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Golden Eras for Representative Success 1950-70s (Part 2)



Alex Watson and Tom Tyquin both moved to North Queensland (Sarina) at the end of their Australian representative careers in 1958, and in 1959 two North Queenslanders – Innisfail's Trevor McDonald and Townsville's Jim Paterson – made the Australian side to play New Zealand.

Jim Paterson was then selected in the 1959 Kangaroo touring squad from Townsville, becoming a household name in rugby league.

The success of Queensland in interstate clashes with NSW during 1959-61 coincided with this successful era for North Queensland.

Many northern based players played in victorious Queensland sides of this time.

Apart from Jim Paterson, Alan Gill, and Ron Tait, players from the Bulimba Cup teams who transferred north included Des Hendry, Brian Jones, Noel Kelly, Paul Pyers, Don Meehan and Bobby Cook, all whom represented North Queensland and Queensland during these years.

The movement of players between North Queensland and the Bulimba Cup teams, especially Toowoomba, became a real feature of this era.

The influence of Toowoomba's Duncan Thompson was evident when several of the North's favourite sons – Jim Paterson, Ron Tait and Alan Gill – transferred to Toowoomba early in their careers to gain experience before returning home and playing for Queensland.

It was not just the "big name" players who gave the north recognition during this golden era.

Hundreds of players competed in local club competitions, Foley Shield clashes, and many more made the Queensland Country sides.

By 1959, North Queensland rugby league had become so strong that a challenge was issued to Brisbane for the State championship title.

This resulted in a 36-19 victory for North Queensland!

The North continued to be strong into the 1960s, with many clashes against southern and visiting International sides taking place.

North Queensland based Australian representatives included Noel Kelly (Ayr) and Jim Paterson both who were selected in the 1960 Australian World Cup squad.

The 1961 Australian squad to tour New Zealand included Alan Gil (Cairns), and Jim Patterson with the Vice Captain, Barry Muir, actually finishing his career in North Queensland as Captain/Coach of Ayr in 1970.

Then the 1962 Australian side had three northern based players – Bob Hagan, Alan Gil, and Bob Banks – while Jimmy Paterson missed out through injury. Angelo Crema 1966 (Tully) Gary Wellington 1965-66 (Ayr and Herbert River), Lionel Williamson 1968 - 71, (Innisfail) all represented Australia from North Queensland and were all North Queensland juniors!

The achievements of these players form the tip of an iceberg for the success and popularity of rugby league throughout North Queensland.

To further highlight the strength of the northern game during the 1960s, North Queensland defeated Great Britain in 1966, one of the few matches Great Britain lost on tour.

Through into the 1970s, the success of the game in the north continued with the Foley Shield competition just as fiercely contested.

Ray Laird represented Australia from Mackay in 1970, emulating his brother's achievement 15 years before.

When Dr Joe Baker's North Queensland side defeated Brisbane in 1971, North Queensland was again crowned state champions.

This side included Queensland representatives Joe Vasta (Ayr), Jim Adams (Cairns), Mick Peut (Cairns), John Kynaston (Mackay) and Henry Williamson (Innisfail).

Broncos CEO Bruno Cullen was another member of this side as was Tim Tassell, whose son Brad became a foundation member of the North Queensland Cowboys in 1995!

In 1975 a North Queesland selection side even defeated the Queensland team in a trial before the interstate series!

Two Central Queensland players – Rod Reddy and Steve Crear – made the 1977 Australian World Cup squad, but both had by then moved away, with Rod Reddy playing for St George and Steve Crear for Brisbane Wests.

Further recognition for the North occurred when Innisfail's Kerry Boustead made the 1978 Queensland and Australian sides from Innisfail.

His selection for Australia made him the third winger from Innisfail to represent Australia in 20 years.

Even after the Bulimba Cup competition ceased in 1972, the regular matches between North Queensland and southern sides were still keenly anticipated.

Nothing has changed in the modern era, with the clash between the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos a keenly anticipated event!

During the 1970s, more and more northern players moved to Brisbane and all Brisbane clubs boasted large contingents of North Queenslanders amongst their ranks.