FLASHBACK: September, 1948


EASTS’ hooker, Cliff Green won the scrums 43-7 in a Brisbane Rugby League semi-final against Souths at the Gabba.

You read correctly. There were 50 scrums. And amazingly, Easts won by only two points – 16-14.

The Courier-Mail’s L H Kearney said Green’s hooking effort was “without parallel”.

Now, 50 scrums seems ridiculous, but I will say this. They were fiercely contested and appreciated by many fans. And they were packed quickly and brutally. No slow walks to the spot. So the whole process, from marking the spot, to packing and then clearing the ball, could be over in a matter of seconds.

Easts’ prop, Jack Jagger won The Courier-Mail Best and Fairest two pounds bonus for a top attacking effort, as well as a great display of courage. Early in the match Jagger lost two front teeth when he caught the boot of Souths’ rival, Len Pegg, while making a low, diving tackle.

Two of Easts’ stars, Tom Drysdale and Bill Callinan, were lucky to play after being injured in a charity match, just 48 hours earlier.

The fact they were able to back-up was put down to the use of hot packs and a heat ray!

(Drysdale later would become a prominent league administrator, while Callinan forged a successful teaching career, most notably at Miami High on the Gold Coast).

Former Australian centre, Jack Reardon covered the under-18 semi-final between Wests Ithaca and Fortitude Valley, and gave high praise to Wests’ five eighth, Laurie Postans.

In England, the controlling body of the code insisted the French play with standard size footballs. France had been playing with a ball smaller than regulations stipulated.

France were due to play Wales at Swansea in October, in a return clash, after accounting for the Welsh 20-12 in the same city in March that year. Planning was well underway for a French tour to Australia and New Zealand, but it was another three years before it eventuated.

Photo: The first French team in Australia in 1951.

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