The following is an excerpt from More of the Kangaroo: 150 Years of Australian Football in Queensland.
You can purchase your copy of the book here.
Eleven thousand “Aussie rules” supporters pack Perry Park to see Mayne take on Kedron in the Grand Final
1958 marked 100 years since the birth of the game, and nation-wide celebrations included the interstate Centenary Carnival in Melbourne.
The QANFL joined the party, dubbing the local competition the ‘Centenary Premiership’.
Eight teams played each other three times, a total of 21 games in the minor round. Games were played at Perry Park, Deagon, Emerson Park, Hawthorne Park, Toowong and Windsor Park. Many Sunday games were again played at Deagon and Perry Park where extra seating for spectators was made available before the start of the season. All of the finals were played at Perry Park.
The sudden passing of Clem Ryan on 10 March at the age of 50 was a shocking blow to the code. Following an illustrious career as a player, coach, administrator, manager and schools development officer, he had been appointed junior vice-president for the 1958 season.
Joe Grant became Secretary of the League, starting what would be a 23-year appointment. Grant, who had spent most of his early years at Pyramid Hill, north of Bendigo, had moved to Brisbane in 1954. He became Queensland football’s first full-time administrator. The League moved its office from the first floor of Essex House in Adelaide Street (opposite Anzac Square).
Wilston-Grange welcomed back Ken Grimley after one season with Fitzroy, and he duly played a part in Grange becoming known as the Gorillas in keeping with the then-Fitzroy nickname. By this stage Windsor were referred to as the Eagles.
Coaches for the season were Col Taylor (Kedron), Ron Wilson (Mayne), Kev Gibb (Coorparoo), Norm Reidy (Sandgate), Pat Masterson (Windsor), Ray Crozier (Wilston-Grange), Doug Pittard (Western Districts) and Brian Greinke (Morningside).
The Saturday of Round 1 saw Grange record their fifth draw in under three years when they shared the points with reigning premiers Sandgate at Deagon. Keith Leach rucked admirably and centre half-forward Ian Fynmore was outstanding. Grange looked like winners until the last few minutes when a late Hawks’ flourish levelled the scores. Skipper Norm Reidy was best for Sandgate.
The season’s official Opening Day was held on the Sunday, with atrocious conditions forcing the postponement of the parade of players. Mayne, who had missed the finals in 1957, started the season with little fanfare with a big loss to the Roos before losing to Kedron by five points the following week after appearing to have the game won. However, the Tigers’ Round 3 win over Sandgate, with Alan Hovey, Keith Henderson and Kev Grieves prominent, suggested better things may follow.
Kedron’s narrow win over Mayne in Round 2 was the start of an impressive run of victories which saw the Lions top the ladder after Round 6. Their seven-game winning streak was interrupted by a draw when they played Mayne a second time, a match played in terrible conditions at Perry Park.
The Lions held top spot until Round 12 when Sandgate, who had been suffering an injury-plagued season, held them to just two goals at a very wet Deagon. Coorparoo’s narrow victory over the still- winless Morningside on the same afternoon saw the Roos take Kedron’s spot at the head of the field. Mayne leapfrogged the Lions as well after their opponents Grange also only managed two goals.
The top two teams, Coorparoo and Mayne, met in Round 15. The Roos had won their first two encounters earlier in the season. A hard-fought game saw the Tigers win comfortably to take top place. The ladder was a closely run race though with only half a game separating Mayne, Kedron, who moved back up to second, and Coorparoo. Led by Eddie Ellison and Noel Best, Mayne easily beat a depleted Kedron a week later and there after did not relinquish the top spot.
With three rounds to go, Windsor held fourth place by half a game from Sandgate. Coming up against lowly-ranked Wests at Windsor Park in Round 19 with the Hawks to face second-placed Kedron, Windsor looked good things to make the finals. In what proved to be a costly lapse, Windsor failed to make best use of the wind in the first quarter. With rover Des Fox repeatedly putting Wests in attack and winger Norm Case and centreman Alan Shaw showing brilliant form, the maroons won the game by three points. With Sandgate defeating Kedron by 25 points in a terrific game at Perry Park on the same afternoon, Windsor were suddenly out of the four – and that’s where they stayed.
The beauty and unpredictability of sport was never more dramatically demonstrated than in the last round before the finals. Morningside were in the all-too-familiar position of having lost every game. The closest they’d been to a win was their Round 15 clash with Windsor when the Panthers had held a handy lead at the last change before the green-and-whites stormed home with Don McIvor kicking the winning point with seconds to go. Coming up against ladder leaders Mayne at Perry Park, the result seemed a formality.
However, after a hard, vigorous game in which the lead repeatedly changed hands during the final quarter, Morningside recorded arguably the greatest upset the code had seen in Brisbane, pipping the Tigers by a point to claim their one-and-only win for the season. Even Mayne Secretary Bert Luke wrote in the Football Record that it was “perhaps the most popular win ever at Perry Park”. For all the losses the Panthers endured in their early years, this was the third time they’d beaten Mayne in the final round in five years. Merv Dihm’s high marking was a highlight for Morningside and four last-quarter goals to Kev Symes, who was playing his last game for the Panthers, were crucial.
Despite the loss, Mayne finished in the top spot by two wins with a healthy percentage advantage to boot. Incredibly it was the Tigers’ first minor premiership since 1935.
Other results in the final round also did not follow the script with the second and third-placed teams losing, although the results did not alter the composition of the Semi-Finals. With Ken Grimley outstanding in the ruck and club last-gamer Ray Crozier almost unbeatable at centre half-back, sixth-placed Grange beat third-placed Coorparoo by 54 points. The Roos, who were held to their lowest score of the season, switched places with Sandgate who went up to third. And Windsor, who were out of finals contention by that stage, beat second-placed Kedron by 26 points with Nev Hollingsworth notching eight majors for the winners.
Grange and Wests finished in sixth and seventh respectively, a reversal of the positions they’d occupied for each of the previous two years. Continuing the trend of the Grogan Medal being won by players from lower-ranking teams, Andy Stewart of Western Districts took the honour. It was the eighth year in a row that the winner had come from a team finishing in the bottom three places on the ladder. Another Bulldog, Ray Hughson made it a double for the club by finishing as leading goalkicker, an achievement he would emulate many times.
Both Semi-Finals were brilliant matches to watch, a far cry from the typical hard, physical games normally associated with finals football. In the First Semi, Coorparoo put in a terrific team effort to vanquish their conquerors from the previous season’s Grand Final, Sandgate, by 26 points.
In the lead-up, the winner of the Second Semi-Final looked hard to pick. During the season Mayne and Kedron had had one win over each other with the other game finishing in a draw. Brian Fallis, Merv Eastaughfe and ‘Rusty’ Hoopert played fine games for Kedron, helping the Lions to a hard-fought though exciting nineteen-point win. Although the Football Record extolled the match as a spectacle, it lamented one changing aspect of the game:
. . . apart from Max Fisher and a couple of others, where has the good old drop kick gone, or going?
On a windy afternoon with Perry Park described as a “dustbowl” by The Courier-Mail, Mayne comfortably accounted for Coorparoo in the Preliminary Final. With thirty scoring shots to twelve, the final margin of 33 points would have been far greater if not for inaccuracy on the Tigers’ part.
Noel Best (ex-Kedron) and Noel ‘Bunny’ Burrows were Mayne’s best in the Grand Final as the Tigers outclassed Kedron by 33 points to claim their ninth premiership.
Inaccuracy plagued Kedron early on and saw the Lions go into the long break six points down. In the third quarter, Mayne virtually put the game to bed by scoring 6.5 to 1.0. Coach Ron Wilson was another to play well for the winners
After pulling on the boots late in the season. Don Jewell, John Foran and towering ruckman Ivan Richardson were best for Kedron.
Although the League would continue to play at Perry Park for a further nine years, this would be the last decider played at the old ground where Grand Final history stretched back to 1920. In that respect at least, it was fitting that Mayne, the League’s long time residents of the ground, won the game.
First Semi-Final, Saturday 6 September
Coorparoo 12.17 (89) d Sandgate 8.15 (63)
Second Semi-Final, Sunday 14 September
Kedron 12.10 (82) d Mayne 9.9 (63)
Preliminary Final, Sunday 21 September
Mayne 10.20 (80) d Coorparoo 7.5 (47)
Grand Final, Sunday 28 September
Mayne 13.9 (87) d Kedron 7.12 (54)
You can purchase your copy of the book here.
At over 1100 pages, More of the Kangaroo is a comprehensive history and cover the trajectory of the code throughout the state. It will include over 500 images and reveal facts about the evolution of the code at local level that are little known secretes in contemporary times.