Souths’ rugby league captain, Greg Veivers copped a one match ban from the Brisbane judiciary, while teammate, Dave Brown waited outside to plead guilty to the same offence.
Brown was at the Lang Park offices of the BRL to give evidence that it was he, who hit Easts’ hooker, Johnny Lang in a Woolies’ pre-season round 3 match at Lang Park, but judiciary rules did not allow for evidence from witnesses, other than referees and players concerned with the charge.
Veivers had been sent off by red haired referee, Bill McKenny.
Souths’ coach, Wayne Bennett, a policeman, represented Veivers, his brother-in-law. Bennett said Souths did not deny Lang had been hit, but claimed the send-off was a case of mistaken identity. Bennett said Brown had thrown the punch and had come to Lang Park to give evidence. Brown, 20, a Kingaroy product, said he was willing to go to the QRL Appeals Board, but ulitmately Souths decided against going the next step.
Easts beat Souths 16-12, and, in his match report, The Courier-Mail’s Lawrie Kavanagh said Lang, a Test hooker, went down for the count after being blatantly punched in front of the grandstand, in a scrum.
Kavanagh did not say who threw the punch. He merely reported that Veivers had been dismissed.
All these years later, Veivers tells me, they got the right man.
“I heard our hooker, David Gould moan, and I thought Langy had hit him, so I went whack, and Langy went down like a sack of potatoes,” Veivers said. “It turns somone had just stood on Gouldy’s foot. I hauled out our lock, Brian Weir and lectured him about throwing the punch, just to confuse things. I don’t think anyone saw it, but I got sent off on suspicion. They got the right man. Wayne was my defence ‘lawyer’, but he did no good. Shows you how good a cop he was.”
Souths scored 10 points after the loss of their skipper in the third quarter. The try of the match was scored by young Souths’ centre, Mal Meninga after a break by co-centre, Bruce Astill.
Kavanagh said Meninga was “still being nursed by Souths’, but his class could not be hidden.
Wynnum-Manly, a team full of youngsters from the bush, beat 1978 grand finalists, Valleys 13-9 at Neumann Oval in a slugging, defensive game. Wynnum’s country signings included Bill Corrodus, Graham Gosnick, John Pegorora, Shaun Johnson, Ray ‘Tank’ Duncan, Bob Paterson and Doug Slater. The win was particularly satisfying for Wynnum’s former Valleys’ coach, Henry ‘Big H’ Holloway, who had been appointed coach of the Brisbane representative side for the Amco Cup. Brisbane had drawn St George in the first round of the knock-out competition.
Former international five eighth, Steve Crear played reserve grade for Wynnum, as did State centre, Ian Boustead, whose younger brother, Kerry had made his Test debut the year before.
A seven point try was scored and two players – Brothers’ captain, Bob Cock and Norths’ fullback, Gary O’Neill – were sent off at Corbett Park, with the home side, Brothers winning 17-5.
Lawrie Kavanagh wrote that the match degenerated into “a bitchy mess, after an exciting start”.
“The teams had little to be proud of in the last two quarters,” wrote Kavanagh. “That period featured tatty play, interrupted by petty vendettas.”
Brothers had opened the scoring through a 75 metre intercept try by former Test centre, Mark Thomas. After Thomas planted the ball, a Norths’ player fouled Thomas and referee, Eddie Ward signaled a ‘seven point try’, the first such try in BRL history.
Brothers’ former Test winger, Wayne Stewart landed both kicks.
Brothers’ led 12-2 early in the second quarter, after Cock barged his way over.
Cock was sent off after an incident involving Norths’ prop, Shane Bernardin, while O’Neill got his marching orders for a high shot.
Norths’ Kiwi coach, Graham Lowe said his side had played like a bunch of school girls in the second half, but still managed to hold Brothers.
In the other match of the Woolies’ round, Redcliffe beat Wests 17-10, at Lang Park.
Footnote: I played lock in the Corbett Park match, and it felt strange running onto the ground in a Norths’ jersey, given I had played two seasons there with Brothers, who hated Norths. I think Bob Cock went over the top of me for his try.
The teams that day were: BROTHERS: Wayne Stewart; Bligh Davidson, Mark Thomas, Kerry Fraser, Rob Puodzianous; Brian Murphy, David Sinclair; John Alroe, Bob Cock, Graham McCullough (father of Broncos’ hooker, Andrew) John Tobin, Terry Koorockin, Steve Darby. res: John Gallagher, Noel Russell, Al Murdoch, Brad Gigg. Coach, Reg Cannon.
NORTHS: Gary O’Neill; Shane ‘Cocky’ McMahon, Gary Drew, Bevan Baptiste, Brian Bird; Mark Murray, Ross Henrick; Steve Ricketts, Gary Walker, Shane Bernardin, Brett Ferguson, Greg Conescu, John Payne. res.: Jim Moffat, Dennis Moore, Bob McNamara, Dallas Bargenquest. (Like me, Ferugson and Moore were ex-Brothers’ players).
Photo 1: Greg Veivers (left) and Dave Brown outside the judiciary
Photo 2: Bob Cock.