St George’s Test rugby league lock, Johnny Raper escaped serious injury in a car accident, because he was wearing a seatbelt, at a time when it was not compulsory to do so.

“If I hadn’t been wearing one, I would have gone through the windscreen,” Raper said. “I had stopped to give way to a car pulling out, and as I did so, a young fellow ran straight into the back of my station wagon. The impact caused about $200 damage to my car, and the front of the other car was a write off. I am very lucky not to be in hospital.”

Raper played in the major semi-final against Balmain, despite a very sore back, the result of the accident.

The wearing of seat belts did not become compulsory in New South Wales until 1971, my first year out of school.

St George defeated Balmain 10-2, with Ken Maddison and Bruce Pollard scoring tries, while Johnny King and Graeme Langlands kicked goals. Balmain fullback, skipper, Keith Barnes kicked a penalty goal for the Tigers’ only points. Harry Bath coached Balmain, while Ian Walsh was the Dragons’ captain-coach.

Former Tweed Heads Seagulls and Brisbane Norths’ forward, Elwyn ‘Aub’ Walters starred for South Sydney in their 15-7 win over Balmain in the reserve grade major semi-final, after the score was locked 4-4 at halftime.

In the first six minutes of the second half, second rower, Walters and halfback Bob Grant carved through the Tigers’ defence to score excellent tries, with Walters’ try coming after a crashing run from lock, Gary Stevens. Walters, normally a hooker, was in everything, also kicking three goals.

With Penrith entering the top echelon of Sydney football in 1967, boundary lines had been drawn up between the Panthers’ territory and that of neighbours, Parramatta. The line cut east of Blacktown, leaving Seven Hills and Lalor Park in the Parramatta area. Penrith’s junior nursery was to include two clubs from Blacktown; Riverstone, Richmond, Windsor and St Mary’s as well as Mt Druitt, where a big residential development was planned.

Penrith, with the consent of the NSW Country League, would also foster footy in the Blue Mountains area,0 where there were already teams representing Katoomba, Springwood and Warragamba Dam.

Canterbury-Bankstown headed to Perth for an end-of-season trip, which was to include a match against Western Australia.

In Brisbane, Norths, coached by Kevin Brasch, defeated Valleys in the under-18 grand-final, which degenerated into a brawling affair in the second half.

A classic Johnny Raper tackle on Parramatta’s Barry Rushworth

Balmain fullback, Keith Barnes playing for New South Wales against Queensland. That’s Dud Beattie in the background.

One response to “FLASHBACK: SEPTEMBER 1966

  1. Would never had guessed Elwyn Walters was a goal kicker. Would have lost money on that.

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