GO THE COPPERS
FROM ANDY MCNEILL'S MEMOIRS The Police Footy Club came into being on March 3'd 1963. On that day a meeting was held at Marrenah House and the "Police and Citizens Youth Club Rugby League Football Club" was formed. Prior to that Police had played annual games against the Bank Johnnies. One year we'd play Rugby League and the next year we would play Aussie Rules. These games were very much social events with the water boys carrying beer instead of water and most games ending in a draw with a great bar-b-que after the game. However, there were among our ranks, some pretty good footballers and so it was decided to get fairdinkum. We decided to put the bite on South Sydney Rugby League Club for jumpers and when they obliged we became the "Rabbitos" in Darwin. First coach was Constable Basil Smith, who was playing for Navy at that time and had previously played with Maitland in New South Wales. Basil unfortunately was transferred to Daly Waters before the start of the 1964 season and Doug Smith, a former grade player from Brisbane, took over the coaching duties. The Committee was made up of Constable Dick Brown Secretary, Sergeant Ist Class Frank Cronshaw Treasurer, myself as President and Superintendent Sid Bowie Vice President. Sponsorship was provided by John Shanahan and John Stokes, proprietors of a small garage known as Bridge Motors, now one of the largest Toyoto Dealers in the country. Another sponsor was John MacNamee, who then ran Rapid Laundry, a dry-cleaning business, and later became an undertaker in Darwin. We had an honorary doctor Brian Kirkup, who was in charge of the Department of Health in Darwin. He not only attended the matches and did running repairs there, but he also conducted a clinic for the walking wounded each Monday morning during the season. Rugby League was played in the "Wet Season" at that time. "Go the coppers" and "Get the coppers" became familiar cries at Richardson Park. Among players in the team in those first years were, Mick Palmer,(the police officer, not the politician), John Maley, Robin Chalker, Denver Marchant, Bob (Crash) Crowell, Tony Godwin, Peter Collins, Airy Pyle, Neil Plumb, Terry O'Brien, Allen Price, Primo Bonato, Wayne Cubis, Blake Jobberns, John Lincoln, John Woodcock, Bruce Mangleson, Geoff Sherville, Ian Evans, Ian Faux, John Ascoli, Dick Brown, Peter Guinane, Noel Owens, Peter Lappin, Jimmy Green, Grahame Browning, and Barry Symons. They were all serving Police Officers. In the first season, things were very tight and we had to move the Darwin station roster around somewhat to ensure that we had sufficient numbers to run on the field.
Gradually the Police Footy team attracted civilian players. Billy Boustead, Roy Dykes, Johnny Stokes, Junior Lang, John Cotteril, Geoff Beale, Lyndon Wilson, Grahame (Grumpy) Maunder, Wally Kirby and the little Dentist Tommy Berglin to name but a few. Billy Boustead was perhaps one of Darwin's greatest sportsmen. He played his first rugby with us and starred. He would play Aussie rules on Saturday, tennis Saturday night, rugby league with the police team on Sunday and basketball on Sunday nights. Support for the coppers increased as the team's performance improved. They made the finals the first year and played in the Grand Final the next year. Unfortunately the Grand Final was lost to Waratah/Wallabies by a score of 8 points to 2 in a game that was described by the N.T. News as, "A Rugby battle, which will live in the annals of N.T. League forever." We had some great supporters, Mitchell Chin who marinated our steaks for the Barbecues. The marinated steaks were so tender they almost melted in your mouth. Keiran MacCarthy who attended every game on or off duty and was a totally one-eyed barracker, which really did not matter because no one could understand his Irish accent when he became excited anyway. John Shanahan the owner of Bridge motors who supported the team so well in the early years. And there were many others. If you came to one of our Barbies you made a donation to the Police & Citizens Youth Club every time you purchased a beer so our after-footy bar-b-que's were very well attended. Jack Mobers and his guitar provided entertainment, and we always had plenty of volunteers to sing a song or tell a yarn. l can remember at Bill Jacobs one night when he cooked up a great feed of Magpie Geese in a couple of four gallon kero tins with each serve liberally garnished with some very hot chillies. That night he sang many times that old Johnny Cash favourite, "Ring Of Fire". All in all it was a very good public relations exercise for the Police Force, which we had going without even realising it. The Police Footy Team resulted in lasting friendships inside and outside of the force, which have stood the test of time over many years.
Season No. 13. 1962/63- played at Gardens Oval Premiership Competition.
The premiership competition commenced on Sunday18/11/62 and was held over fourteen rounds, with the last minor match held on Sunday 17/3/63.
*: Final Ladder:- Nightcliff, RSL, Brothers, Qantas, Wallabies, Navy-Army, RAAF.
*: Held at Gardens Oval.
*: 1st Semi Final:- Brothers 12 d Qantas 4
*: 2nd Semi Final:- Nightcliff 11 d RSL 2
*: Preliminary Final:- Brothers 11 d RSL 0
*: GRAND FINAL:- Nightcliff 18 d Brothers 5
*: Half Time Score:- Nightcliff 8 , Brothers 5
*: Referee:- Bob Diflo - Brisbane
*: Nightcliff Grand Final Team:- Coach: Noel Turvey. Bruce Douglas, David Butler, Noel Owens, Lionel Butler, Jim Anderson, Ron Gatley, Iam Lomas, Jim Stewart, Dave Goodman, Graham Stewart, John Maley, Warren Birch, Barry Humphries, Doug Carney, Gordon Perry, Dick Tabar, Tim O'Connor, Tony Morris.
*: Nightcliff Scorers:- David Butler 2t, Jim Anderson 1t, Dave Goodman 1t, Noel Owens 3 goals.
*: Brothers Grand Final Team:- Coach: Goerge Killen: Frank Geddes, Ron Woodroffe, Richard Reynolds, Robin Prebe, Bob Marting, Joe James, Gary Cocking, Jim Tudelhope, Primo Bonato, Barry Devery, George Killen (c), Ray Snodgrass, Tim Fletcher, Dennis Marchant, Bob White, Bob Crowell, Ivan Hersey, Pat Whetton, Bernie Phillips.
*: Brothers Scorers:- Bob Martin 1t, Robin Prebe 1 goal
*: Man of the Match:- Ian Lomas - Nightcliff
*: DRL Best and Fairest - Jim Kittle (Navy-Army)
*: Minor A Grade Competitions:- Richardson Cup Knockout Final 11/11/62 Wallabies 10 d RSL 4 Bradbourne Rosebowl Knockout Final 13/1/63 Wallabies 18 d Qantas 12
*: Reserve Grade Grand Final :- Brothers 9 d Nightcliff 0