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FINALLY REVEALED: How Bernie Briggs kicked THAT goal to seal the 1973 Uni Shield for Moree

SADLY, Bernie Briggs and Terry Kelly – known as ‘9’ and ‘Super’ respectively – are no longer with us, but their legend lives on.

Now, it can finally be revealed how Bernie kicked that goal from the sideline to seal victory for Moree High School in the 1973 University Shield grand-final – and how Super played a pivotal role.

You see, it is a little known fact, and one not recorded in local sporting archives, that Super was the man responsible for helping Bernie kick that magical goal.

The build-up to the match-winning kick was incredible.

There was less than 15 minutes to go in that historic game against Forbes High School, with Forbes leading, 12-8.

Just when Moree looked beaten and the fairytale was over, winger Peter Peachey kicked ahead after a sweeping backline move presented a last-ditch opportunity for the boys from Moree High School.

John Brooks gathered in the ball, crashed through the Forbes defence to ground the ball 10 yards from the corner post.

Forbes led 12-11 and only a successful conversion by replacement goal-kicker Bernie Briggs – just 15 at the time – would send the University Shield to Moree for the first time.

Shielded in glory: Moree High’s open-weight rugby league team players (from left) Greg King, Bernie Briggs, Peter Peachey, Michael Duke, John Brazier, Stephen Jones and Stephen Dawson celebrate their 13-12 win over Forbe’s High School in the 1973 University Shield grand-final.

With 8000 spectators anxiously looking on, Bernie calmly executed the perfect conversion.

It was a long, curving ball that cambered at exactly the right moment – and one that took Moree to a 13-12 win and a permanent place in University Shield history.

Now the secret behind that kick can be revealed.

Back in August, 2003 Super Kelly opened up about his involvement in that conversion while having a couple of quiet ales at Moree’s Royal Hotel one lazy Saturday afternoon.

Super wasn’t prompted but, given that the Uni Shield team would be home that month to celebrate 30 years since their extraordinary win, he felt the time was right to reveal all about such an important chapter of Moree rugby league history.

It is estimated more than 1000 fans journeyed from Moree to Gosford to watch Moree High School win the University Shield on August 18, 1973.

Extra train services were provided and at least 10 buses with standing room only made the trip across the Great Divide.

Super was a rugby league fanatic who liked nothing better than a good yarn over a cold beer on a hot day.

He remembered the trip to Gosford better than most.

Super had the privilege of making the journey in a brand-new Holden Torana owned by another Moree legend, the late Jack Skaines.

The road trip was relatively uneventful until disaster struck near Quirindi.

“We were driving along as proud as punch in this brand-new Torana when we struck trouble,” Super said on that balmy, tell-all winter’s day in 2003.

“We were halfway across the Breeza Plains and there must have been some heavy rain because the bitumen had lifted and a piece of it tore straight through the petrol tank.

“We got towed into Quirindi but the people there didn’t have the right petrol tank because the car was new – they ended up putting a mini minor tank in the boot and let it gravity feed.

“Well, the car absolutely reeked of petrol and we couldn’t do a thing about it – I was too scared to light up a cigarette.

“But we made it to the ground when the score was 10-2 Forbes way, and if there is one thing I do remember well is what happened at half-time,” Super recalled between schooners.

“All the Moree people were sitting in one spot and a mob from Forbes came over trying to bet on the game.

“It didn’t matter that Moree was behind 10-5; the more money they put on Forbes, the more the punters from Moree took them on . . . gee, some money changed hands that day.”

But how was Super responsible for Bernie’s miraculous kick from the sideline – the kick that punted Moree High School into sporting history.

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Super calmly explained how he could rightfully claim full responsibility for Moree’s one-point win.

“I remember the goal that won the game very well,” he said thoughtfully.

“I was sitting just off-centre behind the goal-posts and just as Bernie was lining up the ball we made eye contact.

“He looked across at me and I raised my finger and motioned just a little to the left.

“Bernie nodded back and kicked . . . it was perfect,” Super said, poker-face intact.

Words: Bill Poulos

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