What a Game!! - St George vs Wests
Kogarah Oval - Sunday 14th July, 1968
Who can remember this great game between Western Suburbs and the star studded St George. Were you there? I was and so was the 'web master'. I went to school at Marist Brothers Kogarah right in the heart of Dragon country so it was a chance to catch up with a few schoolmates who followed Saints. A kid I played football with at Arncliffe Scots was the St George ball boy. It was played at Kogarah Oval on the 14 July 1968 on a cold but fine Sunday afternoon. Saints had 8 internationals playing for them that day. Also 2 players who made history that year. Stan Gordon the winger scored 28 tries in 1968 making him the leading try scorer and Dennis Preston who beat Graeme Langlands to become Saints leading points scorer for 1968. West’s had beaten St George in the first round, which was played at Lidcombe Oval on 24 th April.
The score that night was also in the Magpies favor 22 – 6 but that is another What a Game!!
The West’s team was not per program they had 2 of their in form players out with injury’s Jim Cody and Rod Smith. Johnny Baker and Johnny Armstrong replaced them. This was Johnny Bakers first run in First Grade since he had come down from the Lithgow area. West’s had a few rookies playing in this game. Tim Murphy at the age of 19 was playing only his second game in the top grade and also aged 19 Big Steve Winter had only played a few games since he had come from sunny Tamworth and lets not forget the old hard heads like Ken Stonestreet, Alan Allison and Dave Barsley. One of my favorite players made quite an impact in this game as he did most weeks…. Mick Alchin. He scored a classic wingers try plus his defense was punishing to say the least. Speaking of big tackles I have just looked at the video of the game ( tenth time I think) just now and I saw Alan Allison almost knock Johnny Raper onto the Princess Highway at Carlton.
" Mad Mick " Alchin..legend!
Anyway lets get on with the game…. West’s were at the southern end of Jubilee Oval and Saints were defending the Rockdale end. Saints kick off straight to Mick Alchin…for some reason they did this 10 or 12 times during the game. West’s scored first with a long-range penalty taken by Fred Ford who almost kicked it on to the car park of the recently opened Rockdale Plaza. Then Barry Glasgow the boy from Tullibigeal landed a 40-yard field goal. West’s 4 Saints 0. West’s defence is rock solid….. some extra strong tackles by John Elford helped keep Saints out. Then after many sets of 4 tackles Graeme Bowen goes over next to the posts, Dennis Preston converts and it's now Saints 7 West’s 4. Are the 'webmaster' and I worried - a big NO. Steve Winter receives a caution for telling the Touch Judge that perhaps he should go to Gibb and Beman on Monday. Dennis Preston has got his kicking boots on today Saints 9 West’s 4. West’s keep attacking and at last Mr. Laurie Bruyeres gives West’s a well-deserved free kick. A. Ford kicks one more.
Laurie Bruyeres and Tony
Half Time score Saints 9 West’s 6.
In the second half, West’s come out firing on all cylinders…Tony Ford lands 2 more penalties and the score is 10 –9 in the Magpies way. Mick Alchin slips a Saints player a shot to the head and old radar boot Preston makes it Saints 11 West’s 10. Then it happened...I don’t know what but it did. West scored 3 unanswered tries.
Try number one went like this….Murphy passes to Baker on the St George side of half way Baker then slips it inside to Glasgow who brilliantly draws 2 defenders and passes the ball to Alchin who runs 20 yards to score.
Tony Ford misses one and the score is West’s 13 Saints 11.
Second try… Langlands kicks to Alchin he catches the ball 10 yards out from his line takes the tackle then after many passes Tim Murphy passes what they now call a flat pass to Steve Winter who scores near the posts.This was to be Steve’s only try in first grade for West’s over the next 5 years. Ford puts the ball between the posts and onto Jubilee Avenue. Now it is West’s 18 - Saints 11.
Try number 3….this try was the one that broke Saints and also the best try seen at Kogarah Oval for many years. Langland’s kicks from the restart of play to yes that’s right Alchin who, with much skill, stops it from going into touch and takes the tackle. Armstrong is dummy half passes the ball to Allison who is tackled. Baker at dummy half passes to Armstrong he runs straight and hard nice pass to Alchin who accelerates down the right wing beats 2 tackles makes 20 yards basketballs it inside to Barry Bryant who quickly passes it to Ken Stonestreet who passes it back inside to Bryant who looks for support sees the ex threequarter Johnny Armstrong looming on his inside.. passes to him… Armstrong puts the foot down and scores adjacent to the uprights. Ford then converts. It's West’s 23 - Saints 11 and the game is as good as over.
Big smiles all round on the hill. West’s won plenty of good ball from the scrums thanks to a great front row and a first rate hooker named Ken “Nebo” Stonestreet. Ken played for N.S.W in1969 and scored a try in that match to boot.
West’s had one more try to score a simply wrap round between Bruce Beer and rookie lock John Baker. Final score West’s 28 - St George 19. This was only the second time in 14 seasons that Saints had been beaten on their home ground the first time was West’s in 1966 when they beat Saints 12 to 9. Also the crowd of 16,205 was the second biggest ever at Kogarah Oval.
As luck would have it I ran into two mates from school after the game and I heard their usual excuses why the Mighty St George had lost. It was a good day to be a young Magpie fan. If you have any memories of this day please send me an email or perhaps you would like to nominate another What a Game from the Kelly Kids era.
Noel Kellys Kids, a website by Tony Lewis, Greg Willis and Steve Lothian honouring Rugby League Legend Noel Kelly and the Western Suburbs Magpies from 1966 to 1969. Noel Kelly,Captain Coach of the Western Suburbs Rugby League Club. The site involves statistics, photos, with interviews from West greats.