Round 1 -29/3/81

Souths 32 d Wynnum Manly 8 (Davies Park)

Colin Scott was Wynnum Manly’s best on ground

At Davies Park, powerhouse centre Mal Meninga was rampant in the Magpies 32-8 demolition of Wynnum-Manly, when he scored three tries and four goals.  Souths played near faultless football in the match, with a superb forward pack display laying the foundations for their classy backline to tear the Seagulls apart. 

So effective was their up-the-middle charges by Geoff Naylor, Adrian Higgs and Chris Phelan, that the backs in Meninga (3), Bruce Astill (2), and wingers Gary Thompson and Mick Reardon simply completed no more than a training run in scoring seven of Souths’ eight tries.  Seagulls skipper Des Morris led his side admirably as their best player, topping the tackle count and regularly putting support runners through gaps. 

The baysiders’ two young centres Gene Miles and Neil Moy tried in vain to contain Meninga and Astill. The crucial period of the match came where Souths scored five tries in the eight minutes either side of the half time break.  Phelan for Souths, Moy and Shaun Johnson were the other tryscorers.

Scorers: Souths 32 (M.Meninga 3, B.Astill 2, G.Thompson, M.Reardon, C.Phelan tries, Meninga 4 goals) defeated Wynnum Manly 8 (N. Moy, S.Johnson tries, C.Scott goal).


Round 2 – 5/4/81

Norths 15 d Wynnum Manly 13 (Kougari Oval)

Harry Minz scored a first half try for Wynnum in their loss to Norths

At Kougari Oval, a 12-man Norths managed to tough it out against all odds, when they eeked out a 15-13 win against Wynnum-Manly, overcoming the send-off of skipper Mark Murray after only 20 minutes, a 13-6 deficit at halftime, and being handed a 24-12 caning in the penalties by referee Doug Manson. 

Devils coach Graham Lowe was pleased with the win, which saw fullback ‘Smokin’ Joe Kilroy and Australian baseball representative Peter Dutton, return to their brilliant best. However, he was scathing in Manson’s handling of the match, saying four of his players suffered head injuries from high tackles which went unpunished. Dutton’s try in the 53rd minute proved the turning point of the match against a tiring Seagulls outfit. 

Dominating the first half, Wynnum-Manly put on three tries, scored by centre Gene Miles, half Terry Saunders and winger Harry Minz. However, Colin Scott’s boot had its radar off-line when he only landed two goals from eight attempts. Captain-coach Des Morris led the Baysiders superbly from the front, but admitted after the match that the Seagulls just didn’t function as a team properly. Gary Warnock and Brian Dunn both scored for the Devils during the first half, before Dutton’s try and two penalties from Warnock snuck Norths home.

Scorers: Norths 15 (G.Warnock, B.Dunn, P.Dutton tries, G.Warnock 3 goals) defeated Wynnum Manly 13 (G.Miles, T.Saunders, H.Minz tries, C.Scott 2 goals)


Round 3 – 12/4/81

Wynnum Manly 23 d Wests 7 (Purtell Park)

Shaun Johnson looking to offload against Wests

Wynnum-Manly cantered home 23-7 against a disappointing Wests at Purtell Park. Scoring five tries to one and dominating every aspect of play, coach Des Morris was not getting carried away with the win. 

Former state fullback Colin Scott, with a try and four goals, was one of the Seagulls best, with Tony Kambouris, Terry Saunders and Shaun Johnson also outstanding.  To Wests credit, they battled hard during the second half to hold the baysiders, given they trailed 18-2 just after the break.  Fullback Tony Currie and prop Brett Ferguson were the best performers for the Panthers.

This was Wynnum Manly’s first win for the season and Coach Des Morris was happy to get on the board.

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 23 (T.Saunders, C.Scott, D.Morris, D.Green, H.Minz tries, C.Scott 4 goals) defeated Wests 7 (R.Bowman try, P.McDonald 2 goals).


Round 4 – 20/4/81

Wynnum Manly 22 d F/Valley 11 (Lang Park)

Terry Saunders came out on top against the experience of Ross Strudwick

In a stop-start Monday game at Lang Park, Wynnum-Manly scored seventeen unanswered points in a shock second half to down Valleys 22-11.  The match highlight was the battle of the halfbacks, Ross Strudwick and Terry Saunders – which was basically a master vs apprentice challenge – with the apprentice coming out on top.  Saunders, a signing from the border town of Texas, was instrumental in the Seagulls victory, and showed talents befitting of a seasoned representative player. 

Centre Vic Wieland, winger Marc Svenson and young backrower Bryan Niebling all scored tries for the Diehards in a dominant and apparently match-winning first half to lead 11-5. Baysiders’ lock Ian French, returning from a broken arm, scored their only first half try.  However, an indifferent refereeing performance from Jim Ward, coupled with too many silly indiscretions at the ruck, saw the Diehards hammered 22-7 in the penalty count, 13 of which came in the second stanza. 

With all the momentum swinging their way, the Seagulls forwards of Ray Duncan, Greg Dowling and Des Morris overpowered the Diehards pack, with their backline pouncing to race in three superb tries to French, and centres Neil Moy and Gene Miles.  The penalty-riddled match was not without incident, with both skippers Strudwick and Morris spending time in the sin-bin for off-the-ball incidents in backplay, both of which would surely have resulted in dismissal with a different referee. 

Fullback Colin Scott, winger Harry Minz and Dowling were also among the Seagulls best.  Lock Wally Lewis and Niebling were among Valleys’ best, with Niebling’s 60-metre try the best of the season thus far. 

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 22 (I.French 2, G.Miles, N.Moy tries, C.Scott 5 goals) defeated Valleys 11 (V.Wieland, M.Svenson, B.Niebling tries, M.Neill goal).


Round 5 – 26/4/81

Wynnum Manly 10 d Easts 7 (Lang Park)

Tony Kambouris ran off a beautiful Des Morris short pass to score Wynnum Manly’s first try

An ironic twist saw ex-Townsville Souths trio Colin Scott, Gene Miles and Tony Kambouris score all the Seagulls points in their pressure match 10-7 win over Easts at Lang Park.  As if the reunion of these three north Queenslanders wasn’t enough, all three were set to join the Tigers in 1980, before Miles and Kambouris elected to stay up north.

Easts were disappointing throughout the match, fullback and skipper Greg Holben doing everything he could to spark his flat Tigers side.  It took 33 minutes before Kambouris scored the first points, when he dived over off a short Des Morris pass, following a scrum win near the line. 

A penalty to Tigers prop reduced the lead to 5-2 just after the break, before the try of the match.  Solid forward rucking by the bayside trio of Greg Dowling, Ian French and David Green, eventually wore down the Tigers, before hardworking prop Ray Duncan popped a neat pass to a flying Scott. Scott found some open space over halfway, before turning the ball inside to centre Miles who sprinted 40 metres to score. Easts lock Zac Sarra then put Holben under the posts for a try, but the Seagulls defence tackled gamely in the last 15 minutes for a great victory.

Scorers : Wynnum Manly 10 (T.Kambouris, G.Miles tries, C.Scott 2 goals) defeated Easts 7 (G.Holben try, S.McNally 2 goals).


Round 6 – 3/5/81

Wynnum Manly 20 d Redcliffe 16 (Lang Park)

Terry Saunders was again outstanding for Wynnum Manly, seen here slipping a ball away to Neil Moy

In what was the best match to date of the 1981 season at Lang Park, a three-try spurt in one five-minute period enabled Wynnum-Manly to topple competition leaders Redcliffe 20-16.  Seagulls halves Terry Saunders and Tony Kambouris were simply outstanding in the match which appeared would become a runaway thrashing, before Redcliffe launched a major second half fightback. 

Fullback Colin Scott, captain-coach Des Morris and Kambouris all scored spectacular individual tries in the 11th, 13th and 15th minutes respectively, all being converted by Scott for an early 15-0 lead.  Dolphins lock Chris Holmes and backrower Tony Obst were also in sparkling form, and both were rewarded with good tries. 

When Steve Cherry finally crossed in the 55th minute, Redcliffe were right back in the match trailing just 15-13. However, half Saunders put the result beyond doubt when he split the Dolphins defence from the scrumbase and weaved 45 metres to score.  When Holmes scored his second try with eight minutes remaining, he gave Redcliffe supporters a glimmer of hope, but the Seagulls defence held tight for a memorable victory.

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 20 (C.Scott, T.Kambouris, T.Saunders, D.Morris tries, Scott 4 goals) defeated Redcliffe 16 (C.Holmes 2, T.Obst, S.Cherry tries, I.Pearce 2 goals).


Round 7 – 10/5/81

Wynnum Manly 28 d P/Brothers 13 (Kougari Oval)

Former State second rower Greg Quinn takes a heavy hit from Terry Saunders

Bolters of the 1981 season Wynnum-Manly, secured a place in the Woolies Shield final against Redcliffe, with an impressive 28-13 hammering of Brothers in front of a vocal and near-record crowd at Kougari Oval.  Putting their fifth consecutive win together, captain-coach Des Morris really had the Seagulls firing, with a host of spectacular tries and near flawless ball control. 

Star performers for the Baysiders were David Green who won scrums 18-10 against rep hooker Jay Hoffman, fullback Colin Scott with a try and five goals, powerhouse prop Ray ‘the Tank’ Duncan, and man-of-the-match second-rower Shaun Johnston who got through plenty of attack and defence.  The Seagulls simply carved up the Fighting Irish, with halves Tony Kambouris and Terry Saunders running amok against Robert Grogan and Craig McAlpine. 

Brothers trailed 11-5 at the break, but a sizzling Bligh Davidson try put them temporarily  back in the contest.  However, when the Seagulls’ prop Ray Duncan bumped and bustled his way 20 metres through no less than five defenders to score a typically rugged try, the victory was sealed.  Archie Moore (Brothers) and replacement Brian Walsh (W/Manly), both crossed for late tries, but the result wasn’t affected.

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 28 (H.Minz, C.Scott, S.Johnson, R.Duncan, T.Saunders, B.Walsh tries, Scott 5 goals) defeated Brothers 13 (T.Gibson, B.Davidson, A.Moore tries, C.McAlpine 2 goals).


Round 8 – 16/5/81

Souths 31 d Wynnum Manly 5 (Kougari Oval)

Wynnum Manly’s David Green makes a charge against Souths

With four players out in the City squad, Wynnum-Manly’s hopes of making it six wins on the trot were dashed as Souths destroyed the Seagulls 31-5 at Kougari Oval.  Without Des Morris, Gene Miles, Greg Dowling and Terry Saunders, the wheels completely fell off the Baysiders’ recent performances as the Magpies handed out a seven-tries-to-one football lesson. 

The loss of Mal Meninga and Chris Phelan also to the City squad, appeared no hindrance to the potency of Souths’ attack. Centre and skipper Bruce Astill scored three magnificent tries, and Phelan’s replacement Mal Connell starred with penetrating bursts through the Seagulls defence. Tireless prop Ray Duncan was the home side’s best performer, but he had little support physically from his fellow forwards. 

Wingers Gary Thompson and Mick Reardon scored early tries for Souths, but Astill’s 75-metre intercept set the crowd alight, also putting the Magpies ahead 15-0 at halftime.  Ash Lumby, enjoying his switch to lock, scored soon after the break when he backed up a break by half John Salter.  Reardon then scored a second try in the corner eight minutes later, followed by Astill’s second, and the score began looking embarrassing at 26-0.  Centre Neil Moy scored the Seagulls only try, after great play between props Duncan and Mark Zillman. 

Bruce Astill stole the show late in the match, when he splintered the defence in a great solo run to cross for his third. Five-eighth Trevor Wendt showed another string to his bow, taking on the goalkicking duties and capably landing five goals from seven attempts.

Scorers: Souths 31 (B.Astill 3, M.Reardon 2, G.Thompson, A.Lumby tries, T.Wendt 5 goals) defeated Wynnum Manly 5 (N.Moy try, C.Scott goal).


Round 9 – 31/5/81

Wynnum Manly 16 d Norths 15 (Bishop Park)

Wynnum Manly hooker David Green was sent to the sin bin for 10 mins

In a rip-roaring affair at Bishop Park, Wynnum-Manly prevailed 16-15 over Norths to take a vital two competition points.  The match had something for everyone, with sensational tries, an indifferent refereeing performance, two players sent to the sin-bin, and a topsy-turvy scoreline which kept everyone guessing until the end. 

When Neil Moy converted Ian French’s second try in the 60th minute, no one at Bishop Park had any idea that both sides would knock themselves senseless for the last 20 minutes without another point being scored.  An early Norths lead from a Gary Warnock penalty goal was quickly erased by Terry Butler’s try only two minutes later. When Ian French crossed for his first try, the Seagulls slipped away 8-2 after 16 minutes.  Then Brian Dunn capped off some good attack with a robust try in the 27th minute. 

Five minutes after the resumption, the Devils hit the lead again from a John Alroe try and subsequent Warnock conversion, before the Baysiders hit back through Moy’s try to take a one-point lead.  It was here that referee Harold Herron in his second first grade match, sin-binned both hookers – Greg Conescu and David Green – for continual breaches of scrum rules. He awarded 15 penalties each way throughout the match in a performance he would otherwise probably like to forget. 

Makeshift halfback Mark Murray then slipped over from close range, and Warnock’s kick left Norths ahead by four.  However, Wynnum-Manly hit straight back through French to take a lead they would not again relinquish.  French for the Seagulls and lock Paul Bartier credited with 43 tackles for Devils, were the two outstanding players of the match.

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 16 (I.French 2, T.Butler, N.Moy tries, Moy 2 goals) defeated Norths 15 (J.Alroe, B.Dunn, M.Murray tries, G.Warnock 3 goals).


Round 10 – 7/6/81

Wynnum Manly 35 d Wests 10 (Lang Park)

Wynnum Manly’s lock forward Ian French had another strong game with two tries and topping the tackle count

The Lang Park match of the weekend between Wynnum-Manly and Wests produced a most amazing result.  Not so much the final scoreline of 35-10 to the Seagulls, but the manner in which they did it to move to an equal share of the competition lead.  In a Jeckyll and Hyde performance, the Panthers actually led 10-7 at halftime, before the Baysiders piled on 28 unanswered points while running into a stiff northerly breeze.

There were plenty of outstanding performances for the Seagulls, but none more so than fullback Colin Scott who played faultlessly, and scored 17 points from a try and seven goals from eight attempts.  Wests did not play badly as the score might indicate, and led at the break after tries by prop Bill Whitmore and half Russell Houston.  Ian French scored the Seagulls only try of the half. 

In the space of 21 minutes in the second half, the red-and-greens enjoyed Gary Seaton, Scott, Neil Moy, French, and Harry Minz scoring tries as they turned on champagne football and raced to a 30-10 lead.  The Panthers battled hard to stop the Seagulls tide, with top efforts by Whitmore, hooker Mark Crear and skipper Norm Carr.  The Seagulls halves of Terry Saunders and Tony Kambouris played brilliantly, as both showed superb all-round skills. 

Captain Des Morris was again the rock that the forward pack built around, making plenty of gains up the middle, and standing in many tackles for some great offloads.  Referee Harry Dearness also had a great game, allowing the match to flow. His job was made that much easier by the spirit in which the match was played, with not one caution having to be issued.  After the match, Panthers coach John Lohman said, “Our defence may have been a bit loose, but how do you stop that sort of attack.  They would have beaten any side in the competition.”

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 35 (I.French 2, C.Scott, N.Moy, H.Minz, T.Saunders, G.Seaton tries, Scott 7 goals) defeated Wests 10 (R.Houston, B.Whitmore tries, J.Vanderham 2 goals).


Round 11 – 14/6/81

Wynnum Manly 25 d F/Valley 11 (Lang Park)

Neil Moy on the burst for Wynnum Manly

A twelve-man Valleys outfit came close to pulling off the upset of the season, before Wynnum-Manly clicked into top gear to register a worthy 25-11 win at Lang Park. The Diehards did it tough, after referee Eddie Ward had sent off prop Lindsay Gill for an incident in backplay in the 28th minute. 

At that stage, the Seagulls led 7-3 after centre Neil Moy had scored in the 2nd minute after skipper Des Morris sent him on a swerving 55-metre dash to the line, while Valleys hit back through prop Mick Hickey in the 13th minute after five-eighth Tony Plater worked a great blindside move. Just before halftime though, Seagulls second-rower Gary Seaton barged over under the posts for a handy 12-3 lead. 

Soon after the resumption, Valleys again hit back with a great try, when lock Dennis Ride broke the defence and offloaded to a flying Arch McSween looming up in support on the outside to crash over from close range. At 12-8, the match remained in the balance, until the 62nd minute when a glut of possession saw the Baysiders camped well in Diehards territory. 

Yet another Seagulls scrum win near the line saw half Terry Saunders scamper through some loose defence to touch down for a crucial try – Diehards captain-coach Ross Strudwick left spread-eagled face-down on the ground in the knowledge his side’s chances of winning were now all but gone. The floodgates opened after this, with centre Brian Walsh scoring two sizzling tries to blow the score out to 25-8. A late Mick Neill try for Valleys was only mathematical. Seaton, Moy and Tony Kambouris were Wynnum’s best, while Strudwick, Tony Plater and Ride went well for Valleys.

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 25 (B.Walsh 2, N.Moy, T.Saunders, G.Seaton tries, N.Moy 5 goals) defeated Valleys 11 (M.Hickey, A.McSween, M.Neill tries, Neill goal).


Round 12 – 21/6/81

Easts 40 d Wynnum Manly 21 (Lang Park)

Colin Scott breaks the line with Ray Duncan in support

In an absorbing match at Lang Park, Easts rattled up 22 unanswered points in the final 12 minutes to douse Wynnum-Manly 40-21. The Seagulls were actually the better side for the first 60 minutes, before a facial injury to skipper Des Morris saw him leave the field, and the Baysiders’ winning hopes in tatters. 

Wynnum-Manly held the Tigers for the next eight minutes, before half Larry Brigginshaw scored his second try, opening the floodgates. Although only their second loss in nine outings, the Seagulls were still yet to prove they could win without Morris, who was also absent during their previous loss to Souths some weeks earlier. 

Tigers prop Shane McNally and hooker Jeff Ashe were instrumental in the victory, both rewarded for their efforts with tries, while McNally also landed eight goals from nine attempts. Morris had been having a big influence on the match before his departure, with great leadership and superb passing putting supports through gaps, and he was probably the Seagulls best. The halves battle between Larry Brigginshaw and Terry Saunders was also a highlight. Tryscorers were Brigginshaw and lock Zac Sarra (2 each), Rowan Brennan, Mark Payne, McNally and Ashe for Easts, while Terry Saunders (2), Neil Moy, and Gary Seaton scored for the Seagulls. Colin Scott also kicked three goals.

Scorers: Easts 40 (L.Brigginshaw 2, Z.Sarra 2, R.Brennan, M.Payne, S.McNally J.Ashe tries, McNally 8 goals) defeated Wynnum Manly 21 (T.Saunders 2, T.Butler, N.Moy, G.Seaton tries, C.Scott 3 goals).


Round 13 – 28/6/81

Wynnum Manly 17 d Redcliffe 10 (Lang Park – Woolies Trophy Final)

Ray Duncan capped off an outstanding game with the match winning try

Wynnum-Manly did it the hard way, when they held out a determined Redcliffe 17-10 in the Woolies Trophy Final at Lang Park. Having both hooker Bob Jones and prop-forward Terry Webb dismissed for high tackles, the 11-man Dolphins side fired on all cylinders and nearly pulled off the upset of the century. However, it wasn’t to be and the Seagulls took home their first piece of silverware since 1959. 

Two ten-minute spurts at the start of each half was enough to get Wynnum-Manly over the line, but it was most unconvincing. Winger Terry Butler swooped on a loose ball to touch down in only the third minute for the Baysiders, before Gene Miles put second-rower Wayne Bullock over after some good lead-up work only 8 minutes later. A Steve Cherry try converted by Steve Bax was the only other score of the half. 

But importantly, Jones’ dismissal came after 30 minutes. Seagulls half Terry Saunders then cleverly scooted from the base of a scrum soon after the break, before David Green burrowed his way over for a soft try following a quick tap only three minutes later. When Webb was sent in the 58th minute, all would normally seem lost for Redcliffe. However, an inspired 11-man Dolphins side lifted a gear, and began to dominate most facets of play. They were rewarded when Steve Bax sliced through to score, and reduce the deficit to two points. 

The match remained on a knife-edge until burly Seagulls prop Ray Duncan barged over from short range to put the game beyond doubt. Arthur Beetson was the best player on the ground, giving it all and leading his struggling Dolphins from the front, and his massive hit on Ray Duncan during the second half will no doubt go down as one of the best of the year.

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 17 (T.Butler, T.Saunders, D.Green, W.Bullock, R.Duncan tries, Scott goal) defeated Redcliffe 10 (S.Bax, S.Cherry tries, Bax 2 goals).


Round 14 -5/7/81

Wynnum Manly 25 d P/Brothers 20 (Lang Park)

Wayne Bullock looking for a support player

Playing their fifth televised Lang Park match in a row, Wynnum-Manly triumphed 25-20 over Brothers in a fluctuating affair, but not before the Brethren sent a major scare through the Seagulls with an amazing turnaround of fortunes. Baysiders’ half Terry Saunders, scoring his 11th try of the season, and fullback Colin Scott with a masterful display and another five goals from six attempts, almost single-handedly were left to turn around their Wynnum-Manly side which had thrown away an early 13-0 lead to find themselves trailing 20-13 with 15 minutes to go. 

After Scott, centre Gene Miles and five-eighth Tony Kambouris all scored early, it appeared the Seagulls were set for a crushing win. But Brothers, led by top rate performances by prop Bob Kellaway, pivot Peter Lehman and centre Shane McErlean flipped the match on its head. Greg Quinn scored a relatively soft try to reduce the deficit before the break. But in one magnificent ten-minute period, Greg Smith, Bligh Davidson and Phil Hortz all crossed for the Fighting Irish to take a commanding lead. 

The turning point came when Des Morris, who didn’t play his usual starring role, served a perfect pass to centre Neil Moy. Moy swerved then sped into open space and drew the cover defence before offloading to a flying Terry Butler, who stepped inside Brothers’ fullback Len Chemello to score the try of the match. Saunders’ try then put the Seagulls back in the lead, before the boot of Scott sealed the win with two late penalty goals. The victory puts Wynnum-Manly into outright lead on the competition table, and into their first Peter Scott Memorial Trophy final match to be played against Redcliffe.

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 25 (C.Scott, T.Butler, G.Miles, T.Kambouris, T.Saunders tries, Scott 5 goals) defeated Brothers 20 (B.Davidson, G.Smith, G.Quinn, P.Hortz tries, L.Chemello 4 goals).


Round 15 – 12/07/81

Wynnum Manly 18 defeated Souths 12 (Lang Park)

Wynnum Manly Winger John Callus spent 10 mins in the sin bin after an all in brawl 

Wynnum-Manly halfback Terry Saunders provided all the spark for the Seagulls’ attack in their rugged 18-12 decision over Souths at Lang Park. The Baysiders were marginally better in all areas than their feathered foes, but Saunders’ overall brilliance in attack sealed the Magpies’ fate. Saunders scored arguably the try of the season midway through the second half, a signature individual effort which provided the Seagulls a match-winning lead. Saunders also took the lead for the try-scoring for 1981 with this being his 12th. 

Trailing early, after Souths centre Bruce Astill scored from an intercept, the Seagulls took on the Magpies up the middle in a rough-house affair. It wasn’t surprising to eventually see emotions overflow in a massive all-in-brawl that appeared to go on for an eternity. Eventually, referee Stan Scamp regained control, with Souths half Bill Argeros and Wynnum-Manly winger John Callus spending time in the sin bin for their part in the fracas. Terry Butler and David Green both crossed as the Seagulls hit back in the first half with their attack beginning to take substantial territorial advantage. 

A Trevor Wendt goal reduced the deficit to a point soon after the break, before Saunders’ try. When fullback Colin Scott chimed perfectly into a backline move to score with only eight minutes remaining, the Magpies were a spent force trailing 18-7. A late Bruce Astill try was only academic, as the Seagulls held on for the win and maintained their premiership lead on the table. 

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 18 (T.Butler, D.Green, T.Saunders, C.Scott tries; N.Moy 3 goals) defeated Souths 12 (B.Astill 2 tries; T.Wendt 3 goals).


Round 16 – 19/07/81

Wynnum Manly 31 defeated Norths 13 (Kougari Oval)

Ray Duncan lead from the front at Kougari Oval

Three tries by big centre Gene Miles spearheaded an emphatic 31-13 win for Wynnum-Manly over Norths at Kougari Oval. The match had been tight, and was at times, played at break-neck speed, until Miles sliced through to score his third try in the 65th minute.  In the closing stages, the Devils were no match for the Seagulls as the baysiders ran in two more tries to blow the match apart. 

The first half was a rugged affair with both sides showing plenty of flair, and all forwards willing to do the hard yards. The lead changed five times in a spectacular end-to-end frenzy which finished at 13-all after 40 minutes. Miles and lock Ian French were everywhere for the Seagulls, as were Brian Dunn and Greg Conescu for the Devils.

French was rewarded with a great try – Wynnum’s first – after 15 minutes, and it was his great work that laid on winger John Callus’ try to hit the front in the 29th minute. Norths’ winger Joe Kilroy found some lost form during the match, and he set the crowd alight with a sizzling try down the sideline in the 21st minute. However, only four minutes later, Miles crashed through the defence to score his first try and restore the Seagulls’ lead.

Devils’ hooker Conescu then dived over for an opportune try just on halftime to even the scores. But it was the destructive nature of Miles’ charges which continually challenged Norths’ defence, resulting in his second touch-down just after the break, and his game-breaker 20 minutes later. Terry Butler and David Green then scored late in the match to complete the rout, as the Wynnum-Manly side ran riot. 

Referee Eddie Ward penalised Norths 16 times to Wynnum’s eight, a number of which were against half Ross Henrick for incorrect scrum feeds. Eventually, Kilroy took over the half’s role at scrums, which clearly proved a crucial change to the Devils’ scrumbase combination.

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 31 (G.Miles 3, I.French, J.Callus, T.Butler, D.Green tries; N.Moy 3, C.Scott 2 goals) defeated Norths 13 (G.Warnock, J.Kilroy, G.Conescu tries; G.Warnock 2 goals).


Round 17 – 26/07/81

Wynnum Manly 26 defeated Wests 11 (Kougari Oval)

Wynnum-Manly took a stranglehold on their first-ever minor premiership when they comprehensively outclassed Wests 26-11 before a near-capacity Kougari Oval crowd. The Panthers were never in the hunt for the competition points they desperately needed to keep their slim finals hopes alive. 

Fullback Colin Scott, lock Ian French and half Terry Saunders tore the heart out of the red and blacks,  with sizzling runs and devastating attacking raids in broken play. Wests fullback Tony Currie was simply brilliant all day, scoring a sizzling try of the match after 22 minutes. However, the onslaught from the “Des Morris 13” was far too great for the Panthers to handle. Anything Wests offered, the Seagulls crushed with thunderous forward charges and cunning backline moves. 

The Baysiders crossed for six tries to three, but the difference between the sides was far more substantial. Tries for the Seagulls were scored by Scott, Saunders, winger Terry Butler (twice), and forwards Ray “The Tank” Duncan and French. Wests scored via Currie, half Tony Quinn and skipper Norm Carr. The halftime score of 15-6 could easily have been much greater, but for last-ditch tackles by Currie and Carr, and Carr’s try which only came in the shadows of full time.

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 26 (T.Butler 2, C.Scott, I.French, R.Duncan, T.Saunders tries; N.Moy 4 goals) Wests 11 (T.Quinn, T.Currie, N.Carr tries; J.Vanderham goal).


Round 18 – 02/08/81

Valleys 31 defeated Wynnum Manly 10 (Lang Park)

Another attacking raid by Valleys spelt trouble for Wynnum Manly

The brilliance of young Valleys star Wally Lewis was never more evident than during the Lang Park match-of-the-day, when the Diehards unleashed a brilliant 31-10 hammering of league leaders Wynnum-Manly. Lewis scored two tries, had a hand in all five others, tackled strongly, kicked perfectly, and was caught in possession on only one occasion in a performance which netted him 10/10 in the rugby league week ratings. 

Captain-coach Ross Strudwick, backrower Bryan Niebling and fullback Alan Mills returning to near his best form also starred in a Diehards showing that sent a shudder through every side with finals aspirations. It was the old Mills sidestep which set up Valleys’ first try after only five minutes, when he dodged four defenders before finding Lewis looming up on his outside to score. Mark Svenson, Des McConnell and Scot Czislowski all crossed for tries which Lewis had instigated in one seven-minute burst to effectively blow the Seagulls out of the game. By the time centre Russell Klien sliced through just before the break, the score had amassed to 21-nil. 

The baysiders battled back gamely after the break, and netted themselves top-notch tries to Neil Moy and Ian French. However, when referee Stan Scamp dismissed Seagulls firebrand prop Ray ‘Tank’ Duncan for flattening Ross Strudwick in the 69th minute, their chances of stealing an unlikely victory were definitely gone. 

Lewis then took control of the match again, scoring a superb individual try himself, before setting the last one up for hooker Russ Denman to complete the rout. Not often would one say a fullback played well when the opposition scores seven tries, but Colin Scott starred for the Seagulls throughout the match. His attack and personal defence was near-faultless, but too often he was placed in a no-win situation when faced with two or three attackers at a time, and no support players to assist him. Another to play well for Wynnum-Manly was skipper Des Morris, who never stopped trying for the full 80 minutes.

Scorers: Valleys 31 (W.Lewis 2, D.McConnell, R.Klien, S.Czislowski, M.Svenson, R.Denman tries; M.Neill 5 goals)defeated Wynnum Manly 10 (N.Moy, I.French tries; N.Moy 2 goals).


Round 19 – 09/08/81

Easts 36 defeated Wynnum Manly 10 (Kougari Oval)

Wynnum Manly had a day to forget in the local derby versus Easts

A decimated Wynnum-Manly outfit was no match for the rampaging Tigers at Kougari Oval, when they crashed 36-10 with a forgettable performance. Adding insult to injury, state fullback Colin Scott was also forced from the field with a hand injury after just eight minutes, later diagnosed as a broken thumb, while utility back Neil Moy was dismissed shortly before fulltime by referee Eddie Ward for a late, high tackle on Easts backrower Zac Sarra. The motionless Sarra was eventually stretchered from the field after a lengthy delay. Scott’s replacement was reserve grade fullback Phil Attel, who had scored three tries in the club’s only victory from five grades against Easts. 

Tigers centre pairing of Mark Payne and Mark Thomas was in devastating form, continually punching holes through the Seagulls defensive line. Finishing with three tries between them, points-scoring prop Shane McNally also landed 9 goals from 11 attempts, dousing any hope Wynnum-Manly had of victory. McNally’s season tally was now fast approaching 200 points, and was a big factor in the Tigers sneaking their way back into the top four. Scoring with monotonous regularity, Easts rattled up five first half tries for a 23-5 lead at the break, effectively ending the match as a contest. And had the Tigers not relaxed in attack during the last 20 minutes, the score could perhaps have been quite embarrassing for the Seagulls.  Halves Larry Brigginshaw and Greg Holben proved far too elusive and classy for the Seagulls makeshift combination. 

Although Des Morris, Mark Zillman, Shaun Johnson and Gene Miles all put in brilliant games, a team missing the experience and quality of Terry Saunders, Ian French, Tony Kambouris, Gary Seaton, David Green and Ray Duncan was always going to struggle against a full-strength Easts. Besides his brilliant goal kicking, McNally had a superb game in the forwards, as did hard-running lock Brett LeMan.

Scorers: Easts 36 (M.Payne 2, L.Brigginshaw, G.Holben, M.Thomas, J.Ashe tries; S.McNally 9 goals) Wynnum Manly 10 (P.Attel, J.Callus tries, N.Moy 2 goals).


Round 20 – 16/08/81

Redcliffe 23 defeated Wynnum Manly 15 (Lang Park)

Wynnum front-rower Mark Zillman with Redcliffe’s Trevor Benson over the top

In one of the game’s of the season, Redcliffe clinched the Peter Scott Memorial Trophy final with a rousing 23-15 win against Wynnum-Manly in front of a big crowd at Lang Park. There were plenty of stars during the match, but the performances of Dolphins prop forwards – captain/coach Arthur Beetson and 20yo Peter Griffiths (formerly of Cairns) – were simply outstanding. 

With powerful charges and bone-crunching tackles, they set up three tries between them. One could not help but be enthralled during the match, with both sides willing to throw the ball around in attack, and neither side giving an inch in defence. After a torrid start, the Dolphins managed to open up a commanding 10-0 lead early with sizzling tries to both winger Louta Atoi (19th min) and backrower Tony Obst (23rd min). This followed a calamity of errors by Redcliffe, who had no less than 4 almost-certain tries disallowed in the first 15 minutes. Atoi’s try though, came from a quick tap at short-range which embarrassed the Seagulls defence. Obst’s effort was a brilliant long-range team try, instigated by a Beetson break. 

But clever work by Seagulls halves Tony Kambouris and Terry Saunders, combined with good foundation play by skipper Des Morris and Greg Dowling, saw the baysiders fight back and reduce the margin to just 10-7 by halftime. The second stanza began sensationally, when elusive Wynnum-Manly winger Terry Butler snapped up a loose Beetson pass and zipped away to score a spectacular long-range intercept try. However, the Seagulls lead was short-lived, when the Dolphins stepped up a gear, punching out two brilliant long-range team tries with six minutes by Atoi and centre Chris Close, to take a 20-12 lead. 

The end-to-end attack of both sides quickly became hectic, and missed tackles crept into both team’s defences. A set play from a scrum saw quick-passing out to Butler, who swerved then sped away on a 45-metre jaunt for his second three-pointer. Sensation then followed, when hooker Peter Sibley powered onto a Brian Walsh pass to crash through under the posts, only to see referee Eddie Ward’s arm signaling a penalty for offside. 

The match sealer came in the 70th minute, when Beetson thundered into the seagulls defence and offloaded perfectly for Colin Part who steamed into a small gap. Part then drew the defence to put Atoi away down the sideline, before he passed inside to Ian ‘Bunny’ Pearce. Pearce was initially knocked over in a tackle, but was not held, enabling him to scramble to his feet and scamper across the line. The closing stages were all too easy for the Dolphins, who effortlessly closed down the match on the tiring Seagulls.

Scorers: Redcliffe 23 (L.Atoi 2, I.Pearce, C.Close, T.Obst tries; I.Pearce 4 goals) defeated Wynnum Manly 15 (T.Butler 2, T.Saunders tries; T.Butler 3 goals).


Round 21 – 23/08/81

Wynnum Manly 32 defeated Brothers 18 (Corbett Park)

Terry Butler scored a hat trick of tries

A brace of tries to flyer Terry Butler, and a brilliant halfback performance from Terry Saunders, is all it took for the Seagulls to assign Brothers the wooden spoon for 1981, when Wynnum-Manly outclassed the Brethren 32-18 at Corbett Park. Saunders was clearly the outstanding player of the match, and was directly involved with most of the Seagulls eight tries. He was also desperately unlucky not to score himself, after a 60-metre sojourn into Brothers territory. 

Another welcome sight for Seagulls officials was the return of attacking form to centre Gene Miles, who was rewarded for his efforts with the last try of the match, after setting up three for teammates. However, captain-coach Des Morris was disappointed after the match, saying his side’s defence needed dramatic improvement if they were to hold out Easts in the knockout semi-final the following week. 

Mobile forwards Garry Walker and Bob Kellaway continually caused Wynnum-Manly headaches with powerful bursts around the rucks, but it was expected that the imminent return of injured hard-man Ray “Tank” Duncan would address the defensive lapses. Winger Phil Weightman made an impressive debut for Brothers, scoring two terrific second half tries in the corner. Butler’s three sensational tries were tempered somewhat by an indifferent kicking performance, when he landed only four from eight relatively easy attempts. 

The Seagulls did however control the match for most of the 80 minutes, the 13-9 halftime score flattering Wayne Bennett’s Brethren, and sending a few nervous moments through Wynnum-Manly officials. Along with conceding eight tries, handling by the Brethren also left a lot to be desired, with two spilt passes leading directly to Wynnum-Manly tries. Strong tackling performances from Seagulls forwards Greg Dowling and Mark Zillman were also highlights, while Brothers hooker Jay Hoffman also shone in his farewell Brisbane match. Hoffman is heading off to link with new club Canberra Raiders in the Sydney competition for season 1982.

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 32 (T.Butler 3, D.Morris, I.French, B.French, B.Walsh, G.Miles tries; T.Butler 4 goals) defeated Brothers 18 (P.Weightman 2, M.Haydon, G.Walker tries; J.McGraw 2, L.Newman goals).


Knockout Semi-Final – 30/08/81

Wynnum Manly 20 defeated Easts 9 (Lang Park)

Brett French scored two tries in Wynnum Manly’s Semi Final victory

Wynnum-Manly cast aside a long frustrating wait for their supporters, when they thundered into their first preliminary final in decades with a gritty 20-9 defeat of a game Easts in the Knockout Semi-Final at Lang Park. A huge crowd – predominantly wearing red and green – roared their side to victory, after an indifferent first half performance. 

Among the best for the Seagulls were the French brothers, centre Brett finishing with two scorching tries and lock Ian who had a sensational game in attack and defence. Leading from the front though, was captain-coach Des Morris, whose front-on tackling and direction among the forwards, almost single handedly turned around the halftime deficit. 

The match failed to reach any great heights as a spectacle though, with referee Eddie Ward awarding a total of 33 penalties, and both sides guilty of losing far too much possession from poor handling. Additionally, the free-flowing attacking flair both teams have shown during the season did not eventuate, with much of the play centered among a fierce forwards battle. David Green and Ray Duncan were also playing their games back after injury, while second-rower Greg Dowling was lost through injury when he was stretchered off the field during the second half. 

Easts dominated much of the play during the first half, with Zac Sarra scoring their only try to edge away 8-2. However, Brett French crossed either side of the halftime break, giving the Seagulls impetus to their attack, and enough momentum to drive on towards victory. After such a physical first 40 minutes, fatigue set in among a number of Tigers players, while Wynnum-Manly began to capitalise on increasing Easts errors. 

A welcome site for the red and green brigade was the return of fullback Colin Scott, who defused a number of dangerous Easts attacking raids and high kicks. Best for Easts was their entire front row – non stop hooker Jeff Ashe, and tireless prop-forwards Errol Slingsby and Shane McNally. Whether it changed the course of the match or not may never be known, but Easts coach John Lang’s replacement of skipper and pivot Greg Holben with Ray Kelly after 65 minutes, certainly raised some eyebrows. Lang was later quoted as saying he was looking for more variety in attack.

Scorers: Wynnum Manly 20 (B.French 2, T.Butler, D.Green tries; C.Scott 4 goals) 9 defeated Easts (Z.Sarra try; S.McNally 2 goals; S.McNally, G.Holben field goals).


Preliminary Final – 13/09/81

Souths 16 defeated Wynnum Manly 12 (Lang Park)

Des Morris playing in his last game as a Wynnum Manly Seagull announcing his retirement after the Preliminary Final.

Souths reached their third straight grand final, when they outlasted a competitive but clearly inexperienced Wynnum-Manly 16-12 in a see-sawing preliminary final match at Lang Park. Although many aspects of the match were fairly equal, it was the finishing touches on attacking moves which got the Magpies home. 

Souths scored four tries to the Seagulls two, but not for a couple of butchered tries and an off day with the boot for centre Mal Meninga, the margin should have been quite comfortable. But credit where it’s due, Wynnum-Manly made the most of little opportunities against the toughest defence in the competition, pushing the Magpies for the full 80 minutes. 

Although lacking size, Souths hard-nosed props Adrian and Darryl Higgs were in fine touch throughout the match, and laid the platform for victory with strong performances in the forwards. Chris Phelan and Ash Lumby were also valuable deputies, with some terrific gains up the centre of the rucks, exploiting some brittle Seagulls defence. Adrian Higgs also pulled off perhaps the most important tackle of the match, when he stopped Seagulls fullback Colin Scott in the 77th minute from scoring perhaps the match-winning try. 

Halves Brad Sully and Bruce Harry also played brilliantly, utilising coach Bob McCarthy’s plan of mixing up their kicking game to break up the Seagulls defensive line. Meninga and Johnstone also chimed in with some perfect kicks. The halftime score with Souths leading 8-7 flattered Wynnum-Manly, after the Magpies crossed for the first two tries, and missed two others with handling errors. Seagulls hooker David Green also deserves special mention after clearly out-pointing Souths’ representative rake Billy Johnstone 14-7 in the scrums. 

But while lack of possession was a concern for the Magpies, it was their aggressive and stonewall defence which stood in the way of the Wynnum-Manly attack. One statistic to arise was that of Souths lock Billy Argeros, who made an incredible 48 tackles. The match was played at break-neck speed, and it became more evident as the match wore on that a number of the recently returned Seagulls players were less than match fit. Consequently, Sully and Harry stood wide and set up continuous attacking moves for their backs Gary Belcher, Bruce Astill, Meninga and Ken Spencer. 

Incessant attack reaped its rewards for Souths, with two more tries to comfortably lead 16-7. With the crowd roaring every tackle, the never-say-die Seagulls side bounced back strongly, with one disallowed try before Ian French scored the second of his two. A late surge by the electric Wynnum-Manly backline then saw Higgs’ match-saving tackle on Scott. Once again Des Morris stood alone as the best for the Seagulls, with Ray Duncan putting in one of his best-ever performances also. French, Scott and Gene Miles also didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

Scorers: Souths 16 (B.Astill, C.Phelan, B.Sully, M.Meninga tries; M.Meninga 2 goals) defeated W/Manly 12 (I.French 2 tries; C.Scott 3 goals).

1981 Wynnum Manly First Grade Rugby League Team
Back Row: Brian Walsh, Peter Sibley, David Green, Terry Butler, Gary Seaton.
Middle Row: Terry Saunders, Ian French, Mark Zillman, Colin Scott, Wayne Bullock, Gene Miles, Brett French.
Front Row: John Callus, Ray Duncan, Des Morris (Captain/Coach), Tony Kambouris, Neil Moy.


Story Sources: Michael Higgiinson (BRL Historian)

Photo Sources: Wynnum Manly Rugby League Football Club