Almanac Classic (Footy Poetry): The Year the ‘Roos First Wunner

The Year The ‘Roos First Wunner

(an account of the 1946 D Grade Grand Final)


by John Mullan


Unless my memory’s playing me tricks it happened in August of forty-six,

The Coorparoo racecourse was where we met in that old tin shed I’ll never forget.

Gurtner, Cox, O’Mara and White were tuning their bikes for the Ekka that night,

Revell and Belcher were doing some laps and Vic was setting paspalum traps.

He knows perfectly well he oughtn’t, but a home ground advantage is so important.

But whether it’s rainin’, hailin’ or snowin’ Finsbury Park is where we’re goin’.

And we all know what we need to do, that’s bring home the flag to Coorparoo.


Up Cavendish Road till we reach the “Jungho” then onto a matchbox tram – real jungho,

A penny to town if you brought your pass with change from a zack for a bottla sars.

Durden’s or Horitz’s, what a decision – I’ll stick with Tristram’s it’s got more fizz in.

Past the Alhambra and wouldn’t it roocher, Danny Kaye’s on in Minnie the Moocher.

I’d rather be takin’ a rag to the flicks than chasing a football around in the sticks.

I look at Harpo and he looks at me for we both know a way you can get in for free.

There’s a missing window above the urinal – but today we play in the D Grade Grand Final.

There’ll be plenty of time for playing up, after we’ve won the premiership cup.


Nearing the ‘Gabba the tram fills up, it’s Brisbane and Ipswich in the Bulimba Cup.

Red rover come over are my thoughts on that, those sniffarsers couldn’t kick over their hat.

Here’s “Custard” the one armed paperseller, we give him a razz – you should hear him beller.

Tommy’s tramsick and white as a sheet – last week he spewed all over my feet.

Almost on time we arrive in the city but just miss the Enoggera tram – are we shitty!

But we pick up a Kelvin Grove to the ground and we pull on our boots without a sound.

Lummer’s late and pushes his way in, there’s even a rumour he knows who we’re playin’.

Big Lorks is captain ’cause he has a pen, last week against Windsor I think he kicked ten.


Yeronga are favourites and think they’re specials with Corless, Archer and both the Cecils.

Together with Applegarth, Shorten and Sanders they intend to turn Finsbury into Flanders.

As we pull on our guernseys of black with gold sash we are thinking we’ll give this a real good bash.

It’s a dangerous ploy to corner a roo and they’re going to learn that before this day’s through.

“The Grafter” is there with his bucket and towel and you don’t want to know as drunk as an owl.

As I lace up my boots I notice “The Fox” is wearing no jock strap and showing his rocks.

Harry O’Callaghan will umpire the game – he destined for football’s hall of fame.

There’ll be no excuses if we get done, ’cause there’s no better umpire under the sun.


Plummer’s at full back, ”The Fox” in a pocket and Harpo at centre half back – he’s a rocket!

Bevan and Mick will play on the flanks – they go through like a couple of tanks.

A good molly dooker to play in the guts, and Keith Reeves’ our man there’s no ifs or buts.

Lummer and I will start in the ruck and with Gibber as rover they’re going to need luck.

For I notice his eyes have just started rollin’ – if I were Ron Archer I’d stick to fast bowlin’.

Greaves Trouton McKay is our half forward line – as good as you’d find anywhere for mine.

Big Lorks has taken his place in the square with “Widdler” beside him. There’s no worries there.

The moment of truth has arrived without warning – bury your own dead Sunday morning.


As Harry O’Callaghan bounces the ball and I go for the tap I hear something fall,

It’s easy to see what causes the thud, Gibber’s dropped Applegarth cold as a spud.

Then in a flash he twists like a snake and finds Big Lorks who makes no mistake.

Yeronga is stunned, this is not in the script. It’s not too often their wings get clipped.

We turn up the heat with three quick goals, we’re doing them slowly on red hot coals.

Plummer and Trouton are burning the grass and Big Lorks is kicking them out of his arse.

Lummer marks strongly over the pack and signals the forwards ”get back-get back”.

Then commits his usual indiscretion by kicking the ground and losing possession.


We lead at half time by four goals two but we’ve still got plenty of work to do.

There is no way the game is ours for the takin’, we’ll all need to lift to bring home the bacon.

At lemons our lead is whittled by half and they think they’ve got us. Now there’s a laugh.

Tommy’s been sandwiched and he’s in strife but Harpo’s playing the game of his life.

The final ten minutes are what you’d expect with just about everyone getting decked.

But Harry O’Callaghan keeps control and we win by a solitary single goal.

The “Grafter” produces a bottle of steam and we pass it around among the team.

We all shake hands with the opposition and I tell this yarn on one condition.


If you’re ever passing through Coorparoo and drop into the club for a drink or two,

Though they’ve changed the club colours to navy and white and who’s to say it isn’t right,

They still use a black and gold bar runner to remember the year






Big Lorks            Ian Lorkin, state junior and club senior.

Fox                     Dave Otway, club senior.

Gibber               Kevin Gibb, state and club senior and junior.

Harpo                 Bob Harper, club senior. Killed in a road accident in 1952.

Lummer             Les Hurren, club and state senior.

McKay               Ron McKay, no record.

Mick                   Don Bishop, state club and senior.

Bevan                 Bevan King, no record.

Tommy               Tom Greaves, passed away.

Plummer             Bob Plummer, passed away as a young man.

Keith                 Keith Reeves, club senior.

The Grafter       Wally Trouton.

Trouton              Les Trouton, club senior.

Widdler             Errol Lorkin, no record.

Appo                   Les Appleton, no record.

Brasso               Brian Marshall, no record.

Yours truly         John Mullan, state junior, club senior.


A group of Queensland researchers and writers is compiling the 150th anniversary history of Queensland Australian footy. Learn more about the project and about how you can help.




  1. What a treat!
    I’m just sitting here reading it over and over.
    Thanks John.


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