Brisbane Rugby League chairman, Frank Moynihan bemoaned the loss of many of the city’s top players to cashed up country clubs.
That’s right. Bush football was a bigger threat to the Brisbane club scene, than Sydney clubs, at that stage in the history of rugby league in Queensland.
Moynihan said plans to improve the standard of football in the state would be to no avail if the Brisbane competition fell away.
A special QRL committee had come up with recommendations for the future of the code, and while Moynihan believed the report was “excellent”, he said the most important thing from a Brisbane perspective, was to retain the good players, and if possible, import outstanding talent.
“I don’t care what plans or schemes they have, if we continue to lose our best players, then nothing will succeed in keeping the game in public favor”, Moynihan said.
Among those to sign with country clubs were Jack Jager (Easts to Centrals, Townsville); Len Kenny (Valleys to Winton); Ron McLennan (Easts to Ayr Colts); brothers, Len and Reg ‘Bubbles’ Pegg (Souths to Mackay and Tambo respectively). State centre, Hugh Melrose (ex Wests) reaffirmed his desire to have another season at Blackall, while Kangaroo centre, Jack Horrigan (ex Valleys) said he was keen to play again at Ayr.
The terms of Kenny’s contract would see him earn 25 pounds a week for 20 weeks, free of taxation; a position in a Winton sports store at eight pounds a week and free board and accommodation. (The club would pay his tax bill).
The Toowoomba competition, regarded as the strongest outside Brisbane, also was left reeling by the loss of Test winger, Pat ‘Cocky’ McMahon to Babinda in North Queensland. McMahon, who had played for All Whites in Toowoomba, was to receive 19 pounds a week for a minimum of 20 weeks; first class accommodation and a job in his trade as a fitter.
One bit of good news for Brisbane was Test prop, Duncan Hall’s decision to reject offers from Sydney clubs, Balmain, St George and Manly, to remain with Valleys.
Footnote: Frank Moynihan was a former Test referee,who was born at Howard in Queensland, in 1901. His father was station master.
Frank’s son, Ross, attended Gregory Terrace and was a prominent rugby union player with Queensland University, although he dabbled in league on the Gold Coast, where he was a member of the Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving club, with close mate, Test rugby league forward, Harold ‘Mick’ Crocker.
1 Frank Moynihan (right) with Queensland coach, Fred ‘Firpo’ Neumann in 1947.
2 Duncan Hall tackles a Great Britain player.