FLASHBACK: May 1958

MAY 1958

Lloyd Weir, one of 15 children from a dairy farming family from Tansey, in the Mary Valley, made his representative debut – for Queensland Country against South Queensland in a state trial at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds.

There were seven boys and eight girls in the family, with four of the boys playing for undefeated Kilkivan in the Gympie competition (Lloyd would go on to play Test football for Australia).

South Queensland won 32-21 in a thriller, against a well drilled Country side, with Rockhampton’s Cyril Connell as captain-coach.

Weir’s co-prop, Jack Eaton (Milla Milla), suffered a fractured leg five minutes from full time. The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon rated him a certainty for state honors. Winger, Paul Pyers (Cairns) scored two tries for Country, showing great speed.

Brisbane hooker, Bob Gehrke won the scrums 16-15 from Nev Callaghan (Rockhampton) and also scored the match winning try. The crowd of 15,493 was a record for a floodlit state trial.

Jack Reardon had attended the Country trials in ‘Rocky’, and was impressed with the refereeing of Brisbane’s Jack Casey, who won over the vocal ‘George Street’ fans, who Reardon compared to those at the ‘Threepenny Stand’ at ‘The Boulevard’ in Hull, one of the world’s great rugby league grounds.

Cyril Connell (who scored three tries for Central Qld against Nth Qld in the trials) and former St George (Sydney) international centre, Matt McCoy, were the two superstars of Rockhampton football at the time. McCoy, originally from Bega on the NSW South Coast, was considered a shock omission from the Country side, despite being a veteran.

By the way, the South Qld team were hardly a mob of city slickers, with players chosen from country areas, most notably Brian O’Connor from Quilpie.

In the inter-city Bulimba Cup competition, Ipswich defeated Toowoomba 17-15 at Ipswich, with the home side’s fullback, Brian Walsh the crowd’s hero, courtesy of six try saving tackles.

Test winger, Denis Flannery was a late withdrawal from Ipswich, for business reasons. His place was taken by Ron Gwynne.

In Sydney, the League community was mourning the death of Johnny Quinlan, manager of the 1911-12 Kangaroos in the UK. In 1958, he still regarded the 1911 team as the finest to leave these shores, but had a great admiration for ‘modern’ stars, like Clive Churchill and Keith Holman.

“With his puckish humor, he was a favorite among young footballers,” reported ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’. “They regarded him as something of a ‘Peter Pan’ in rugby league.

Photo: Bob Gehrke (left) and Brian Luff, Redcliffe teammates in 1960.

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