booval Swifts club from Ipswich.

Meanwhile, the French Rugby League accepted an invitation from Australia to visit in 1948, but there were doubts about whether the tour would go ahead.

The French did not want to send their best players away until after their big club matches at the end of April, which meant they would not arrive in Australia (by ship) until June, too late, according to Australian officials. But there were no guarantees they could even get there, given that in post war Europe, shipping difficulties were acute.

In their most recent international, France had gone down just 5-2 to England in Leeds, signalling that the 13 man code was on the rise in France after being banned and stripped of its assets by the pro-Nazi Vichy Government during World War II.

As things transpired, France did not make their first tour of Australia and New Zealand until 1951, when they flew here, instead of coming by ship.

Rene Duffort (France) fends an English rival in Leeds in 1947.

Rene Duffort (France) fends an English rival in Leeds in 1947.

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