FLASHBACK: June, 1967

JUNE 1967

Brothers’ rugby league five eighth, Johnny Gleeson starred for Australia in the First Test against New Zealand, and then backed up four days later with another impressive display against the Kiwis, this time for the Brisbane representative side.

Gleeson’s quick feet and splendid passing were features of Australia’s 22-13 win over New Zealand in the Test at the Sydney Cricket ground, watched by a crowd of 33,416.

Brisbane played the Kiwis at Lang Park, with Gleeson scoring the try of the match, a 45-metre effort in which he beat his rival, Gary Woollard pointlessly. But this time New Zealand were the victors. In fact their 31-10 victory left the home side red faced, particularly as so much was expected of them after they beat Great Britain the previous year.

Back to the Test.

The Courier-Mail’s Jack Reardon rated it the best match he had ever seen from Australian fullback, Graeme Langlands, who handled impeccably in the mud; kicked long, with good judgement; and was always keen to add the extra man in attack. Langlands scored one try and had a big hand in two others. But his goal kicking left a lot to be desired, as he landed only two from seven shots.

Debutant winger, Les Hanigan scored two tries for Australia, while captain-coach, Reg Gasnier gave his Kiwi counterpart, Roger Bailey a lesson in centre play. Second rowers, Dennis Tutty and Allan Thompson were also making their Australian debuts, with Thompson’s defence frequently breaking up the Kiwi attack. Townsville’s Brian Fitzsimmons also made his Test debut – at hooker – losing the scrums 14-9 to Colin O’Neil from Wellington.

Halfback, Bob Irvine was the best of the Kiwis, while Oscar Danielson was the most effective New Zealand forward. Winger, Roy Christian scored a spectacular try from a Danielson kick out of dummy half. Kiwi coach, Lory Blanchard was downcast after the game, particularly as the tourists’ build-up had been so promising, highlighted by a 15-14 win over New South Wales.

The Kiwis’ match against Brisbane was scheduled for the Exhibition Grounds on a Monday night, but was switched to Lang Park the following afternoon, because of the water logged state of the Ekka, and then problems with the lighting.

New Zealand scored seven tries to two in their 31-10 win over Brisbane with Ted Baker and Len Morgan grabbing two tries each. Best for Brisbane were Gleeson and forwards, John Lohman and George Diggles.

Wests’ former Test halfback, Barry Muir had hoped to play for Brisbane, but was ruled out for two weeks after suffering a bad leg gash in a 4-4 draw with Valleys in sloppy conditions at Lang Park.

In other news of the day: Rockhampton’s Des Crowe was appointed Queensland coach, replacing Ian ‘Ripper’ Doyle, who has stepped down because of ill-health.

And Redcliffe opened its new club house at the Redcliffe Showgrounds, with a public barbecue and testimonial to lock, Col Weier, who was in hospital with severe burns, received in an accident.

Roy Christian

Bob Irvine

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