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Opinion

History of Brisbane Rugby League: The clubs

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Roar Guru
21st August, 2020
26

As promised, I have rounded out our trip through the Brisbane Rugby League with a brief bio of every club to have competed in the competition.

Some will be very familiar and then there are others where I have struggled to find any information at all.

In each case you will get some basic facts, like colours and premierships. I will also list the their Test players (there will be heaps of errors here so sorry about that) and I will also provide the official Team of the Century for each major club that has released one. Where they haven’t, I’ve had a go at one myself, and then I’ve also listed some other notable players.

Southern Suburbs
Souths have been around right from the beginning in various guises and are still going strong today. A West End club playing in an all black strip won the premiership in 1913 and were runners up the following year. As the Carlton Lions the club won three premierships between 1920 and 1930. With the advent of district football Carlton became South Brisbane and a lack of dye meant the Carlton red and white was discarded in favour of the old West End all black strip, but now with a white V.

The club had a second strong period between 1945 and 1953 when greats like Bill Tyquin, Harold ‘Mick’ Crocker, Harry Bath and Jack Veivers formed a formidable forward pack and Len and Reg Pegg at the back dominated, winning four titles in nine years. Their final surge in the 1980s coincided with the arrival of players like Mal Meninga, Gary Belcher and Chris Phelan and they won titles in 1981 and 1985.

Commenced: 1909-1916 (South Brisbane or Woolloongabba), 1919-1932 (Carlton), 1933-1987 and beyond (Southern Suburbs)
Colours: Black and white (red and white or maroon and white as Carlton)
Emblem: Lions, Magpies
Nickname: The Blacks
Premierships: 1913 (West End), 1921, 1925, 1930 (Carlton), 1945, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1981, 1985

Test players: Mal Meninga (ARL Hall of Fame, ARL Team of the Century, Queensland Team of the Century), Vic Anderson, Nev Broadfoot, Len Pegg, Bill Tyquin, Mick Crocker, Frank Drake, Johnny Grice, Alan Thompson, Reg Kay, Mick Veivers, John Grant, Greg Veivers, Gary Belcher, Bob Lindner, Dave Brown, Brad Tessman.

Rothmans Medallists: 1953 – Jack Veivers (Q) (BRL Best and Fairest). 1970 – Graeme Atherton (Q). 1981 – Chris Phelan (Q). 1986 – Scott Tronc (Q).

Official Team of the Century: Garry Belcher (A), Mitch Brennan (Q), Mal Meninga (A), Bruce Astill (Q), John Grant (A), Ted Verrenkamp (Q), Norm McLean (1953 premiership halfback), Jack Veivers (Q), Alan Hornery (Q), Greg Veivers (A) (captain), Bill Tyquin (A), Harry Bath (Q) (ARL Hall of Fame), Harold ‘Mick’ Crocker (A). Reserves: Len Pegg (A), Mick Veivers (A), Chris Phelan (Q), Graeme Atherton (Q).

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Other notable players: Charlie ‘Chook’ Wilson (West End, captain 1913-1914) Thomas ‘Ducky’ Bath (Q), Ernie Silverton (B), Bill Kavanagh (Q), Eddie Costello (Q) (Carlton), John Holborow (Q), Gordon ‘Scotty’ MacRae (Q), Tom Tyquin (Q), Reg Pegg (Q), Bernie Johnson (B), Norm Carr (Q), Billy Johnstone, Bob Kellaway (Q), Brad Sully (B), Peter Jackson (A).

Coaches: Gordon ‘Scotty’ MacRae, Wayne Bennett.

Wayne Bennett

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Fortitude Valley
The Diehards were one of the original clubs and have been the most successful. They won multiple titles in every decade up to the 1960s on the back of pioneers like goal-kicking fullback Sam Hull and captain Teddy ‘Deadwood’ McGrath and through the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s with greats like tough centre Fred ‘Firpo’ Neumann, Australian halfback Arthur ‘Fatty’ Edwards and international hooker Jack Little. After a lean period in the 1960s the rise of centre Mick Retchless and five-eighth Marty Scanlan and the signing of halfback Ross Strudwick from St George made the Diehards the dominant force in the 1970s. Their final premiership in 1979 coincided with a young Wally Lewis bursting onto the scene.

Years: 1909-1912, 1914-1986, 1987 (as Seagulls-Diehards)
Colours: Royal blue
Emblem: Diehards
Premierships: 1909, 1911 (with Toombul), 1914, 1915, 1917-1919, 1924, 1931, 1933, 1937, 1941, 1944, 1946, 1955, 1957, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1979

Test players: Wally Lewis (Immortal, ARL Hall of Fame, ARL Team of the Century, Queensland Team of the Century), Duncan Hall (ARL Hall of Fame, ARL Team of the Century, Queensland Team of the Century), Ted McGrath, Vic Armbruster (ARL Hall of Fame), Arthur Edwards, Fred Neumann, Jack Little, Roy Westaway, Norm Pope, Edward Buckley, Chris Close, Jack Horrigan, Ken McCaffery, Mark Murray, Bryan Niebling, Ross Strudwick.

Rothmans Medallists: 1972 – Marty Scanlan (Q).

Greatest Team of clubmen (as picked by me): Norm Pope (A), Ken McCaffery (A), Arthur ‘Skinny’ Donovan (B) (captain), Fred ‘Firpo’ Neumann (A), Mick Retchless (Q), Marty Scanlan (Q), Ross Strudwick (A), Duncan Hall (A), Jack Little (A), Bryan Niebling (A), Roy Westaway (A), Ted ‘Deadwood’ McGrath (A), ‘The King’ Wally Lewis (A). Reserves: Jeff Gill, Des Mannion, Ross Threlfo, Hugh O’Doherty.

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Other notable players: Frank McCoomb, Barry Love, Sam Hull (Q), Charlie Fredericks, Sid Ashby, Ted Stanley (Q), Joe Haslet (Queensland seconds), Len Walker, Bill Dall, Paddy Mitchell (B), Eugene ‘Bow’ Robson (Q, Rest of Australia), Neville Smith (Q), Eddie Costello (Q), Danny O’Connor (Q), Bob Williamson, Len Kenny (Q), Mike Norris, Mick Mulgrew (B), Gerry Fitzpatrick (Q), John McCabe (Q), Alan Mills (Q), Ross Henrick (Q), Gavin Allen (Q), Grant Rix (Q), Les Kiss (Q).

Coaches: Fred ‘Firpo’ Neumann, Henry Holloway, Ross Strudwick.

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Northern Suburbs
Northern Suburbs teams were around in various guises from 1909, but became a permanent fixture from 1924, first as Past Grammars, and then as Norths. They won three premierships between 1934 and 1940 led by Australian centre Jack Reardon and their brilliant forward Ed ‘Babe’ Collins, but really became a force when Coach Bob Bax joined from Brothers. The club went on to win a record six premierships in a row and seven from eight in the early 1960s. This great team had class across the park, including captain Bill Pearson, the monster Lloyd Weier, half Jack Stapleton and ‘the Golden Greek’, prolific winger Fonda Metassa. After a lean decade the club won a famous title under Graeme Lowe and Kiwi captain Mark Graham in 1980.

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Years: 1909-1912, 1914 (North Brisbane), 1920, 1924-1932 (Past Grammars), 1933-1987 (Northern Suburbs)
Colours: Sky blue and yellow (the yellow was added in the 1950s)
Emblem: Devil
Nicknames: The Toombul Terrors, the Nundah Wonders
Premierships: 1927 (Past Grammars), 1934, 1938, 1940, 1959 – 1964, 1966, 1969, 1981

Test players: Vic Armbruster (ARL Hall of Fame), Neville Broadfoot (Past Grammars), Jack Reardon, Bob Hagan, Lloyd Weier, Elwyn Walters, Barry McTaggart, Paul McCabe, Johnny Brown, Nick Geiger, Greg Conescu, Mark Murray, Reg Kay, John Payne.

Rothmans Medallists: 1947 – Hugh Melrose (Q) (W Gunner McCook trophy for BRL Best and Fairest), 1969 – Johnny Brown. 1975 – Steve Calder. 1976 – Darryl Brohman (Q). 1979 – Neville Draper.

Official Team of the Century: Harry Bates (Q), Fonda Metassa (Q) (voted Norths’ greatest ever player in 2020), Jack Reardon (A), Henry Hegarty, Joe Kilroy (Q), Bill Pearson (Q) (captain), Jack Stapleton (Q), Vic Rudd (Q), Cameron Smith (A), Lloyd Weier (A), Trevor Gillmeister (A), Mark Graham (NZ) (ARL Hall of Fame), Edward ‘Babe’ Collins (A). Reserves: Mark Murray (A), Greg Inglis (A), Greg Conescu (A), Ian Massie (Q).

Cameron Smith

(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Other notable players: Steve Walters (ARL Hall of Fame), Colin Webster, Charlie Ryan, Ron Cooper (Q), Jim Hannam, Peter Lobegeiger (Q), Les Geeves (Q), John Bates (Q), Glen Harrison (Q), Bob Poulsen (B), Peter Hall (Q).

Coaches: Bob Bax, Graeme Lowe.

Eastern Suburbs
Joining in 1917 as Coorparoo, the Stones Corner Boys have an unfortunate record of being runners up 13 times to go with their seven premierships. The club’s best period was in the 1970s when Des Morris led a talented side including Wayne Lindenberg, Australian hooker John Lang, and winger Jeff Denman. John Lang returned from Sydney to coach the team to a final title in 1983.

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Years: 1910 (East Brisbane), 1917-1932 (Coorparoo), 1933-1987 (Eastern Suburbs)
Colours: Orange and black (earlier yellow and black)
Emblem: Tiger
Nickname: The Tigers, the Roos, the Stones Corner Boys, the Bengal Tigers
Premierships: 1923 (Coorparoo), 1947, 1950, 1972, 1977, 1978, 1983

Test players: Charlie Thorogood, Geoff Connell, John Lang, Rod Morris, Arthur Henderson, Bill Christie, Bob Hagan, Nev Broadfoot.

Rothmans Medallists: 1967-1968 Geoff Connell (Courier Mail Best and Fairest). 1973 – John Eales. 1974 – Jeff Fyfe (Q). 1977 – Alan Currie. 1977 – Wayne Lindenberg (Q) (Courier Mail Best and Fairest). 1983 – Trevor Paterson (Q). 1984 – Cavill Heugh (Q).

Official 75 Year Dream Team: Noel Morgan, Jeff Denman (Q), Bob Hagan (A), John Eales, John Schatz, Col McCartney, Wayne Lindenberg (Q), Jack Ryrie (Q), John Lang (A), Rod Morris (A), Des Morris (Q) (captain), Darren Smith (A), Joe Baker (Q).

Other notable players: Bill Thompson (Q), Harold Horder (A), Joe Vinson, Graham Crouch (Q) (Coorparoo), Charlie Martin (B), Tom Drysdale, Ron Stanton (Q), Ron McLennan (Q), Kev Stephens (Q), John Payne (Q), Jeff Fyfe, Paul Khan (Q), Greg Holben (Q), Brad Backer (Q), Steve Stacey (Q), Gavin Jones (Q), Gavin Payne, Larry Briggenshaw (Q).

Coach: Jack Ryrie, Nev Ryrie, John Lang.

Western Suburbs
(Merger of Toowong and old North Brisbane)
Wests joined the competition in 1915 and were an immediate success, winning the premiership in their second year and three in their first six years. Australian player, captain Norm Potter, led a ferocious forward pack. In the 1930s forwards Vic Rudd, Henry Denny, Tom Purtell and Roy Westaway brought another two premierships to the club. Between 1948 and 1954 the Mud and Bloods won three more titles with ARL Hall of Famer Duncan Hall and brilliant international centre Alex Watson to the fore. A final successful period occurred when the club hired coach Ron Raper and won back-to-back titles in 1975-76, with union convert Geoff Richardson the star, alongside Norm Carr, Greg Oliphant and ‘Slippery’ Greg McCarthy.

Years: 1914 (Toowong), 1915-1987
Colours: Red and black (originally supposed to be red and royal blue, but during WWI there was a shortage of blue dye)
Emblem: Panthers
Nickname: The Mud and Bloods (due to the red and black strip), the Paddo Boys
Nickname: As Toowong the team was called the Cemetery-Siders
Premierships: 1916, 1920, 1922, 1932, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1954, 1975, 1976

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Test players: Duncan Hall (ARL Hall of Fame, ARL Team of the Century, Queensland Team of the Century), Cec Aynsley (Queensland Team of the Century), Barry Muir (ARL Hall of Fame), Harry Fewin, Norm Potter, Alex Watson, Ken McCrohon, Warren Orr, Geoff Richardson, Bill Richards, Jim Bennett, Henry Denny, Ken Day, Wayne Stewart, Tony Currie, John Ribot, Paul Vautin, Greg Oliphant.

Rothmans Medallists: 1968 – Wayne Head. 1982 – Tony Currie.

Official Team of the Century: Tony Currie (A), Cec Aynsley (A), Col Weir (Q), Alex Watson (A), Wayne Stewart (A), Geoff Richardson (A), Barry Muir (A), Duncan Hall (A), Garry Prickett (Q), Norm Potter (A), Richie Twist (Q), Ken Day (A), Norm Carr (Q). Backs reserves: Ken McCrohon (A), Greg Oliphant (A), Rob Thompson (Q), Jack Maguire (Q). Reserve forwards: Tom Purtell (Q), Henry Denny (A), Ian Robson (Q), Bill Richards (A).

Other Notable players: Billy Dunne (Queensland seconds) Mick Scott, Ack Jones (B), Billy Wright, Col McAllister, Wally McDonald (Q), Viv ‘Mick’ Irwin (Q), John White (Q), Henry Williamson (Q), Bob Green, Arty Connell (Q), Greg McCarthy (Q), Steve Crear (Q).

Coaches: Ack Jones, Ron Raper.

Past Christian Brothers (previously Merthyr)
Since converting from rugby union in 1917 the Brethren have forged a reputation for extreme toughness. The fighting Irish were very successful from the 1930s and 1960s with their fierce packs dubbed the ‘Terrible Six’, including names such as Brian Davies, Peter ‘Pedro’ Gallagher, Dennis Manteit and Eddie Brosnan. Their greatest player however was likely ‘Gentleman’ Tom Gorman, the first Queenslander to captain a Kangaroo Tour, who captain-coached the club to their maiden premiership in 1926. After two decades out of the limelight, the Fighting Irish took out the final pre-Broncos title in 1987 with emerging stars such as Mark Coyne, Peter Gill and Tony Rae grabbing a final title on their way to Sydney clubs.

Years: 1917-1918 (as Merthyr), 1920-1929, 1931-1987
Colours: Navy and white stripes
Emblem: Leprechaun
Nickname: The Brethren, the Fighting Irish, the Shillelagh Swingers
Premierships: 1926, 1935, 1939, 1942, 1943, 1956, 1958, 1967, 1968, 1987

Test players: Tom Gorman (Queensland Team of the Century, ARL Hall of Fame), Brian Davies (Queensland Team of the Century, ARL Hall of Fame), Peter Gallagher (ARL Hall of Fame), Len Dawson, Eddie Brosnan, Les Heidke, Johnny Gleeson, Dennis Manteit, David Wright, Mark Thomas, Graham Quinn.

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Courier Mail Best and Fairest: 1954 – Brian O’Connor. 1955 – Brian Davies. 1970 – Graham Lena.

Greatest Team of Clubmen (as picked by me): Mick Shannon (Q), Len Dawson (A), Tom Gorman (A) (captain), Graham Quinn (A), Ian Dauth (Q), Johnny ‘Swivel Hips’ Gleeson (A), Mick McNamara, Peter Gallagher (A), Phil Coman (B), Brian Davies (A), Eddie Brosnan (A), Dennis Manteit (A), Brian O’Connor. Reserves: Peter Gill, Noel Cavanagh (Q), Trevor Bailey, Wayne Bennett (A).

Other notable Players: Thomas ‘Ducky’ Bath (Q) (Merthyr), Vince Hogan (Q), Bill Law (Q), Reg Stanton (Q), Jerry Allman (Q), Morrie Lyons (B), Frank Melit (B), Vince Hore, Barry O’Connor (Q), Barry Dowling (Q), Wayne Abdy (Q), Bob Cock (Q), Dan Stains (Q), Joe Kilroy (Q), Tony Rea, Robert Grogan, Mark Coyne (A).

Coaches: Bob Bax, Brian Davies, Ross Strudwick.

Wynnum-Manly
After a couple of false starts, Wynnum fully entered the competition in 1957. They produced some great players, most notably Indigenous international winger Lionel Morgan, but weren’t able to achieve a premiership until enticing Des Morris from Easts as captain-coach. Three premierships in five years ensued and that side is widely considered to be the best Brisbane club side of all time, including such greats as Wally Lewis, Gene Miles, Bob Lindner, Greg Dowling and Colin Scott.

Years: 1914, 1931-1932, 1951-1987
Colours: Green and red (originally green and gold)
Emblem: Seagull
Premierships: 1982, 1984, 1986

Australian representatives: Wally Lewis (ARL Hall of Fame, ARL Team of the Century, Queensland Team of the Century), Gene Miles (ARL Hall of Fame, Queensland Team of the Century), Bob Lindner (Queensland Team of the Century), Henry Bolewski, Lionel Morgan, John Wittenberg, John Rhodes, Lew Platz, Rod Morris, Greg Dowling, Colin Scott, Gary Coyne.

Wally Lewis brings the ball up for Queensland.

(Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

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Rothmans Medallists: 1959 – Steele Davis (Courier Mail Best and Fairest). 1971 – Len Brunner. 1985 – Ian French (Q). 1987 – Gene Miles.

Official Legends Team: Colin Scott (A), Keith Smith, Bill McDermott (Q), Gene Miles (A), Lionel Morgan (A), Wally Lewis (A) (captain), Gary Dobrich (Q), Trevor Niebling (Q), David Green, Greg Dowling (A), Ian French (Q), Lew Platz (A), Bob Lindner (A). Reserve backs: Bob Cook (Q), Brian Walsh (Q). Reserve forwards: Len Brunner (Q).

Other notable players: Keith ‘Bomber’ Brown (B), Terry Butler (Q), Warren Green, Brett French (Q), Brian Walsh, Peter Dawes.

Coaches: Des Morris, Wally Lewis.

Redcliffe
Redcliffe joined the competition in 1960 and despite participating in seven grand finals, and boasting such great players as Ken McCrohon, Ian ‘Bunny’ Pearce, Bryan Niebling, Wally-Fullerton Smith and Mark Murray, they only took home the ultimate prize once, in 1965. That year Henry Holloway captain-coached a young Arthur Beetson and Kevin Yow Yeh to a memorable title. The closest they came since was when Arthur Beetson returned as a veteran in 1981, only to see the club beaten by a try on the bell to Souths.

Years: 1960-1987
Colours: Red and white
Emblem: Dolphin
Premierships: 1965

Test players: Arthur Beetson (ARL Hall of Fame, ARL Team of the Century, Queensland Team of the Century), Greg Oliphant, Chris Close, Wally Fullerton-Smith, Mark Murray, Bryan Niebling, Greg Conescu, John Ribot.

Rothmans Medallists: 1973 – Peter Leis (Q) (Courier Mail Best and Fairest). 1978 – Ian ‘Bunny’ Pearce (Q). 1980 – Tony Obst (Q). 1986 – Bryan Niebling.

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Greatest Team of Clubmen (Picked by me): Ian ‘Bunny’ Pearce (Q), Kevin Yow Yeh, Peter Leis (Q), Ken McCrohon (A), Chris Close (A), Mark Murray (A), Greg Oliphant (A), Arthur Beetson (A), Greg Conescu (A), Henry Holloway (A) (captain), Bryan Niebling (A), Wally Fullerton-Smith (A), Tony Obst (Q). Reserves: Vic Tighe, Steve Bleakley, Trevor Benson (Q), Ian Thinee (Q).

Other notable Players: Bob Gehrke (A), Mitch Brennan (Q), Robin Orchard (NZ), Steve Cherry (B).

Coach: Henry Holloway.

Other clubs

Ipswich
A short-lived Ipswich side played in the early days of the competition and won the title in their first year, 1910. However that year the region commenced its own competition and the Ipswich moniker was saved for their representative side that competed in the Bulimba Cup. The Ipswich Jets were formed in 1982 to take part in the Queensland State League, played in the BRL from 1986 (finishing fourth and debuting Alfie Langer and the Walters boys) and are part of the current Intrust Super Cup, winning the competition in 2015 and also taking out the State Challenge.

Years: 1910-1911, 1986-1987
Colours: Myrtle green (1910), green and white (1986)
Emblem: Jets
Team song: “We are sons of miners”
Premierships: 1910

Test players: Allan Langer (ARL Hall of Fame, Queensland Team of the Century), Kerrod Walters, Kevin Walters.

Other notable players: Greg Quinn (Q), Bob Kellaway (Q), Gary Coyne (Q).

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Coaches (to 1987): Tommy Raudonikis.

Tommy Raudonikis

(Photo by Sean Garnsworthy/Getty Images)

Toombul
Toombul were an original junior team that came to rugby league in 1908. They only played for five seasons but were reasonably successful, winning the unofficial title in 1908 after a series of exhibition matches, losing the 1910 grand final to Ipswich. In 1911 the club combined with Valleys to win the premiership, before returning to junior competition two years later.

Years: 1908-1912
Colours: Red, white and blue
Premierships: 1908 (unofficial), 1911 (with Valleys)

Notable players
Australian representative George Duffin captained the club in 1909. He was killed in action in World War I.

Hooker A Dutton was player of the match in the 1908 unofficial grand final and went on to claim a second title with Valleys-Toombul in 1911.

H Powell was the only other player to represent the club in all three of their grand finals.

Other famous Valleys players represented the merged club in their premiership year, including Frank McCoomb, Ken McKay and Charlie Holzberger.

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The famous Newtown Team of the Century member and Australian representative Bill Farnsworth also played for the club at some point before leaving Australia to play for Oldham in England.

Ipswich B
With the local Ipswich competition struggling to field a sufficient number of teams, the players combined to form Ipswich and Ipswich B in 1911 and entered the Brisbane competition. Ipswich B were good enough to make the grand final, going down to Valleys-Toombul. The club never reappeared as the local Ipswich competition grew and successfully stood alone.

Years: 1911
Colours: Maroon and white.

South Brisbane United
South Brisbane was a short-lived second offshoot from the South Brisbane rugby union club. They only played in the BRL for one year and did not reach the grand final. In fact they may not have lasted the full season.

Years: 1911

Natives
For such a successful side I can find little information about the historical Natives rugby league club (as opposed to the unrelated Brisbane Natives club currently running around in the local lower divisions). In their two years in the competition they won the competition on debut over South Brisbane and were runners up the following year to West End. They appeared to have worn a similar strip to South Sydney.

Years: 1912-1913
Colours: Red and myrtle green
Premierships: 1912

Notable players
Queensland representative Dan ‘Dobbin’ Hickey played for Natives in their 1912 premiership year, moved to Toowong in 1914 and then to Wests in 1915. He was the latter club’s captain when they won the 1916 premiership, scoring a hat trick in the semi-final that year.

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Paddy Fahey played a season for Natives when they won the title in 1912. In 1914 he moved to Valleys and won another two premierships in a row with the Diehards.

Centre Billy Lynch was the 1912 premiership captain.

Kurilpa
Again, there is very little information on this club that lasted one season and did not make the semi-finals. However, they had some notable players. The club was likely situated near West End as the name is used for various landmarks in the area, most notably the Kurilpa Bridge. In the local Indigenous language Kurilpa means place of water rats.

Years: 1912

Notable players: Australian representatives Bill Farnsworth (who represented NSW and Australia eight times each), Charlie Woodhead and Bob Nicholson (picked for the 1911 Kangaroo tour but had to withdraw).

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Railways
I’ve got nothing on this one. They were probably the Railways team from Ipswich but I say that with no great confidence. If they were then in later years in the local competition, Ipswich Railways included such legends in their ranks as Dud Beattie and Noel Kelly.

Years: 1913, 1918-1920

Notable players
Harry Heidke. Toured with the Kangaroos but did not play a Test. Played one game at halfback for the Kangaroos in 1912 against NZ and was sent off. He made 12 appearances for Queensland.

Billy Brereton (Q) – captained Queensland to a 19-all draw against NSWRL premiers South Sydney in 1918 – and Jack Hourigan (Q).

Bulimba
Most players for this club seem to have moved to or from Valleys, so there is a connection there somehow. This was a junior club who came up to the seniors twice before heading back down. The 1915 team made the finals and included such Valleys players as Barry Love, Harry Stevens, J Tate and R Atkins, who went on to win multiple premierships with the Diehards.

Years: 1915, 1920

Wattles
I can’t find much about the wattles. They joined in 1916, did not trouble the scorers much and left three games into the 1917 season after struggling for numbers.

Years: 1916-1917

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West End (Ipswich)
This 106-year-old club still plays in Ipswich although they were in poor financial condition in 2019. They had one year in the Brisbane Rugby League when the Ipswich competition was suspended during World War I.

Years: 1916
Colours: Blue, red and white
Emblem: Bulldog

Generic vintage rugby league or rugby union ball

(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Ipswich Starlights
Another Ipswich team during WWI looking for a competition. Starlights had commenced in 1910 in the first Ipswich competition, winning the very first title, 7-5 against Belvederes. In 1913 they were so far ahead in the Ipswich competition that it was called off before the end of the season.

Starlights also later played in the QRL’s breakaway competition in 1929.

Years: 1916, 1929.

Notable players in their BRL years include Cecil Aynsley, ‘the Red Flyer’, (Australia, Queensland Team of the Century), Lex Campbell (Q) and L Christopherson (Ipswich reps).

Notable players to play for Starlights in the Ipswich competition included the legends Duncan Thompson and Jimmy Craig and Australian wingers Bill Paten and Doug McLean Jnr (a dual international who played ten times for the Wallabies).

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Another Starlights notable was Australian representative forward Charles Scott who was killed in action in 1917 in Belgium after earning the Military Cross.

Westerns
Westerns were the premier junior club in 1916 and were invited into the seniors the following year. They made the finals during their short stint in the competition and they had some notable players, including internationals Jim Bennett, Tom Sweeney and Nev Broadfoot.

Years: 1917-1918

Ipswich Past Brothers (QRL) and Tivoli (QRL)
These two clubs were part of the QRL’s breakaway competition during their 1929 split with the BRL. Brothers won the 1929 QRL title with a side boasting three Queensland reps, in an era when Queensland were just finishing a period as the premier rugby league state. For example, their star forward Perce Parcell played 11 times for Queensland during the 1920s and never lost.

Brothers returned to the Ipswich league and still thrive. In more recent times have won local 12 titles since 1980. They are the reigning premiers from 2019.

Brothers notable players: Eric Fraunfelder (fullback for the 1924 Ashes series and 25 games for Queensland), Perce Parcell (Q), Frank Doonar (Q 31 games), Malcolm Biggs (Q), W Rollo, W Wilkins, J Maloney, R Doyle, T Quirk, R Falvey (Ipswich reps), J Wilson (went to England and played in the Dominion XIII).

Tivoli had less success but still boasted three Australian players. In the Ipswich senior competition the Tivoli Tigers first arrived in 1928 and folded in 1953.

Tivoli notable players: Bill Paten, Jim Bennett (Australia), Hector Gee (three Tests for Australia and 350 games for Wigan) R Thornton (played for Rest of Australia against the Kangaroos, Ipswich rep), Porter, D Kamp, M Fraser (Ipswich reps).

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In the Ipswich competition Tivoli was also home to the ARL Hall of Fame player Dan Dempsey and 1959 Kangaroo tourist Gary Parcell.

University
University had a wildly unsuccessful stint in rugby league after moving from the defunct Brisbane rugby union competition, until quite suddenly they secured back-to-back premierships in 1928-1929. Half a dozen players represented the club in both grand finals, including centre Jim Broadfoot, who represented Queensland including in a victory over NSW in 1931, centre George Lockie, who represented Queensland in the 1932 and 1933 interstate series, and fullback Bernie Brown, who represented Brisbane in the Bulimba Cup on 11 occasions between 1926 and 1928.

Once rugby union returned in strength to Brisbane, the Students returned to their roots.

Years: 1920-1933
Nickname: The Students, the Undergrads, Varsity
Colours: Maroon
Premierships: 1928, 1929

South Coast
A short-lived and unsuccessful first attempt to include a team from the Gold Coast in the Brisbane competition. The team copped some frightful thrashings in its short existence.

Years: 1952-1953.