FLASHBACK: SEPTEMBER 1961

SEPTEMBER 1961

Maryborough product, Jimmy Sutton scored four splendid tries in minor premiers, Norths’ 29-5 win over Redcliffe in the Brisbane Rugby League major semi-final at Lang Park. Sutton, 21, had not played for a month because of injury, but didn’t missing a beat, bamboozling defenders with his dazzling dashes, and gaining the plaudits of the coaching staff for his positional play.

Norths had too much speed and strength for the lighter Redcliffe side, with the Devils’ 110kg prop, Lloyd Weir and second rower, Johnny Bates carving holes in the defence. Sutton’s co-winger, Henry Hegarty also scored a try and then made the break which led to a try by centre, Les Glover.

International hooker, Bob Gehrke gave injury hit Redcliffe a winning share of the ball from the scrums, but not even Redcliffe’s fine support play was enough to overcome Norths’ blanket defence.

At Brisbane Wests’ Trophy Night, Les Connell won the Holproof-Kershaw and Lyon Trophy as player of the year.

State utility back, Bobby Cook played one of the greatest games of his career to spearhead Eacham’s first ever Foley Shield final victory – a 35-10 result against Mackay at the Townsville Sports Reserve. For the third successive match, Cook scored three tries and then added seven goals for a total of 23 points.

Eacham, under the coaching and leadership of former Toowoomba and State prop, John Eaton, gave an outstanding display of teamwork, in the style of Toowoomba’s ‘contract brand of play.

Mackay’s best was halfback, Jim Laly, while forwards Brian O’Connor and Rohan McNamara never stopped trying. Australian Rugby League Chairman, Bill Buckley presented the Shield to John Eaton. The Pat Farrelly Blazer for the outstanding North Queensland born player went to Eacham lock, Jack Jones. Collinsville defeated Milla Milla 18-16 in the B Grade final.

In Ipswich, Booval Swifts won their first premiership in 13 years, defeating Railways 7-2 in the grand final. Swifts’ Don Brown was player of the match.

Extra time had to be played to decide the Toowoomba premiership after Souths’ centre, Pat Thrupp scored a brilliant try to level the scores 7-7 in the grand final against Newtown. A conference was held with league officials before it was decided to play 10 minutes extra, each way. Winger, Geoff McIntyre scored the winning try for Souths.

In Sydney, Norths’ winger, Ken Irvine won the Keith Holman Testimonial Sprint, with John Mowbray (Wests) second and former Brisbane Norths’ winger, Fonda Metassa (Souths) in third place. Irvine was clocked at 11.2 seconds, in football gear, for the 100 metres (not yards).

Giant fast bowler, Gordon Rorke trained with St George Dragons to ready himself for the Sheffield Shield season.

Former Australian captain, Clive Churchill’s Moree side was beaten 22-8 by Warialda in their north west competition grand final. It was Churchill’s last match as a player.

In England, St Helens signed Italian forward, Toni Rossi, who had one previous stint in England – with Wigan – before returning to Italy. He took on a job as a waiter to get around the labour-permit regulations, which had forced him home. 

Norths’ forward, Johnny Bates attacks against Redcliffe. Cliff Robinson claims him with a copybook tackle. Les Glover (3) and Bob Bell (9) support Bates. Col Raaen is the other Redcliffe player

Eacham’s champion 1961 side. Champion halves, Bobby Cook and Peter Hanna are seated on the floor

2 responses to “FLASHBACK: SEPTEMBER 1961

  1. I love the formal studio team photographs. It’s a beautiful art and does everybody a great service. I stumbled on a beauty in a Caitlin’s district town south of Dunedin. I suspect the Dunedin based studio was famous for it as the Invercargill based Southlands preferred their arch rival Otago based studio to procure their master piece. Eacham’s ’61 photo isn’t alone. Eacham district town, Malanda has in its famous Malanda Hotel as fine a collection of framed, large format coloured (Kodachrome?) local team photos as any. Hope they grab em first in a fire. Played ’60 junior league for Eacham myself. Two finals in Townsville, B grade against Proserpine and Collinsville. Recall a Atherton Roosters game at Milla Milla. Full back was under constant plover attack. Tale got long , sorry.

    • Atherton Roosters later international Warren Orr must have been a goal kicking winger as I was a sandboy come Atherton Show Ground games ’68 – ’70. We got a pie and drink at half time if we were lucky. I think Warren worked at the Kairi Research Farm. Len (pop) Standen was in the Juniors. Pop played for Brisbane Wests in later ’70s and won the Western Australian player of the year (Brice Trophy).
      Top bloke is the now musician Pop. Dressing sheds were the dirt floor under the Atherton’s humble timber grandstand on the southern end. A sq metre of concrete serviced the one cold shower rose. No shower curtain. No walls either.

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