FLASHBACK: JUNE 1961

JUNE 1961

Australian rugby league skipper, Brian Carlson threatened to take the team from the field after a number of players fell victim to late tackles in a match against North Island Maori at the Rotorua Showgrounds.

Dazzling centre, Reg Gasnier and fiery Queensland halfback, Barry Muir were left dazed on the ground by late shots, while giant forward, Ron Crowe was also floored by a classic ‘coat-hanger’.

Carlson confronted Auckland referee, John Percival about the state of play, but was waved away. The Australians felt Percival had lost control, and that it was only their discipline which prevented an all-in-brawl.

Australia scored five tries to three, Gasnier and winger, Ken Irvine crossing twice, with Jack Sinclair the other try scorer. Don Parish kicked four goals and Carlson one.

It was a torrid start to a nine-match tour for the Australians, who changed into their playing gear at the team hotel, given there were no dressing rooms at the showgrounds.

Special buses ferried Maori supporters from Auckland, helping to boost the crowd to a 3,000. There was at least one Australian supporter – a lass in a white pullover and green slacks, displaying long woollen streamers of green and gold.

When the Australian players arrived at the showgrounds, they were welcomed by Ernie Asher, the brother of famous Maori player, Albert ‘Opai’ Asher, a former All Black. Ernie, who had also represented the Kiwis in league, managed the 1956 Maori league team in Australia.

Queensland had eight players in the 20-man touring squad, but Mick Veivers, Bob Hagan and Peter Gallagher were considered unlucky omissions.

The touring team was: Backs: (New South Wales, unless otherwise stated): Don Parish, Frank Drake (Qld), Ken Irvine, Barry Muir (Qld) (v-c), Arthur Summons, Reg Gasnier, Ray Beaven, Alan Gil (Qld), Eddie Lumsden, Brian Carlson (captain-coach). Forwards: Ron Lynch, Ken Day (Qld), Ian Walsh, Bob Gehrke (Qld), Ron Crowe, Elton Rasmussen (Qld), Jim Paterson (Qld), Bill Owen, Dud Beattie (Qld), Jack Sinclair.  

In Brisbane club football, Valleys’ halfback, Kevin Brasch starred in the Diehards’ 30-10 thrashing of Wests in a lively match at Lang Park, setting up two tries and bringing the crowd to its feet with brilliant cover defence.

Valleys’ winger, Bob Gray scored two tries, the first after a 60-metre run in which he outpaced Wests’ cover and scrambled to his feet after fullback Brian Coutts had knocked him down, but not held him.

Wests’ halfback, Terry Cribben put up a game showing as the replacement for Barry Muir, who was in New Zealand. Cribben left the field twice for ambulance attention, and finished the match with a bandaged head.

In Valleys’ club notes in the official program, ‘Rugby League News’, it was reported that Nev Casey, one of the promising centres from the 1960 season, had been badly injured in a car smash near Wondai, in the South Burnett region. ‘Three people were killed, and when this programme was printed, Nev was still unconscious,” the Valleys’ scribe reported.

Norths’ winger, Jim Sutton retained his position as the competition’s top try scorer, crossing three times in the Devils’ 26-14 win over Easts at Oxenham Park, Nundah.

Bottom side, Wynnum-Manly registered a shock 23-22 win over Brothers at Davies Park, West End with forward, Alan Monaghan scoring seven minutes from the end. Test winger, Lionel Morgan converted to give the Seagulls victory. Morgan played in the centres, combining brilliantly with another Tweed product, Billy McDermott. Jim Thompson was the best of the Wynnum forwards.

In his Sunday-Mail column, Norths’ coach, Bob Bax had predicted Brothers would ‘eat’ Wynnum.

In the Sunday match at Lang Park, Redcliffe produced some of the best football of the season in beating Souths 29-7.

Rangy right winger, John Treeby scored three tries, one after left winger, Mick Cox had weaved his way diagonally across field, to link with him. Redcliffe captain-fullback, Ken McCrohon gave another brilliant display.

Centre, George Walker was the only Souths’ back able to penetrate the Redcliffe defence. Souths’ second rower, George Gledhill was the crowd’s villain after one high shot on Mick Cox, who required ambulance attention. Dick Boxsell and Col Weier were Redcliffe’s best forwards.

Reg Gasnier in action for St George

Kiwi ref., John Percival watched Australia’s Eric Simms line up a shot for goal in 1968

Australian forward, Bill Owen from the North Newcastle club

Brothers’ forward, Peter Gallagher (right).

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