Norths moved for Redcliffe to be admitted to the Brisbane Rugby League first grade competition in 1960, even though it would mean ceding some of their territory to the new club.
If Redcliffe were to be admitted, they would claim areas around Petrie, which came under the Norths’ umbrella at the time.
But Norths’ president, Jack Bayada said it was in the code’s interests to have a team from Redcliffe, at the elite level, after Redcliffe proved worthwhile opponents in reserve grade in 1959, with former Test fullback, Ken McCrohon as captain-coach.
Redcliffe’s Reserves qualified for the finals, finishing equal second with Wests.
With McCrohon at the helm, the Redcliffe boys were hard to beat, and sometimes rival clubs would drop back established first graders, even internationals, back to reserve grade for a week.
This happened when the first grade sides were enjoying a bye, and Redcliffe never complained, because they believed it was a good testing ground for their lads.
Players to drop back included Test centre, Alex Watson (Wests); Frank Melit (Brothers); Norm Pope and George Souvlis (Valleys).
Norths, who finished minor premiers, offered 100 pounds above ordinary bonuses for a win in the grand final. The extra money was thrown in by the Old Boys Association. Norths would have to do it without captain-coach, Clive Churchill who had left with the Australian team as non-playing coach, for the tour of Britain and France.
In other news of the day, Ron McAuliffe gave sporting circles a shock when he resigned as joint secretary of the Brisbane and Queensland Leagues. McAuliffe had held the position since it was instituted in 1953, but indicated he wanted to go into private business.
A former Brisbane Norths player, McAuliffe ran in the Stawell Gift in 1939. He was with the AIF in the Middle East and was a Rat of Tobruk. Prior to being appointed joint secretary in ’53, he had worked in the Queensland Railways Audit office.
.Norths went on to claim the 1959 Brisbane title, and celebrated with a bbq on the banks of the Pine River at Petrie. Redcliffe did indeed come into first grade in 1960, and won their first title five years later with future Immortal, Arthur Beetson in the second row.
Photo: Frank Melit