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The forgotten players: Gold Coast Chargers

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Roar Guru
17th December, 2020
23

This is the 18th article in the series where we remember some of the forgotten players from your favourite club.

The Gold Coast Chargers joined the big time in 1988 along with the Broncos and the Knights and went through a few changes in identity along the way. Beginning as the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants, they soon became the Gold Coast Seagulls, then the Gold Coast Gladiators and finally the Gold Coast Chargers. The reasons behind those changes would make a great article in itself or at the very least an intriguing mini-series.

Despite the various names and in order to avoid confusion, references to the club in this article will be to the Chargers.

To say that the Chargers were unsuccessful would be an understatement. During their 11-year history they won three wooden spoons, finished second-last four times, third-last twice, fourth-last once and made the semi-finals just once, finishing seventh in a 12-team competition. Mercifully, the club exited after the 1998 season.

Many big-name players passed through the Chargers, including Wally Lewis, Martin Bella, Brent Todd and Wayne Bartrim, and it became a bit of a player’s graveyard and holiday destination for visiting Englishmen. 195 players turned out for the Chargers in all.

Here is a team of Chargers players you may have long forgotten.

1. Clinton Mohr
Mohr was a classy player who came out of the Brothers club in the Brisbane competition to join the Dragons for the 1988 and 1989 seasons. He then moved to the Chargers in 1990 and played 80 games for the club over the next five years. One of their better-performed players.

2. David Bouveng
Another Brisbane Brothers product, Bouveng made his first-grade debut with the Chargers in 1993 and played 22 games for the club over the next two seasons before relocating to the Cowboys when they entered the competition in 1995.

3. Shane Kenward
Kenward came from the Raiders to the Chargers in 1994 and soon established himself as a regular first-grader. He played 26 games for the club over the 1994 to 1996 seasons before heading to the Dragons in 1997.

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4. Mark Ross
Ross could really motor and was also a handy goal kicker. He played 124 games in his 12-year career and would have played many more but for some significant injuries along the way. He came from Souths to the newly-formed Gold Coast team in 1988 and played 49 first-grade games for the club over the next four seasons.

5. Marcus Bai
The PNG flyer played over 250 top-level games in his ten-year career, together with 12 Tests for his country. He joined the Chargers from the UK in 1997 and played 18 games for the club that year. He moved to Melbourne the following season where he became one of that club’s legends.

NRL generic

(Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

6. Andrew Dunemann
Dunemann was the ultimate journeyman, playing 271 first-grade games for seven different clubs in his 15-year career. The first of those was for the Chargers at the age of 16 in 1993. He went on to play a total of 20 games for the club over the next three seasons before moving to the Cowboys.

7. Ali Davys
A Cook Islands international, Davys made his first-grade debut for Gold Coast in 1992 and played a total of 30 games in the top grade over the 1992 and 1993 seasons. He then spent the rest of his career in the UK.

8. Keith Neller
Neller came to the Gold Coast from Halifax in the UK in 1988 and played a total of 46 games for the club over the next five seasons.

9. Robert Simpkins
Simpkins was a very accomplished performer and could play in almost any position. After successful stints with both Souths and Easts, he joined the Gold Coast in 1988 and played 72 games for the club over the next three years.

10. Robert Tocco
Tocco never really established himself in the top grade, playing 58 first-grade games in eight years. He made his first-grade debut for the Gold Coast in 1992 and played a total of 19 games for the club over the 1992 to 1994 seasons.

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11. Tony Durheim
A great Gold Coast clubman, Durheim played his entire first-grade career with the Chargers notching up 78 games for the club between 1989 and 1998, the fourth-most games for the club.

12. Scott Conley
Not the biggest forward to go around, but Conley certainly gave it 100 per cent. He came from Newcastle to the Chargers in 1998 after winning a premiership with the Knights in 1997 and played 17 games for the club that year before returning to the Knights in 1999.

13. Gary Divorty
Divorty had a long and unremarkable career in England, with the highlight being selected twice for Great Britain. His only experience in Australia was five games for the Gold Coast in 1990.

14. Graham Steadman
Steadman was a top-class English utility back who switched from rugby union to become one of the legends of rugby league in the UK. He played 436 top-level games in his 15-year career, scored 233 tries and nearly 2000 points. A Great Britain Test representative, he played five games for the Gold Coast in 1989 during the UK offseason.

15. Keith Gee
A useful forward, Gee was the brother of Andrew Gee and Mark Gee, who also made their mark in rugby league. He played 25 games for the Gold Coast across the 1990 and 1991 seasons.

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16. Colin Ward
Ward was a big front-rower who played nearly 200 games in the top grade in his 13-year career. Reliable, hard-working but often underrated, he played 12 games for the Gold Coast in 1995 before having a disagreement with coach John Harvey and then heading to greener pastures at St George.

17. Greg Whitbread
A very handy forward, Whitbread failed to establish himself in the top grade with Canterbury after making his first-grade debut for the club in 1986. He fared better at the Gold Coast after joining them in 1988, playing 52 first-grade games over the next four seasons.