FLASHBACK: March 1960

MARCH 1960
There was a ‘new look’ about Wests’ halfback, Barry Muir on his return to Brisbane club football following the five month Kangaroo tour of Britain, France and Italy.
Muir’s first match in the domestic season was a trial against Brothers at the Exhibition Grounds, the match finishing in a 10-10 draw.
The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon, who had toured Britain and France with the Kangaroos in 1936-37, wrote that Muir looked several yards faster than 1959, and was more ‘secure’ in his play around the scrum base.
Reardon also noted that Muir was more judicious in defence.
‘Don’t expect to see so many of those death or glory tackles he used to make,” Reardon wrote. “Muir now judges his cover defence well and does not try to beat all of his teammates to the tackle. This way, he retains energy for that vital breakthrough from the scrum. He has retained his accurate, perfectly judged passes, and remains a classic halfback.”
Muir played all six Tests on tour, with Britain winning that series 2-1, while Australia won all three Tests in France.
He believes the Kangaroos should have won the Ashes in Britain. Australia had won the First Test 22-14 at Swinton, but were beaten 11-10 in the return clash at Leeds, before going down 18-12 in the decider at Wigan.
“I reckon I scored the winning try in the Second Test, but the referee ruled Brian Carlson had thrown a forward pass to Reg Gasnier, earlier in the movement,” Muir recalled.
Second rower, Brian McDermott looked impressive for Brothers, with Reardon describing him as a small version of (former Australian captain-coach), Brian Davies.
In another trial, Valleys’ captain-coach, Norm Pope kicked seven goals from 10 shots, two from halfway, in the Diehards’ 23-17 win over competition newcomers, Redcliffe at Crosby Park, which is now the home ground of Brothers’ rugby union.
Ex-Valleys and State hooker, Bob Gehrke gave Redcliffe a major share of the ball in the first half, but New Zealander, Rudd Banks gave Valleys a better share after the break. There was a crowd of 5,000 on hand for the trial.
Former Test cenre, Alex Watson announced he would be leaving Wests, because his employers, Ampol Petroleum, had transferred him to Toowoomba. He would continue playing in Toowoomba.
The league and union communities were mourning the death of Tom ‘Rat’ Flanagan, who died in the Mater Hospital after a car accident.
Flanagan played rugby union for St George in Sydney before World War 1, and then represented the Tweed, in rugby league, against South Sydney, after moving north in 1914.
A member of the AIF in both World Wars, Flanagan was one of the great players of the AIF team after World War 1. He later played for Wests Rugby League in Brisbane.
1 Barry Muir
2 Brian Carlson.

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