MAY 1949
Reports of disharmony among the players emerged in the aftermath of the 1948-49 Kangaroo tour of Britain and France.
A Rugby League Board of Control meeting in Brisbane conducted a review of the tour, which saw the Kangaroos lose all three Tests against Great Britain, while winning both Tests in France. They also beat Wales 12-5 in Swansea.
Co-managers, Bill Buckley (NSW) and E J Simmonds (QLD) addressed the board, and denied there was any major unrest, certainly no more than could be expected from a 37 match, six month trip (taking into account the sea voyages there and back).
As if to confirm that view, the 28 players and two managers received a record 420 pounds bonus, with no-one docked any pay.
The selection of the 1948-49 Kangaroos provided what was probably the greatest shock in the history of the code, with Col Maxwell named as tour skipper. Len Smith, captain-coach of the Test side which beat New Zealand on the day the touring side was named, was not among the 28. His omission caused a public outcry, and there seems little doubt he was overlooked because he was a Catholic, a reflection of the times.
Australian sporting teams had been dominated by Masons, and many league identities belonged to the Freemasonry order.
Col Maxwell was an innocent pawn in those events, and, although he played only one Test on tour, largely because of illness and injuries, he reportedly proved a popular captain.
The 37 match tour took its toll on many of the players, among them legendary prop, Duncan Hall, who neglected club training on his return and subsequently was dropped from the Brisbane side to play Ipswich in the inter-city Bulimba Cup competition.
Toowoomba defeated Ipswich 13-9 in the first Bulimba Cup match of the season, with Toowoomba’s Kangaroo tour winger, Pat ‘Cocky’ McMahon in top form.
In Brisbane club football, Kangaroo tour forward, Bill Tyquin suffered a chipped ankle bone, playing for Souths in a 19-16 win over Brothers at the Gabba.
L H Kearny wrote in ‘The Courier-Mail’, that Souths had fought tenaciously for victory, in one of the most stirring contests imaginable. One of the heroes was Souths’ prop, Alan Thompson, “who staggered about the field in a state of coma from a severe nose and tackling bump.”
Meanwhile, Easts announced they had appointed 23-year-old halfback, Bill Callinan as captain for the 1949 season. Callinan would go on to become a prominent school teacher, and was principal of Miami High on the Gold Coast, when they produced a number of rugby league stars.
Photo: Duncan Hall (centre), Don Furner (left) and Ken McCaffery.

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