FLASHBACK: May 1966

MAY 1966

Sydney was destined to remain a second-class sporting city, while ever it relied on the obsolete Sydney Cricket Ground for major events.

So wrote the Sydney Morning Herald’s Tom Goodman in May, 1966, as he looked north at the development of Brisbane’s Lang Park.

Queensland had won the 1959 inter-state series 3-1 and drew the 1960 four match series. But from 1961 to ’66 it had been all New South Wales.

“But if there’s one thing Queensland league fans can crow over their Sydney counterparts, it is the possession of Lang Park, a fine ground it can call its own,” Goodman wrote.

“The Sydney City Council, having apparently lost interest (and it is difficult to assess how genuine that interest was), the Rugby League plan of a new football stadium, plus licensed club amenities, at St Peters, seems to be evaporating into a dream.”

I recall seeing plans for the new St Peter’s Stadium, published in the Sydney press. If it had happened, rugby league might now have an asset to rival AFL’s Marvel Stadium.

In 1966, the Match of the Day was played at the SCG, on Saturdays. The SCG Trust would not allow Sunday football on the hallowed turf.

But rugby league could be played on Sunday at the neighbouring Sports Ground, which later became the Sydney Football Stadium.

In Maitland in the Hunter Valley, David Crain scored two tries in reserve grade, after being ordained a minister of the Church of England earlier in the day.

In Queensland, Redcliffe State High’s Janice Morgan won the Australian Rugby League Board of Control, John Quinlan Memorial Bursary. She took the bursary as a result of an outstanding pass mark in the 1965 junior exams. Miss Morgan was the daughter of former Redcliffe Rugby League Club committeeman, Charles Morgan, and a niece of the late Ipswich League Secretary, Jack Morgan.

Results from the Warwick and District League were: Collegians 15 d Stanthorpe 8; Inglewood 24 d Killarney 13; Easts 28 d Texas 8; Border Rovers 14 d Allora-Clifton 8; Pittsworth 21 d Millmerran 8.

In England, Leeds’ winger, Geoff Wrigglesworth scored three tries in seven minutes in a match against Dewsbury. Leeds won 18-2, after leading only 3-2 at halftime. Wrigglesworth had been chosen for Great Britain’s tour to Australia and New Zealand later in the year.

In Italy, there was encouraging news about the growth of the 13-man code, with teams in Casale Monferrato, Venice, Padova, Vittorio Veneto, Treviso and Milan, all towns or cities in the north of the country, with French Rugby League officials helping to set-up the clubs.

British Test skipper, Frank Myler in action at the SCG

Lang Park

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