FLASHBACK: February 1988
The changing face of the Brisbane Rugby League premiership was illustrated by the make-up of a 27 man squad chosen to prepare for the National Panasonic Cup (knock-out) competition trial match against Toowoomba.
Ian Stains, James Sandy and Bob Keogh were the only survivors from the Brisbane team beaten 14-2 by Penrith in the first round of the 1987 competition.
The reason for the new look, was the fact 60 or more players from the BRL had been lost to the New South Wales Rugby League, which now boasted three new clubs – Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Giants and Newcastle Knights.
Ross Strudwick, who had coached Brothers to the 1987 BRL title, was appointed Brisbane representative coach, with his die drawn to play Port Moresby in the first round
Brisbane had fielded a side in the ‘Super Sevens’ in Sydney, but had been eliminated in the preliminary rounds. Players who contested the Sevens, but failed to make the Panasonic Cup squad, were Guy Harvey (Norths) and Brent Daunt (Diehards).
The three preliminary rounds of the 1988 Woolies pre-season rugby league competition ended with BRL newcomers, Logan City qualifying for the semi-finals, along with, Souths, Seagulls Diehards (formerly Valleys) and Redcliffe.
Brisbane Panasonic Cup squad: Mick Anderson (Wests), Jeff Burns (Brothers), Steve Bleakley (Redcliffe), Peter Coyne (Diehards), Glenn Haggath (Ipswich), Bill Holmes (Diehards), Brett Johnstone (Ips), Tony Jones (Bros), Kieran Jackson (Norths), Tony Jemmott (Wynnum), Bob Keogh (Red), Terry Mulcahy (Logan), Mark McIntyre (Easts), Brett McCarthy (Bros), Lex Neal (Red), Brian Naylor (Wynnum), Vince O’Brien (Bros), Gavin Payne (Ips), Ken Robertson (Ips), Rob Raiteri (Wyn), Brad Samuelson (Wyn), Ian Stains (Easts), Darren Smith (Easts), James Sandy (Red), Chris White (Souths), Jason Wallace (Logan).
Darren Smith would go on to carve out the most illustrious career, representing Australia 12 times (including five Super League Tests) and Queensland 22 times at State of Origin level.
A number quality players missed out on that initial squad, among them Stephen Boys, Peter Shields, Scott Czislowski, Neil Wharton, Bob Hudson, Paul Bartier, Steve Davis, Ray Kelly, Steve Parcell, Wayne Cullen, Kelly Egan, Ziggy Strasser, Greg Walker, Steve Cherry, Troy Evans, Curtis Powell and Floyd Hill.
So the depth in the BRL was still impressive.
Photo: Vince O’Brien