Five decades have passed since an end-of-season collapse saw the undefeated minor premiers – the under-18s Tenterfield Tigers team – succumb to Stanthorpe in the rugby league finals, but that’s not nearly long enough for Stanthorpe to overlook the drubbing.
The opposing teams of 1968 will unite at the Stanthorpe RSL on Saturday, September 8 from 5.30pm to relive their days of glory, and organisers are keen to get an RSVP from those involved.
Tenterfield captain Brian (Fatman) Petrie there’s a small group of Tenterfield and Stanthorpe people who meet up at the Stanthorpe races each year. They’re not all footballers but amongst them are former Stanthorpe players who have long memories and never miss the chance to bring up the defeat.
The golden anniversary seemed a fitting opportunity to put the boot in even more, so those who are up to the challenge are invited to join in.
Brian said he doesn’t remember a lot about that season, but recalls the team was coached by Roy Pearson (a meat inspector) before Frank Koch took over.
Stanthorpe overran the Tigers in the semi-final in Tenterfield to win 15-5.
Tenterfield exercised its right as minor premiers to challenge for the premiership in the grand final. While putting up a better showing, Tenterfield allowed Stanthorpe to take home the cup with a 15-2 win.
Members of the Tigers team – Phillip Cook, Dennis Pitkin, Peter McAllister, Ron Cook, Robert Stalling, Ross Chorley, Brian Petrie and Ray Condrick – went on to represent Warwick & District Juniors, defeating Roma at Dalby.
After that several ended up playing first grade for the Tigers, and Brian said there were some pretty handy players amongst them.
“They were lovely days,” he said, when league didn’t have much competition on the sporting front.
“We’d lounge around all summer waiting for football to start.”
He remembers big spectator crowds and home games were a popular family day out, although National Service at the time had an impact on player availability.
Friends, family and supporters are welcome to join in the golden anniversary celebration, with shuttle busses running from Tenterfield. Call Brian on 0447 118 423 or (02) 6736 2265 if you’re interested, or Stanthorpe captain Neil (Casey) O’Connor on 0438 813 942.