Uni Shield 45-year reunion to be a highpoint of Moree Boars’ centenary celebrations

THEY are the blokes that put Moree on the national sporting stage back in the early 1970s – and they’re returning home to the black-soil plains to help celebrate 100 years of local rugby league when they join hundreds of other like-minded league tragics at the Moree Memorial Hall on July 21.

The year 1973 was a defining period for this group of men.

Back then they were just a rag-tag collection of Moree High School lads ranging in ages from 15 to 18, thrown together for a few games of footie.

They dreamt big, and those dreams were realised when they marched – sorry, stampeded – through the University Shield knock-out competition undefeated.

Captained by Terry Quinn – now the CEO of NSW Country Rugby League – and coached by John McLean, this group of teenagers formed lifelong friendships that have realised at least three official reunions in recent years.

Moree High School overcame insurmountable odds to win the 1973 University Shield Grand-Final, beating Forbes High School 13-12.

And, back in 1973, they united a town as their quest for schoolboy rugby league’s most cherished trophy became a reality.

The squad, made up of names that would later become etched in local and State sporting history, faced a task of herculean proportions.

It is 45 years since that momentous 80 minutes of football placed Moree High School at the top of schoolboy rugby league’s food chain, and former team-mate Mike Hadfield says having a team reunion that coincides with Moree Boars’ centenary celebrations on July 21 was a ‘no-brainer’.

“The 45-year reunion had originally been scheduled for August 18, the exact date of our win at Grahame Park in Gosford,” Hadfield said.

“However, when news of the 100-year celebrations was announced it was agreed that the date be changed as most of the players had played with the Boars.

“While the main event for the weekend will be the celebration of 100 years of rugby league in Moree, the 1973 Uni Shield-winning team see it as a great opportunity to celebrate their victory, some 45 years after the event, and to also experience with many more mates the great years of playing rugby league with the Moree Boars,” Hadfield said.

The 1973 University Shield win is still regarded as Moree’s finest team achievement.

Moree High was one of 184 schools vying for 1973 University Shield honours and the team was meeting opponents in a competition that is built on history, and acknowledged as the initial springboard to rugby league greatness.

But against overwhelming odds, Moree High took on all-comers and soundly defeated them.

The way they were: Front row: Moree High School principal Ian Hodge, Mike Hadfield, Michael “Buster” Duke, Terry Quinn, John Brooks, Bernie Briggs, coach John McLean. Middle row: Harry Allen, Peter Peachey, Greg King, Richard Brown, Stephen Dawson, Paul Peachey. Back row: Tony Dean, Peter Gillan, Stephen Jones, Gregg Humphries, John Brazier, Peter Butler.

The players’ entry into sporting folklore began at Taylor Oval in early 1973 and was completed six memorable months later at Gosford.

Moree delivered hidings to Warialda (48-6), Tenterfield (59-2), Armidale (20-6), Tamworth (14-2) Maitland (27-5), Lismore (44-10) and Newcastle (26-10) before beating Forbes High School 13-12 in front of a record 8000-strong crowd at Gosford’s Grahame Park.

Saturday, August 18, 1973 was truly the day of the underdog, and a defining moment in Moree’s sporting and civic pride.

“Team members and partners will once again gather to reminisce about a time in their lives that may never be surpassed,” Hadfield said.

The reunion of lifelong friends will be marked by a lunch at the Moree RSL Club at 1pm on Saturday, July 21.

This will be followed by what is expected to be a huge gathering of fellow rugby league stalwarts and friends from younger, and not-so-younger, days at the club prior to the Moree Boars’ Centenary Ball at the town hall, starting at 6.30pm.

The 45-year reunion of the University Shield team will also commemorate the loss of two team-mates in recent years.

“We have lost two of our members, John ‘Greasy’ Brazier and Bernie ‘9’ Briggs, and it is hoped that members of their families will join the Uni Shield family to respect and honour the contribution that Greasy and 9 made to Moree’s rugby league history,” Hadfield said.

Team coach, John McLean, said in an interview shortly after Briggs’ passing that the Uni Shield boys had become family, and were still a close-knit group.

“It is sadly ironic to think that the two youngest members of our ‘family’ have passed away, and that alone is tough,” McLean said.

“As the rest of us age a little more, it is to be expected that each of us will have our day but, in the meantime, we should share the many unforgettable moments and appreciate what each person has had to offer.”

McLean said that winning the 1973 University Shield grand-final was indeed a special, and important, moment in sporting history, and that it was due in part to the incredible backing and support of a small, close-knit rural town in north-western NSW – Moree.

“Most of all though, we should appreciate the effort, the advice and the skills’ development given by the members and supporters of Moree rugby league, as well as the marvellous support shown by the people of Moree,” he said.

Words: Bill Poulos


Hundreds gather to celebrate 100 years of rugby league and pay tribute to two great Moree club men

IT is not often that Alf Scott is lost for words. But that is exactly what happened when the Moree born-and-bred living treasure was given not one, but two standing ovations at the Moree Boars Rugby League Football Club Centenary Ball. It was due recognition of Alf’s years of tireless dedication to the greatest game of all.

Click link for full story:

Retired Moree referees Tommy and Reg remember the ‘good old days’ of local rugby league

THEY were yelled at and heckled, and told countless times to get their eyes tested.

And if Specsavers had been around 35-odd years ago, that catchphrase would’ve been used frequently.

Tommy ‘Killer’ Cain and Reg Jamieson still chuckle when they recollect their refereeing days on rugby league paddocks across the far north-west and beyond – the memories and laughs, they reckon, are just too precious to forget.

Click link for full story:

Eddie Lumsden’s boys did Moree proud 50 years ago – and Eddie still raises a glass to their success

THE Moree under-17s rugby league side – coached by former St George great Eddie Lumsden – utterly dominated the 1968 Group 5 season by generating a series of wins that peaked with a narrow grand-final triumph against Inverell.

They became known across north-western NSW in the late 1960s as ‘Eddie Lumsden’s Boys’ and created a unique slice of Moree’s rich rugby league history when half a century ago they marched through the under-17s competition undefeated.

Click link for full story:

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

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

Now it can finally be revealed how Bernie Briggs 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 leading hand.

Click link to read full story:

Moree’s U-18s and U-16s league sides shone brightly during a stellar 1973 season

MOREE’s rich rugby league history, stretching back 100 years, is punctuated with myriad stellar seasons and unforgettable highpoints.

The 1970s was an incredible decade for The Big M – a defining 10-year timeframe that produced 16 grand-final wins across four grades.

Stars were born, and the more durable just kept shining, during an historic 10 years of local rugby league.

Click link for full story:

Moree University Shield ties that bind still strong after 45 years

THE mighty Moree Boars celebrated 100 years of local rugby league at the weekend with a huge centenary ball at the Memorial Hall.

The ball featured guest speakers Tony Butterfield and David ‘Cement’ Gillespie as well as a charity auction hosted by David Watts that raised thousands of dollars.

Local league’s night-of-nights, which also honoured club stalwarts Alf Scott and Todd Mitchell followed a 30-all draw against arch-rivals Inverell Hawks at Boughton Oval on Saturday afternoon.

Click link for full story:

Geoff Newling remembers the Boars’ 1988 grand-final win – a golden year for Moree rugby league

WHEN former Northern Daily Leader sports editor Geoff Newling was approached and asked to send through his recollections of Moree Boars’ 1988 grand-final win against Gunnedah, he had several hundred words emailed back to Moree Online NEWS within a few hours – despite pressing freelance commitments and deadlines.

That’s the sort of bloke he is, and when it comes to penning words about rugby league, or any other sport, there is none finer than Geoff Newling.

Click link for full story:

Moree Boars’ centenary celebrations night-of-nights looms large

MOREE Boars Rugby League Football Club is packing down for one of the most important nights of its long and cherished history when former and current players, committee members, officials and supporters come together to celebrate 100 years of rugby league in Moree.

Click link for full story:

Pop-up museum planned to coincide with Moree rugby league’s centenary ball this month

MOREE and District Historical Society will open a ‘pop-up’ museum to coincide with this month’s Moree rugby league centenary celebrations – and society president Stephen Ritchie is calling on anyone that might have old photos, trophies or memorabilia to help build on the already impressive display the society has planned.

Click link for full story:

PART ONE: Rugby league has been played in Moree for 100 years – and Alf Scott has been around for 94 of them

RUGBY league has been played at competition level in Moree for 100 years – and living treasure and local league historian Alf Scott has been around for 94 of them.

And, incredibly, for 71 of those 94 years, Alf has been directly involved at club and group level with the game that he loves.

Alf has been kicking goals for nearly as long as the game of rugby league has been played in Moree and he remembers with absolute clarity every try scored, every goal kicked and every tackle made – and every player involved.

Click link to read part one of the feature on local rugby league legend Alf Scott:

PART TWO: Alf Scott farewells Moree

The Moree Boars centenary ball on July 21 will celebrate 100 years of rugby league in Moree – but it will also serve as a farewell of sorts to a Moree resident that has been a loyal servant to the town, and the game of rugby league, for more than 70 years.

Moree will be left much the poorer when local rugby league pioneer Alf Scott leaves the district to be closer to family.

Alf, now 94, was born and bred in Moree and, apart from a four-year stint in the Australian Army between 1942 and 1946, has been a resident of the town his entire life.

And he has served Moree well.

Click link to read part two of the feature on local rugby league legend Alf Scott: