In what was rated the best match of the season, Valleys defeated Norths 18-15 in the Brisbane knock-out semi-final at Lang Park, with the goal kicking of Des Mannion proving the difference.
Valleys led 11-5 at halftime, but two slashing tries by winger, Fonda ‘Golden Greek’ Metassa saw Norths hit the lead 13-11 mid-way through the second half.
But Valleys produced a typical Diehards finish. With two minutes left and the match tied 15-15, Valleys’ five eighth, Marty Scanlan swooped on a fumble by Norths’ winger, Brian Colless, and hooker, Bob Wilson crossed for the winning try.
Before the match, Prime Minister, John Gorton presented the inaugural Rothmans Medal to Wests’ fullback, Wayne Head. The medal was awarded to Brisbane Rugby Leagues’s Best and Fairest every year, until 1996, when cigarette sponsorship ceased. Votes were submitted by the match referee and counted at a black-tie event at season’s end. The Courier-Mail took over from Rothmans.
Meanwhile, at Knox Park, Murwillumbah, Gold Coast Tigers defeated Tweed Heads Seagulls in the Tweed/Gold Coast A grade grand final. Tigers were coached by fiery forward, Norm McFadden.
Cudgen forward, Ray Kelly won The Daily News Best and Fairest Award, which previously had been won by the likes of New South Wales centre, Geoff Hawkey; and Queensland representatives, Gary Dobrich and Bobby Cook.
In the 1968 under-18 grand final, Brothers caused a major upset, defeating fellow Murwillumbah outfit, Old Boys 10-4.
A bit of self indulgence. I played fullback in the under-18s and the euphoria of victory is something I still clearly remember.
Photo: Steve Ricketts (right) and Daryl ‘Little Rooster” Gear, teammates in the 1968 Tweed under-18 grand final.