FLASHBACK: January, 1975

Referees threatened to ‘pack up their gear and leave the ground’ if alcohol was sold before first grade matches in the cross border, Group 18 competition, which encompassed 11 clubs, from Byron Bay in the south, to Southport at the northern end of the Gold Coast.
Referees’ association secretary-treasurer, Barry Boyd from Murwillumbah, said his organisation did not object to alcohol being sold halfway through the A grade match, and also did not want to stop clubs selling beer near the end of a match, in preparation for barbecues that night.
Boyd said he had asked club officials to police, as much as possible, any beer being brought into grounds.
“Although it would probably be impossible to stop all beer being brought into the ground, it is not from this source we have been getting the trouble,” he said. “We have been most concerned with clubs selling liquor close to the playing area.
“Where spectators are close to the play, such as Owen Park, (Southport); Pizzey Park, (Miami) and the Tweed Heads Recreation ground, there is more chance of trouble occurring.
“We had a problem at Kingscliff Oval a few years ago, until Tweed Shire Council banned the selling of beer there. Council has also banned beer from Murwillumbah Oval.”
Burleigh Bears, who played at Pizzey Park, thought they had been unfairly singled out in the controversy surrounding the referees’ possible boycott. An incident at Pizzey Park in 1974, was raised at a Group 18 meeting at Murwillumbah’s Court House Hotel, but former Burleigh president, Bob Singh said their’s wasn’t the only ground where trouble had occurred.
Singh said the Referees’ letter to the Group, proposing a walk-out, had been badly worded.
“The purpose of the letter was really only to prevent the souping up of spectators before the A grade match,” he said.
Entrance fees to matches in Group 18 increased from 50 cents to 60 cents for the 1975 season. Prizemoney for the major premiers was $350. (Tweed Heads Seagulls defeated Mullumbimby in the 1974 grand final at Murwillumbah).
Meanwhile, Group 18 officials were sent into a mild panic by a report by Sydney journalist, and former Manly-Warringhah forward, Peter Peters, that Seagulls might join an expanded Brisbane competition. Peters even speculated that Manly legend, Bob Fulton might be captain-coach.
Seagulls’ had retained Tom Searle as captain-coach for the 1975 season.
In other news from Group 18;
Former Brisbane Brothers and Queensland rep, Eric Gelling was appointed non-playing coach of Gold Coast Tigers.
Brilliant centre, Gerald Chadburn started training with Murwillumbah Souths, where he won a premiership under captain-coach, Claude ‘Little General’ McDernmott, a former Wynnum-Manly star, in 1971. Local product, Allan Ayres was appointed Souths’ captain-coach for 1975.
Gary Harley, now a prominent race caller for SKY Television, signed a new contract with Murwillumbah Brothers, after being courted by Old Boys. Former international centre, Ron Saddler was non-playing coach of Brothers, who had arranged a trial with Beenleigh at Beenleigh Showgrounds.
Former Murwillumbah Hotel publican, Col Swan was one of the instigators of the trial, after taking over a pub at Beenleigh, which in those days, was a country town. The Murwillumbah Hotel was the venue for Brothers’ raffle sales, and boasted a specially constructed shower shed at the back of the pub, for post match and post training showers. Brothers played at the Murwillumbah Showgrounds where there were no such facilities. Former Surfers Paradise Pirates’ forward, Dennis Kendall was reportedly in the frame to coach Beenleigh.
Old Boys’ lock and talented Tweed/Gold Coast musician Vlad Golar, 23, was reportedly readying to sign with Tweed Seagulls.
1 Murwillumbah Old Boys’ winger, Gary Plater is tackled by Brothers’ lock, John Curtis. Vlad Golar supports Curtis
2 Tweed Seagulls captain-coach, Tom Searle.

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