Norths’ centre, Trevor Cook cut his former team to shreds, as the Devils swamped Easts 34-12 in a Woolies’ pre-season rugby league clash at Bishop Park, Nundah.
Cook, who switched from Easts, after being overlooked for a first-grade spot for most of 1985, scored two tries and had a hand in two others, as well as kicking four goals. Trevor’s older brother, Dennis, another former Tiger, was instigator of much of Norths’ attack. It was the first time the brothers had played in the same team.
Competition for the hooking role at Easts was intense with Jeff Ashe, Wayne Marshall, Terry Koorockin and Damien Treston vying for the first-grade role. When Koorockin played at Valleys, his coach, Ross Strudwick, rated him the best hooker in Australia. Easts’ coach, Wayne Lindenberg went with Jeff Ashe for the Norths’ match.
Speedy backs, Wayne Reis, Rick Weribone and Steven Weiss were electrifying in 1985 wooden spooners’, Wests’ 16-6 win over Redcliffe at Purtell Park, Bardon. Reis, who had transferred from Charleville in 1985, scored two long range tries, but five eighth, Weiss was man of the match, his brilliant individual try in the last quarter, sealing the result.
Weribone, a former Toowoomba State League rep., was returning to league after working as an oil rigger, in the desert, for 16 months. He was a naturally a gifted player, who was chosen for Queensland Country in 1983, but had to withdraw because of injury, missing the Panasonic Cup match against Manly-Warringah.
Redcliffe’s Test halfback, Mark Murray was head and shoulders above his teammates. In the days leading up to the match, Murray admitted to The Courier-Mail’s Paul Malone, that his club form had been “very patchy”, and one of his goals for 1986 was to be consistent.
‘Muppet’ also conceded there were challengers to his representative spot, most notably Laurie Spina (Sydney Easts), Grant Rix (Valleys) and Craig McAlpine (Brisbane Brothers). There was no mention of Ipswich’s Allan Langer, but, of course, Langer was just starting his top-grade career.
Redcliffe’s only try was scored by Test forward, Bryan Niebling, from a Trevor Benson bomb. Redcliffe’s Brisbane representative centre, Steve Cherry broke his arm in the third minute.
In Sydney, former Manly premiership winning coach, Ron Willey was appointed coach of New South Wales, replacing the controversial Terry Fearnley, who did not nominate for the post.
1 Trevor Cook playing for Norths.
2 Rick Weribone (left), Wayne Reis and Steve Weiss at training, 48 hours after Wests’ win over Redcliffe
3 Rick Weribone gets in a clearing kick, under pressure from Souths’ five eighth, Gary French, at Davies Park. Hooker, Tim Watson is Weribone’s teammate.
4 Manly coach, Ron Willey enjoys a victory lap of the SCG with his skipper, Freddy Jones (and a few interlopers) after the 1972 grand final win over Easts.