Sunday, May 11, 2014

PHOTO of the week "Tenambit Tigers" 1973

   Wow, there's a photographic "blast from the past" which I saw on a Facebook Page this week!! This is the talented 1973 Tenambit Tigers Under 12s and I remember a few faces, but not really names!! There are so many rich memories evoked by this photo...
   I have often thought back to how little I really remember in detail from this sporting era of my life. I have a Pennant that reminds me we played a Grand Final [could even be the 1973 decider] and I don't really remember it clearly at all. I do remember the season I played a couple of half games in the whole year but stuck it out waiting for a coaching change the following season.  I still remember pushing myself to get to Raymond Terrace, bronchitis acting up, chest infection in the offing, only to sit on the reserves bench the whole game... he was not saving me from my ill health!!
   I know this was my last year of schoolboy rugby league as I simply didn't think seven primary schools into one Year 7 team at MBHS would include me... I took up Rugby Union in 1981!! The other match I recall was a season ending 100-0 loss in pouring rain and mud where the mercy rule was invoked and the coach/parents shouted us hot pies to celebrate surviving the season [not the 1973 one].
   Jonesy is the blonde in the front row second from left and he is the one I tell a golf story about from East Maitland Course. In our late High School days the tee markers were painted tennis ball cylinders filled with cement and a metal spike and they sat in the grass upturned with the spike in the ground. Todd hit a fiercely struck tee shot, expecting it to fly 200m when it hit the marker 2m in front of him, bounced back and felled him by hitting him fair and square on the forehead!! We cried with laughter after we knew he remained conscious...
   These are the early years of my love of rugby league inherited from my cousins, who were mad keen South Sydney Rabbitohs fans. We played touch or tackle league all winter at the oval across the street or in Bruce' backyard across the back lane from us... I had a Balmain Tigers jersey so our teams could be delineated and everyone knows the Bunnies rival the Tigers and still talk about the 1969 GF... Tigers laying down for injury breathers repeatedly to slow the rythm of the game... I know, they'll see it differently!! This photo is 12 months after I had a bamboo spear embedded in my foot in a neighbourhood game of 'javelin' throwing.
   The bloke to my right is a familiar face whose name is long gone from the memory, Gary Stein is there and could it be 'Dave Wood' right in the centre, maybe not? The first in our year to own the full batman suit, cowl and utility belt which he got for his birthday...
   My cousin Bruce was two years older and his team won their competitions [and I think undefeated] from their under 12's to under 18s... at Pierce St I remember them almost losing in under 18s, to win it on goal kicks from their thin as a stick back who wore the right colour socks, but wrong style, all year!! That team were tough to aspire to be and it was the stuff of local legend. I think Mick Finch [uncle of NRL player Brett and brother of St George legend Robert] was in the side.
Presentation Nights were a big deal at Maitland Town Hall!!
   This was the era of leather footballs, headgear and canvas shoulder pads!! We also had internal shorts pockets which you put rectangles of foam rubber in to 'protect' your hips... you had your own leather footy and no flamin' idea what you were doing... Our skipper holding the signage was a good player!! My folks never encouraged me to play and especially as wet weather and Gala Days meant playing on Sundays!!
   It was probably the year of this photo we hosted a day with minimum three games except my family were set for baked dinner at my Pa's... I could be taken to the game after lunch begrudgingly!! I had a full baked dinner, had to have dessert to be polite and changed into my gear in the back of the car... arriving in time for game 2 or 3, running down the stairs pulling on the old black jersey with gold V, trying not to trip down the stairs or throw up until at least after the game!!

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