Souths Magpies were the talk of the Queensland sporting scene after their gutsy 14-6
win over Redcliffe in the Brisbane Rugby League knock-out semi-final at Lang Park.
The match against Redcliffe was Souths’ fourth in eight days, and quite understandably the Magpies’ dressing room, while euphoric, was a scene of exhausted, battered and bruised bodies.
The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon said international touring teams sometimes faced equally tough schedules, but they had 26-man, quality squads to choose from, whereas the Magpies’ depth was tested to the limit.
Souths had finished the minor premiership in equal fifth place with Wynnum-Manly and Valleys, with Wynnum boasting the superior for and against record of the three clubs, with Valleys having the worst.
But, under the rules of the day, play-offs were required.
Souths finished the home and away season with a 32-13 loss to fourth placed Redcliffe in a Saturday match at Lang Park, with Dolphins’ centre, Peter Leis in dynamic form.
The following Tuesday night, Souths defeated Valleys 19-12 at Lang Park, backing up 48 hours later to beat Wynnum 17-12. Then, after another 48-hour break, they beat Redcliffe in a try-less affair, with former Wingham Tigers’ winger, Tom Gillogly landing seven goals from nine shots, while Ian ‘Bunny’ Pearce kicked three from six for the Dolphins.
Everyone expected Souths to run out of energy, and some of their hard working forwards got off the ground very slowly towards the end of the match, but they staggered back into the fray to keep their line intact. Captain, Greg Veivers, a Test prop, took the field under a cloud, with injuries to his knee and ankle, but turned in a non-stop tackling performance and urged his players on to greater heights.
Souths’ fullback, Chris Skelton made two try saving tackles to end dangerous Redcliffe attacking raids.
Both sides used long, deep punt kicks to force their opponents back. Prop, John Barber did this well for Redcliffe in the first half, but Souths’ centre, John Grant kicked accurately for the entire match, to give his side regular territorial advantage. Grant’s defence was another feature of play. He repeatedly broke up Redcliffe’s backline attack with smothering ball-and-all tackles. Halfback, John Salter also was outstanding for Souths.
Souths promoted players were in fine form, particularly Marshall Colwell, Barry Lynch and Jim Clancy. The Magpies lost hard tackling second rower, Arnold Bussen to a leg injury after 10 minutes, and he was replaced by another ex-Townsville player, Pat Phelan.
Redcliffe also were hit hard with injuries, losing second rower, Forester Grayson with an ankle problem in the first half, and he was replaced by Chris Mason, who subsequently gave way to Terry Donnelly.
In reserve grade, Brothers won a play-off for fifth semi-final spot, beating Valleys 15-10 after trailing 15-0 at halftime, with Brothers’ indigenous forward, Noel ‘Chips’ Harrington setting up three second half tries. Brothers’ forward, John Leyden, knocked unconscious by a head tackle, was still unconscious at halftime in the first grade, and was taken to hospital by ambulance. Leyden went on to become a prominent Brisbane school principal. Souths beat Norths 16-10 in C grade.
The following day, Brothers defeated Wests 19-10 in the second semi-final at Lang Park, qualifying to meet minor premiers, Easts in the major semi-final the following weekend.
Brothers lost goal kicking winger, Ian Dauth to a dislocated shoulder in the 15th minute, but their forwards, led by Pat Hannan and John Short, led the way to victory.
Rothmans Medal dinners were held in Brisbane and Sydney during the week with Norths’ Darryl Brohman the Brisbane winner and another Queenslander, Ray Higgs the Sydney winner.
The Brisbane Rugby League also endorsed the acceptance of Radio 4IP’s sole rights to broadcast from Lang Park in 1977.
In Toowoomba, the judiciary banned Oakey Eagles player, K Farrow for life after he was charged with striking referee, Tim Bliss during an amateur match against Institute Vikings. Bliss abandoned the game when an all-in-brawl erupted.