Rugby League – Queensland Cup: The battle of the Bayside – football with soul

Queensland Cup Rugby League Grand Final 2012: Wynnum Manly Seagulls 20 d Redcliffe Dolphins 10

by JJ Leahy

The initial convict settlement in Queensland was established at Redcliffe on the shores of Moreton Bay in 1824.  However, it was moved in the next year up the Brisbane River to the current site of the CBD. Redcliffe was left to develop as a place for fisherman and farmers, and for seaside holidays and day trips. The Wynnum-Manly area on the south-side of the Brisbane River evolved in a similar manner. They were separated from the growth of the City, and remained that way as working class communities until the urban sprawl linked them to the modern Brisbane. While now showing the signs of gentrification, they retain strong community identification.

Rugby league has been the sport of choice for these communities, and they have remained solid as some of the old inner-city clubs folded when the Brisbane Broncos were created, and joined an emerging National Rugby League competition.

The journey to Lang Park was delayed for a gathering at the Caxton Hotel. Wynnum supporters dominated the crowd as they later did at the ground. The Historian, The Runner, the Old Brothers Prop, the Lean Man (formerly the Big Man), and Your Correspondent formed a circle with a much higher average age that the rest of the rowdy clientele. The Historian worried that he should have been marking university assignments, but he has probably not missed a final since he was five except for sojourns out of the country. The Lean Man is a testament to the benefits of diet and exercise. He previously carried his size well, but now looks ready to take on the world. The Old Prop winged about his knee, and the Runner about his various ailments.

Fortunately, the conversation turned to a preview of the game then drifted to a discussion of the efforts of the Newman Government in attempting to change the economic and social fabric of Queensland. This is a dominant topic of conversation when two or more Queenslanders meet these days. The views proffered are many and varied. This was followed a de-construction of that splendid ABC TV series “Rake” before rolling on to consideration of such historical figures such as King O’Malley and Tom Wills.

It was time to head the ground. A crowd just under 10,000 can get lost in the 50,000+ capacity of Lang Park. Only part of the seating was opened up, but it left one side of the field bare and detracted from the atmosphere. Nevertheless, those who attend these games are the “true believers”. They are not persuaded by media hype and the cult of celebrity. They are there to savor the game.

The teams took the field. The National Anthem was performed by the choir from St Josephs’ College, Gregory Terrace. The Old Prop was disappointed. He said his school could provide a choir that could not only sing the Australian Anthem, but those of Samoa, Afghanistan and other nations. However, this choir was very good. It made a pleasant change from the screamers and tinny whiners offered up by the commercial TV networks as cross-promotion for some awful reality show they inflict on the populace. These young men, together with the young ladies from All Hallows School, sang at the service at Gallipoli on ANZAC Day, and will do so over the next few years.

The game was on. Redcliffe looked dangerous with the ball in hand. They have some very light-footed steppers. However, Wynnum forwards made more ground as they ploughed the ball up the centre of the field. Wynnum had the field position. Redcliffe found a gap on the right side of the field and the centre Hatfield was away drawing the fullback before passing to the winger Liam Georgetown who scored his 17th  try in his last 17 matches. Redcliffe were nearly over the line on two more occasions, but Wynnum defended strongly. This resulted in many Redcliffe errors.

As half-time approached, Wynnum got within 20 metres of the Redcliffe try-line. Their Captain, Luke Dalziel-Don, got the ball in the middle of the park. The defence started to drift wider to cover the outside players. He ran to the right, then straightened his run at two defenders, stood in the tackle, and unloaded a pass to the five-eight Jacob Faloud who run straight into the gap to cross the line. Wynnum up by 6 to 4 at half-time.

Ninety seconds into the second half, Wynnum forward John Te Reo showed the lightness of foot of a smaller man when he skipped sideways from the opposing defender, drew the next opponent’ and slipped a pass to centre Moon for another Wynnum try. In the 53rd minute, a high kick was dropped by the Redcliffe winger Delroy Berryman. Te Reo re-gathered, drew the defence, and gave winger Peter Gubb a try. Wynnum were 14-6 up and dominating the game.

Redcliffe were held up over the Wynnum line following a scintillating run by fullback Joe Bond. In the 74th minute, Redcliffe half-back Capewell chip-kicked over the defence, Bond regathered and took off, passing to the equal slick Delroy Berryman who scored wide out.

Wynnum had the better of the game but the score was only 14-10. They were not to be denied and, in the 79th minute, big forward Charlie Gubb dragged two defenders with him as he scored under the posts. The conversion kick was taken by the retiring Dane Carlaw who finished a career that had seen him play for Australia, Queensland, the Brisbane Broncos, in France, and completed with two QLD Cup Premierships.

When Wynnum-Manly won their first premiership in the old Brisbane Rugby League competition in 1982, there was much jubilation in the district. The Edgells food processing factory (long gone and now a housing estate), had to close for the day because all the workers were still celebrating. This time, the outpouring of joy was more reserved, but nevertheless the pride of the district was still felt strongly.

This was an enjoyable game, played in good spirit, and very well handled by the referee and other officials.

Football with soul!

Post Script;

There were two blokes sitting in the row behind me recalling their playing days in the Brisbane Second Division ranks. One mentioned a former opponent. The other replied that he did not recall the bloke and asked what was he like. The first bloke replied; “He was most famous for head-butting me. He got just about the biggest suspension ever given to anyone. I have had a beer with him a couple of times in recent years. He has told me that he regrets his actions that day.”

Comments

  1. Matt o'hanlon says:

    JJ great report as always. Enjoyable day that will continue to grow. I watched newtown defeat Balmain in Sydney and thought we need to have Wynumm play Newtown on the big day. That would be a great advertisement. I hope the pie is not still repeating on the runner

  2. Greg Mallory says:

    Very good report, yes I think the Qld cup winner should play the NSW Cup winner at the Sydney Grand Final.
    PS: The Historian is still marking those 120+ assignments

  3. Jason McNeil says:

    JJ, excellent report with a lovely descriptive writing style. I now feel even more regret that I missed the game and hanging out with you wise owls. Hope to catch up with you all at a time in the not too distant future. What is everyone going to do now the curtain has come down on the footy season? Cricket? A-League Soccer, dare I suggest?

    I noticed the Australian Rugby League team has just been announced. Farrah on the bench surprised me.

  4. Peter Hulthen says:

    JJ, I loved your informative report. It put everything about that day in a nut shell. I saw the game on televsion but reading your report made me fell that I was actualy at the game sharing my battle scars.Great point Matt. A game between Wynnum Manly and Newtown Jets would have far more appeal than the Storm going over to play the Superleague winners. I am sure “Bumper” Dwyer would love to see that happen.

    From your Northern Correspondent in Townsville.

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