League reunion on this weekend
FORTY years after Whitsunday won their first and only Foley Shield the players in the area will get together to remember the good times, the sad times and the bad times at the great Whitsunday rugby league reunion this weekend.
Reunion organiser Tony Price said that the reunion is for anyone that was ever involved with the game of rugby league at any level if it be as a player, official, referee or supporter.
“The reunion is being held in Bowen at the Grand View Hotel on from midday this Saturday and the organisers have prepared a power point display of more than 500 photos which will be played through the afternoon,” he said.
“The photos in this collection were supplied by many old players, their families and the Bowen Historical Society and Museum and Proserpine Museum. There will also be several grand final films involving Bowen, Collinsville and Proserpine teams from the mid-1980s.” Cost of entry will be $25 which includes a smorgasbord lunch and a souvenir program that lists every player that ever wore the purple and green in any team from 1969-94.
Players are coming from all points of the compass with 1973 captain/coach of Whitsunday, Les Hanigan travelling from Shell Harbour in New South Wales and Bryan Woodcock travelling from New Zealand.
Other players attending from the 1973 team will include Col Peace, Peter Meecham, David Pearce, Keith Shiels, Peter Bruce and Russell Ellis (Bowen), Wayne Bulloch, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy Nugent, John Maitland and Barry McCarthy (Collinsville) and Gerry Coonan, Bobby Young, Laurie Goldman, Barry Parnell and Russell Caldwell (Proserpine).
Whitsunday entered the Foley Shield competition in 1969 and players from that first season attending will include Don McHardie, Bevan Dobe, John Jones and Jimmy Carne (Proserpine), Rod Halley, Tommy O’Connor, Ben Mackie (Bowen) and Rodney Budge, Gary Suhle (Collinsville).
Whitsunday made the 1971 Foley Shield Final and was beaten by a very strong Cairns team and players from the team attending the reunion will include Murray Schultz, Billy Dreger, Chris O’Connor, David Peace, Rod Halley and Greg Price (Bowen), Kevin Nosworthy, Bevan Dobe, Russell Caldwell (Proserpine) and Jimmy Smith, Russell Morrissey, Gary Suhle (Collinsville).
“The reunion is simply an opportunity to meet old friends, and players from all generations are more than welcome,” Mr Price said.
“There is rugby league galore in the Whitsundays that weekend with the semi-finals of the Bowen rugby league on Saturday evening and the last home games for the Whitsunday Brahmans on the Sunday in Proserpine.”
Many old players will be travelling to the area for the weekend including ex-NRL players Les Morrissey, Adrian Brunker (Collinsville), Mike McLean, Paul Young (Bowen) and Eddie Muller (Proserpine).
The reunion is a great opportunity to catch up with rugby league players and supporters that you might not have seen for forty years or more.
Sunday’s recovery at the Les Stagg Oval in Proserpine commences at 10.30am with the under-18s game and at 1.30pm the 1973 Foley Shield team and the 1991 Whitsunday/Burdekin under-19 team that won in Townsville will hand out jerseys to the Brahmans AGrade team before the main game which kicks off at 3.00PM.
The reunion promises to be two days of rugby league nostalgia and action not to be missed.
Anyone wanting to find out more can contact Mike McLean on 0419 756 380 or Tony Price on 0427 451 913.
PAST CHAMPIONS: The 1973 Whitsunday A Grade Team were North Queensland A grade champions and winners of the Foley Shield Back: Bryan Woodcock, Laurie Goldman, John Maitland, Barry McCarthy, Wayne Bulloch, Jim Nugent, Terry Wake. Centre: Eric Phillips (official), Russell Ellis, Jimmy Hill, George Pease (manager), Peter Bruce, Keith Shiels, Barry Allen (Treasurer). Front – Les Stagg (President), Gerry Coonan, Matt Best, Les Hanigan (Capt/Coach). Jim Smith, Bobby Young, Ron Read (secretary).