Brisbane ‘pinched’ the ‘Gold Top Cup’ State Championship from Central Queensland, 45 seconds from the end of the final at Lang Park.
Brisbane won 14-12 in a thrilling finish, after CQ led for 59 of the 60 minutes of the culmination of a long weekend, carnival of football, sponsored by the Bulimba Brewery, brewers of Gold Top.
The winning try was scored by Wests’ State winger, Rob ‘Yogi’ Thompson, after CQ turned over possession through a loose pass from centre, Brian O’Farrell.
It was Thompson’s second try, his first coming as a result of great lead-up work by five eighth, Graeme Atherton and fullback, Norm Clarke.
Fullback, Ray Laird (who would go on to play for Australia against Great Britain later in the season); five eighth, Claude McDermott and centre, Max Anderson were the best backs for Central Queensland. (I played against McDermott in ensuing years, when he played in the Tweed league).
Their best forwards were lightweight backrowers, Ian Thinee and Dennis Garvey; and beefy prop, Bary Beiber.
Brisbane’s best were Thompson, Wayne Stewart, Johnny Brown (backs); Peter Hall, Ian Massie and Reg Cannon (forwards).
Young forward, Rod Hoffmeister scored two tries in Ipswich’s 12-3 win over North Queensland, who lost forward, Ross Allen to a broken leg in the first half.
Centre, Paul Coote scored two tries in Toowoomb’s 25-2 win over Wide Bay in the other match, on the final day of the tournament.
At the start of the tournament, ‘The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon had rated Brisbane and Toowoomba equal favorites, but also gave North Queensland – who boasted former Test halfback, Barry Muir, as captain-coach – a strong chance. Ipswich, Wide Bay and Central Queensland did not feature in his calculations. (Muir was coaching at Ayr in the Burdekin Valley).
The championships began with CQ beating Toowoomba 13-8, with tall centre, Max Anderson, from Rockhampton, scoring two tries. Toowoomba used two hookers – Dave Owens in the first half and Milton Whybrow in the second, with Whybrow scoring a try. (Whybrow, originally from Harden-Murrumburrah in the Riverina, was my captain-coach at Murwillumbah Brothers in 1974).
Ian ‘Bunny’ Pearce from Blackbutt scored an opportunist try in Wide Bay’s 17-9 win over Ipswich.
A late try by halfback, Johnny Brown, gave Brisbane a 13-9 win over North Qld in the other match on day one.
On the Sunday, North Queensland belted Wide Bay 24-8, with winger, Henry Williamson scoring three tries.
Max Anderson was again prominent for Central Qld in their 14-6 win over Ipswich, scoring one try and having a hand in the other three.
Goal kicking centre/winger, Wayne Stewart scored two tries in Brisbane’s 26-4 win over Toowoomba.
City and Country Firsts and Seconds were named after the carnival.
The City sides included the likes of Tony Scott and Des Morris (Firsts) and Graeme Atherton and Ian Robson (Seconds); while Country Firsts included Claude McDermott and future Brisbane Broncos’ chairman, Paul ‘Porky’ Morgan. Country Seconds boasted North Qld legend, Tom Tassell and Toowoomba fullback, John Cowley.
Toowoomba’s Dick Rose was named Country Firsts halfback, but was forced to withdraw through injury, with Ayr’s Les Cahill moving up from the Seconds, while Ipswich’s Claude Giess became the new Seconds halfback.
.At the Sydney Cricket Ground, Souths beat Balmain 14-5 with the Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Anne the special guests. The Royals were in Australia for the Captain Cook Bicentenary Celebrations. The Queen was patron of the English Rugby League and Prince Philip of the Australian Rugby League.
1 Graeme Atherton playing for Brisbane Souths. Greg Veivers and Marshall Colwell are in the background
2 Ian Robson playing for Brisbane against Toowoomba in 1970
3 South Sydney lock, Ron Coote tackles Balmain’s Gary Leo in the Royal match at the SCG in 1970
4 Balmain’s Arthur Beetson is held down by Souths’ Bobby Grant at the SCG.