Queensland Tour 1983 NSWPRL Under 21's
On Tuesday, 7 June, 1983 the NSW Police Under 21 Rugby league Football Team departed Mascot Airport flying East West Airlines enroute to Brisbane, Sunny Queensland.
The purpose of the trip was to play the Queensland Police Academy Under 21 Side as the preliminary game before the State of Origin Match at Lang Park, for the perpetual trophy between the two Forces.
On arrival the squad was transported to the Queensland Police Academy where they were well received. The team had a light run with the ball prior to the official welcome by the Senior Administrative Officer of the Academy who assured every person present that the game would be played in the right spirit of the game and not to maim! Unfortunately for that officer the Queensland team were not present and obviously were given a different game plan.
The spirit of the NSW boys was high, and during the course of the light run, it was obvious that our boys had pace and size to burn and with the expertise and experience of the few graded players in the side, the 'Banana Benders' were in trouble.
Prior to leaving for Lang Park, Brian 'Chicka' Moore talked to the team and whilst travelling in the bus to the ground one could have cut the air with a knife, the boys were primed and ready to fire. On arrival at Lang Park, the atmosphere was something one has to experience to understand what the 'big boys' have to get over when they run onto the paddock up there. Definitely a biased crowd.
Before the game, Mal Cochrane (Captain) and Wayne Portlock (Vice Captain) kept the boys in the mood with good football talk.
Under the lights of Lang Park and with the vocal crowd wanting to see the "NSW Coppers" blood, the game commenced with a cracking pace with the Queenslanders' coming out fighting, one punch in backplay by the QLD no 13 set the stage for the remainer of the game. This player was cautioned continuously during the course of the match.
After only 7 minutes the NSW 'happy hooker' Charlie Haggett crossed the Queenslanders' line thanks to a fine forty metre run by five-eight Wayne Portlock. This try was the first of four tries in the first half with the forwards punishing the Queenslanders in defence and then taking them by the throat up the middle when running the ball up. The forwards were great to watch, giving the backs all the room in the world to capitalise with Wayne Portlock giving them a merry chase around Lang Park. The Queenslanders were getting dizzy trying to guess which way he was going.
Wayne Portlock (The Dancer), Peter Newham (Stonewall), and Greg McCartney (Rocky IV) had big games, Newham's defence and distribution was all class. McCartney with his hard running and backing-up together with short 3 rounders, was in everything and needed ice-packs at the end of the game on both hands. At lemons the score was 18 to nil, NSW's favour with only one concersion by Shane Marshall.
To the dismay of the Queensland team the trend of play established in the first half was not reversed, the Queenslanders had their game plan out of the 'Queensland Rules' and the Welshmen under instructions from Chicka Moore, played class football.
Once again to open the scoring in the second-half, Charlie Haggett scored the try, making it his second and put him well on the way to take out the 'Man of the Match' Qward which he so richly seserved with a grreat all round game, winning the ball, tackling and his elusive running from dummy half. Charlie's acceleration from the dummy half position was too much for the Queenslanders as he continually split them wide open up the middles. Tries continued with Doug 'Dasher' Keen on the wing, Dave Corcharane, centre, Mal Cochrane, lock, scoring tries and also kicking three goals. NSW 36-Qld 0. Queensland were now very despondent and offering only token resistance until finally crossing for a try which was duly converted.
The NSW under 21 Police Team played outstanding football and were a credit to the game of rugby league. They were subjected to illegal backplay, deliberate hindrance and provocation, but at all times came out on top. There were, of course, two incidents, one in the first half and one in the second half, that involved the entire two sides in what could be termed as a 'a difference of opinion', with NSW definetely getting the points easily on the first and close decision on the second.
A mention for the 'Courage award' which was a Puma sports bag donated by the Puma Company. This award went to Bruce 'Rags' Symons, front-row, who after receiving a deep cut above one eye continued to play, standing back deep and running onto the ball with great determination and tackling all night. 'Rags' played with his head swathed in bandages and with the help of a certain cosmetic item was able to stem the flow of blood to play on. At the completion of the game he received 18 stitches.
The football assault on Queensland was led by Sergeant 1/Class Brian Boyle, President of the NSWPRL Association, who expressed appreciation on behalf of the players and officials, for the invitation by the Queenslanders to play once again for the perpetual trophy and thanked the Queensland team members for their hospitality with special thanks to Sergeant Wayne Bennett of the Queensland Police Academy for his efforts in organising our stay and accommodation at the Academy.