QUEENSLAND lock, Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin advocated the selection of skipper, Wally Lewis at halfback for the 1987 State of Origin Series following the career ending eye injury to Mark Murray.
Vautin said there did not appear to be a suitable heir to Murray’s number seven jersey, so the logical step was to move Lewis from five eighth, with Grant Rix to wear the famous number 6.
“There’s nothing Wally couldn’t handle, including taking on (NSW halfback) Peter Sterling,” Vautin told ‘The Courier-Mail’s Paul Malone.
At that stage Lewis had played 16 of his 17 Origin games at five eighth. He was lock in the first Origin match in 1980, with Allan Smith at five eighth.
Ipswich’s Allan Langer had been named halfback in the Brisbane representative side for the 1987 National Panasonic Cup competition. Vautin was playing for Manly-Warringah in the Sydney competition in ’87 and had not seen Langer play.
In Brisbane club football, the much-hyped halfback duel between Langer and his older brother, Kevin finished with a points victory to Allan, whose Ipswich Jets beat Kevin’s Wests Panthers 30-8 at Purtell Park, Bardon.
Leading up to the match, Wests’ coach, Peter Foreman said the selectors had chosen the wrong Langer for the Brisbane rep. side, saying his former Australian under-18 halfback, Kevin Langer was the man for the job.
Kevin played well against Ipswich and could hold his head high, unlike many of his teammates. But Allan justified the Brisbane selectors’ faith with a clever display. Former Mt Isa Black Stars’ centre, Ken Robertson scored four tries for Ipswich in his first BRL game.
Queensland centre, Gene Miles scored three tries for Wynnum in their 26-22 loss to Brothers in a premiership match at Corbett Park, Grange. The match winning try was scored by Brothers’ forward, Eric Kennedy, after Miles was penalised and marched 10 metres by referee, Kerry Crimmin, for back chat.
Miles’ defence was just as impressive as his attack, with his thumping tackles leaving three Brothers players – Tony Rea, Brett Le Man and Dean Sammut – in need of attention. Brothers’ coach, Ross Strudwick had huge wraps on Sammut, suggesting he could one day play five eighth for Queensland. Second rower, Tony Rea scored two tries for Brothers, but Strudwick singled out the second rower, Gary Smith for special praise.
Wynnum captain-coach, Lewis entered the Brothers’ dressing rooms after the game to congratulate the home team, and later had a beer with Strudwick, his former coach at Valleys. The previous year, Lewis had led Wynnum to a win over Strudwick’s Brothers’ side in the Grand Final.
Wynnum-Manly reserve grade halfback, Doug Belford was cleared of neck damage after being taken to hospital, complaining of pins and needles when he was replaced with injury in the second half.
A hat-trick of tries inside eight minutes by strong running centre, Rick Newman swept Souths to a 28-16 win over Easts at Langlands Park. Newman was the man on the spot as teammates, especially livewire halfback, Ray Ovens, cut the defence to ribbons. Halfback, Bruce Crosby scores two tries for Easts.
Young half, Craig Grauf scored a brace of tries for Norths in their 38-26 win over Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval, with winger, Guy Harvey kicking seven goals. Norths’ Skipper, Darryl Duncan was the best player on the field, kicking judiciously and linking well with his co-forwards, in particular Test stars, Greg Dowling and Paul McCabe.
Valleys had the bye.
In the NSWRL, Canberra Raiders appointed Ipswich signing, Kevin Walters captain of their reserve grade side. Chris O’Sullivan was the man blocking Walters’ immediate chances of selection in first grade.