APRIL 1982

Souths’ coach, Bob McCarthy labelled refereeing in the bush as ‘woeful’, in the fallout from his 1981 Brisbane premiership winning team’s shock 17-16 loss to Wide Bay, in a Winfield State League match at Albert Park, Gympie. McCarthy, a former Test second rower, said four quarter football was a big enough leveller for the country teams, “without the refs being biased”.

Wide Bay halfback, David Adams kicked the winning field goal in the Bulls’ memorable win over the Magpies, in front of a delirious home crowd. Souths led 16-11 with five minutes left, and appeared to be playing with supreme confidence. But a magical inside pass by Adams sent five eighth and skipper, Mick Argeros in for a try beside the posts. Adams converted and then slotted the one pointer, after a vital scrum win by State hooker, Gary Prickett. Adams, a former Manly-Warringah and Balmain player, told The Courier-Mail’s Myles McIvor he could not remember the last time he kicked a field goal.

Adams is the son of former Test winger, Don ‘Bandy’ Adams, a dairy farmer from the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, who was the star of Australia’s home series win over the Kiwis in 1956, before he then travelled to Britain and France with the Kangaroos. Adams played 11 seasons with Maitland, before stints as a player/coach at Muswellbrook, Scone and Gloucester. He died on March 4, 2020, aged 86.

Referee, Richie Johnston (who later went on to become State Director of Referees) penalised Souths 15-7, with Adams, the captain-coach of Bundaberg Wanderers, kicking five goals from six shots, while Souths’ Test centre, Mal Meninga kicked two from four. Souths scored four tries to two.

McIvor wrote that Souths’ class shone at times, but the Bulls’ doggedness earned them the honours, with second rower, Paul Stewart; winger, Mark Connell and prop, Richie Somers, to the fore. Wide Bay led 9-3 at halftime, with Connell, a local sign writer, having scored the try of the match, when he put on a neat swerve and then stepped two defenders.

Wide Bay’s victory was even more meritorious considering they were without former New South Wales Country, forward, Steve MacDonald, with officials saying he was ruled out through injury. MacDonald turned out for his Maryborough club side the same weekend, and declared he had finishes with representative football.

In another tight tussle between the city and the bush, Brisbane Easts beat Toowoomba 26-17 at the Toowoomba Athletic Oval, with Easts’ prop, Shane McNally kicking seven goals from seven shots. The Tigers had to overcome a hefty 20-8 penalty count against them, to score four tries to three. The referee on this occasion was Owen Hohn. Easts led 26-12 with 90 seconds left, when Toowoomba lock, Robert Hanna scored between the posts, to give more respectability to the score.

Wests maintained their unbeaten record with a bruising 13-8 win over North Queensland at the Mackay Showgrounds. Tireless hooker, Eddie Muller from Proserpine scored the first try, and then Townsville centre, Neil Moy made it 8-0 to the North Queenslanders, when he dragged two defenders across the line to score.

The Panthers hit back in the second quarter, with Test halfback, Greg Oliphant leading the way with clever direction of the attack. Wests’ tries were scored by lanky fullback, Jim Vanderham; brilliant indigenous star, Tony Currie and former Manly-Warringah winger/centre, Mick Waller. Both sides had tries disallowed by Sarina referee, Barry Gomersall. Fullback, Currie combined brilliantly with second rower, Brett Ferguson, a former Brothers and Norths’ player. No-one tried harder for North Qld than rugged halfback, Paul Laffin.

Valleys staged a second half rally to beat Central Queensland 30-17 at Biloela, with prop, Bob Arnold scoring two of the Diehards’ seven tries. Future QRL boss, Rob Moore also was among the try scorers. Lanky fullback, Michael Grimsey was the Capras’ best. Capras’ coach, former Test back, Johnny Rhodes, said Valleys’ superior physical condition told in the end. (Rhodes had coached Valleys in 1977).

Gold Coast Vikings fought back from 15-0 down after only 17 minutes, to force a 20-all draw with Norths in the first match of a Lang Park double header.  The Vikings were inspired by former Test fullback, Gary Dowling, whose superb attack troubled the Devils. But Norths’ dynamic indigenous fullback, Joe Kilroy produced the play of the match, a 65-metre individual try, which had the fans on their feet.

Norths led 20-15 with four minutes left, but Vikings’ halfback, Steve Kavanagh battled through several defenders to score the try which forced the draw. Five eighth, Pat Shepherdson scored a try and kicked four goals for Gold Coast. Fullback, Steve Bax scored a try and kicked five goals in Redcliffe’s 28-15 win over Brothers in the second match at Lang Park.

The Commercial Rugby League, the originator of Sunday football in Brisbane, folded, with six of its teams joining the Metropolitan League. Past secretary, John Bell, a well known night club owner, said a lack of numbers had forced the league to shut down.

Eddie Muller (right) playing for North Queensland against Valleys. That’s Bob Knight on the left

Brett Ferguson in his Brothers’ days. Redcliffe’s Mick Webb is number 13.

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