Australian rugby league stars, Brian Davies and Brian Carlson stole the headlines in the lead-up to 1957’s big representative games, while the famous old Valleys club in Brisbane was left reeling from raids by cashed up scouts from the bush.
Davies starred for his club side, Brothers while Carlson had fans on their feet with a scintillating display for Central Queensland in the Country trials in Mackay.
It was the goal kicking prowess of Davies that saved the day for Brothers in the Brisbane Match of the Round against Wests at Lang Park. Brothers won 30-24, after they had led 23-6 at halftime. Both sides scored six tries.
The Courier-Mails’ Jack Reardon wrote that Davies was such a fine player, fans came to expect a top game from him every time he took the field.
At Oxenham Park, Valleys’ winger, Dick Davies farewelled Brisbane club football by scoring five tries in the Diehards’ 43-14 thrashing of Souths. Davies had accepted a 15 pounds a week contract with Augathella, and was to head west that night, after the game. Valleys’ Test fullback, Norm Pope kicked eight goals from 10 shots.
At Augathella, Davies (no relation to Brian, as far as I know), was to join another former Valleys’ forward, tough-as-teak, Norm McFadden.
Easts defeated Wynnum-Manly 39-13 at Davies Park with lock, Joe Baker and halfback, Paul Pyers outstanding for the victors. Wynnum’s best were five eighth, Bobby Cook and forward, Alan Hornery, while Tweed recruit, Kev Ashburn played soundly in the centres.
The May weekend featured two rounds of club football, with Easts and Valleys having played a thrilling 20-all draw at the Gabba on the Saturday. Paul Pyers had a chance to win the match for Easts in the closing seconds, after Valleys’ fullback, Pope was penalised by referee, Frank Ballard for a stiff-arm tackle on Easts’ hooker, Roy Sahl. But the ball sailed wide of the uprights. (Pope was ‘renowned’ for his stiff arm tackles).
Souths defeated Wynnum 27-19 in the early game of the Gabba double header, with winger, Des Hendry scoring a try and kicking five goals for Souths. Brothers defeated Norths 32-11 at Oxenham Park.
The Country Rugby League trials were being held in Mackay with Rockhampton halfback, Cyril Connell named captain-coach of the Country squad chosen after the long weekend of football. Country were to play a South Queensland side, chosen from the Brisbane, Ipswich and Toowoomba competitions.
Central Queensland’s Australian Test winger, Brian Carlson (Blackall) was the star of the carnival, while North Queensland forwards, Dan Clifford and Don Furner also were outstanding.
In Toowoomba club football, Australian winger, Des McGovern scored three tries in Newtown’s 41-15 win over Valleys, with lock, Bob Duncan crossing twice. Fullback, Len Lewis kicked 10 goals from 12 shots.
Footnote: I saw Norm McFadden play for Gold Coast Tigers and Tweed Heads Seagulls in the late 1960s, when he was in the veteran category – a hard man, and a wonderful leader.