THREE players from Easts in Sydney arrived in Queensland, and there were high expectations about the impact they might make on the game in the State.
Most prominent was halfback, Ken McCaffery who relocated to Toowoomba, to play football and to work with an insurance company.
McCaffery was only 21 at the time, but already had played 50 first grade matches for Easts, and was widely recognised as one of the best halfbacks in the country. His parents, who had originally lived in Toowoomba, were returning there in April.
McCaffery went on to play 17 matches for Queensland and eight Tests for Australia.
The other Easts’ players were prop, Bruce Edwards and centre, Wally McDonald. Edwards was to play in Toowoomba, and McDonald, a corporal in Army Transport, was to play in Brisbane. He had played rugby union for Brisbane Souths in 1949. Former Combined Services Rugby union, rep., Max Keating signed with Brothers.
Former Brisbane Bulimba Cup winger, Jack Ballinger, who coached at Dirranbandi in 1950, announced his retirement, for health reasons.
In other news, Fred Harold, treasurer of Norths, tendered his resignation, because of his dissatisfaction with the club’s administration. Harold, who had been treasurer for 15 years, objected to the fact Norths had given free access to the club’s annuities and gear, to a newly formed ‘affiliate’ club, Nundah – Sandgate Rovers. The Rovers were to play in the Sunday Shift-Workers’ League, where match payments were often substantially higher than those on offer in the BRL, which was played on Saturdays. Many of Norths’ BRL players doubled up to play in the Shift-Workers.
Easts granted Life Membership to Jack Ryrie and Mark Mullins.
.In England, the rugby league community was mourning the passing of former Huddersfield star, Doug Clark, 59, who played 11 Test matches for Great Britain between 1911 and 1920, and toured Australia and New Zealand in 1914 and 1920. He also played seven Tests for England.
Clark died suddenly in bed, after asking his wife, who also toured Australia in 1936, when Clark was on a wrestling tour, for a morning cup of tea. Clark, was born in Ellenborough, Cumbria, and, at age 14, could play with hundred-weight bags of coal, something which left males many years his senior, in awe of his strength. At 15, he won a wrestling championship in Cumbria and later in life, went on to become champion of Great Britain.
In World War 1 he was wounded in 18 places by shrapnel from a German bomb and badly gassed at Passchendale. He was awarded the Military Medal for valour. Against doctors’ advice, he continued playing after the War, and toured Australia and New Zealand.
In 1914-15 he was part of the Huddersfield ‘Team of All Talents’, which won all four available trophies in the English game. He played a record 485 matches for the club.
1 Ken McCaffery scores a try for Australia against Great Britain in the 1957 World Cup. That’s Welshman, Lewis Jones in the background.
2 Doug Clark in his Huddersfield gear.
3 Doug Clark and Lord Lonsdale at a wrestling event at Grasmere, Cumbria.