Sports flashback

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS -

THE sport­ing his­tory of the Tweed is a story of cham­pi­ons at ev­ery level, from world cham­pi­ons in the surf, le­gends on the foot­ball field and greats on the greens.

Tweed Daily News has taken a look at some of the le­gends of our sport­ing past and those fu­ture stars who will soon be­came part of the shire’s ath­letic folk­lore. LIONEL MOR­GAN:

NO MAN de­fines Tweed’s sport­ing ex­cep­tion­al­ness like Lionel Mor­gan, the first in­dige­nous man to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia in a rugby league test match.

Mor­gan, who was named on the wing in the In­dige­nous Team of the Cen­tury, scored two tries on his in­ter­na­tional de­but. He won 12 Queens­land caps scor­ing nine tries.

Un­cle Lion Mor­gan re­turned to the Tweed for the Seagulls’ dream 1963 sea­son when the club went un­de­feated.

A pi­o­neer, leg­end and bea­con to so many, Mor­gan was hounded by racism through­out his ca­reer and was even hos­pi­talised while playing footy as a re­sult of vil­i­fi­ca­tion.

The Bil­am­bil Jets JRL club was pre­sented with in­dige­nous jer­seys, the first of their kind, in 2018.

Bund­jalung man, Bil­am­bil ju­nior and Gold Coast Ti­tans cap­tain Ryan James was on hand to see these kids, brim­ming with pride, col­lect their new jer­seys. It was no bet­ter sym­bol of the legacy of Lionel Mor­gan.


OUR first queen of surf­ing, Phyl­lis O’don­nell ruled the waves from Green­mount to Hawaii.

She be­came Aus­tralia’s first women’s world cham­pion surfer in 1964, in­ducted into the Aus­tralian Surf­ing Hall of Fame in 1996 and was in­stru­men­tal in the for­ma­tion of the Aus­tralian Women’s Surf­ing As­so­ci­a­tion. O’don­nell also won the women’s di­vi­sion of the Aus­tralian Na­tional Ti­tles in 1963, 1964 and 1965.

The suc­cess, at the time un­prece­dented for a woman, ren­dered her an icon. Spin­ning on her surf­board (she could do up to nine twirls atop her board) be­came a trade­mark. She fea­tured on the cover of

Surf­ing World mag­a­zine. EL­WYN WA­TERS:

AS SKILLED as he was tough, Mur­willum­bah’s El­wyn Wa­ters was a for­ward no op­po­nent wanted to come up against through­out the 1960s and ’70s.

Wa­ters, born in 1943, won 12 caps for the Aus­tralian rugby league side, 11 NSW caps and pulled on a South Syd­ney jer­sey 129 times.

In those 129 games, Wa­ters be­came a club im­mor­tal. In 2004 he was named by Souths in their South Syd­ney Dream Team. LARRY COROWA:

LARRY Corowa MBE, born in 1957, con­tin­ues the line of Mur­willum­bah men to don the green and gold.

An in­dige­nous man who scored tries at will, Corowa play two tests for Aus­tralia, scor­ing a try on de­but in the 1979 Ashes se­ries against Great Bri­tain at Lang Park.

Corowa was renowned as “the fastest man in the game”. That pace helped Corowa score five tries in as many matches for NSW and be­come one of the only league play­ers to score more than a try a game in a sea­son in first-grade footy. PAT SMITH:

WITH the Com­mon­wealth Games on the Gold Coast this year, the con­tri­bu­tions of 1986 Com­mon­wealth Games medal­list Pat Smith were brought into fo­cus.

Born in Mur­willum­bah in 1920, Smith has left be­hind a tow­er­ing body of work on the bowl­ing green, from her Games sil­ver in Ed­in­burgh in ’86, her Aus­tralian Sin­gles ti­tle and an Order of Aus­tralia medal in 1989.

In be­tween all that, Smith rep­re­sented her state from 1972–87 and her coun­try at both the ’82 and 86’ Com­mon­wealth Games.


Lionel Mor­gan, the first in­dige­nous man to play rugby league for Aus­tralia. El­wyn Wa­ters. CHAM­PION SURFER: Phyl­lis O’donell at Syd­ney Air­port on her way to Coolangatta.

Larry Corowa. Pat Smith.

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