Souths and Norths put on a spectacular display of attacking football for Channel 7’s first ever telecast of its new ‘Match of the Day’ format, which went on to become a ratings winner for most of the decade.
Souths in particular, turned on the razzle dazzle, with one handed passes, overhead passes and flick passes, some of them no doubt due to the influence of Fijian imports such as Isia Volavola, Aesali Batibasaga and Amen Gutugutuwai who were proving a huge hit with spectators. Souths led 10-2, and then 10-9 at halftime, before sealing a 15-14 victory, thanks to a penalty goal by centre, John Graham five minutes from the end.
The key players in Souths’ victory were John Grant, Jim Murphy and Jim Marshall, all of whom got through an enormous amount of defence, to slow the pace of the Norths’ onslaught. Grant also scored two tries, the second a 50 metre dash, in which he shrugged off three defenders.
The Sunday match at Lang Park featured 1971 Grand Finalists, Valleys and Easts and despite wet, slippery conditions, proved an absorbing clash, with Valleys winning 6-0. (Valleys had won the 1971 Grand Final 18-10). Heavy rain flooded Milton, and the touchlines at the bottom end of the ground became obscured.
Valleys’ hooker, Hugh O’Doherty revelled in the heavy going, and was the busiest player on the field. Valleys’ kicking game was superior to Easts, with halfback, Ross Threlfo; fullback, Norm Clarke and prop, John Crilly putting in a clever mix of short and long kicks. Valleys’ emerging young forward, Bruce McLeod continued to show plenty of promise.
Replacement hooker, Bob Wilson scored two tries and featured in a third in Redcliffe’s 19-15 win over Wynnum-Manly in the Monday Lang Park match. Wilson, who only came into the side after regular hooker, Phil Massey had injured his knee at training, also won the scrums 17-12.
Redcliffe’s outstanding player was tall prop, Jim Tronc, who was thriving under the guidance of new coach, former Test forward, Ken Day. Five eighth, Steve Crear scored a try after an exchange of passes by Tronc and Wilson. Both sides scored three tries, with the difference coming from the boot of Howard Whittaker, who landed five goals from six shots. Wynnum’s Gary Biggam landed two from five, while former soccer player, Bob Patterson was on target with his only shot.
The game between Brothers and Wests at Corbett Park, Grange was called off after the Third Grade was completed and the reserve grade abandoned at halftime, such was the condition of the field, on the banks of Kedron Brook. The ground was so badly damaged by flooding, Brothers had to restrict their training to running the streets around Grange, although Souths and Norths made their fields available for later in the week.
Wests had suffered a major setback the previous week, with halfback, Peter Foreman injured in a car accident. He required 20 stiches in facial cuts.
Centre, Ron Beauchamp was named captain of the Toowoomba side to play Brisbane in the first Bulimba Cup (inter-city) match of the season. But Toowoomba suffered a major setback, with outside back, Wayne Bennett ruled out with a foot injury. Bennett, who had toured New Zealand in 1971 with the Australian side, was regarded a strong change for selection for the 1972 home Test series against the Kiwis and the World Cup in France in October/November.
FOONOTE: Channel 7 showed all three games from Lang Park that Easter weekend. They had the use of only two cameras, with Doniger and Veivers having to edit the game down to a 53 minute package, which was shown after the 6 p.m. News, which was a 30 minute bulletin in those days.