Posts Tagged ‘Leo Trevena’

OK, kids. If anyone asks
“Where’s Roger?”, ..

On alert!

Roger’s secret trip to South Africa.*

Freeing Mandela?

No, … scouting for Panthers.

Phone rings, race to answer,

Wanting our place

In his clandestine mission.

Not 24 hours later

Back page headline,

Revokes our role.

No secrets in Rugby League!


* There were 4 people on this trip – Roger, Leo Trevena, Bob Boland, and Pat Russell.

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Dragons run out:

Gasnier, Smith, Langlands, Raper, Walsh …

Stellar line-up, stellar team.

Now, the Panthers:

Moran, Fagan, Landers, Peckham, Workman …

Red V legends up-close excites locals.

Excitement intensifies as unexpected unfolds.

Final whistle.

Panthers victory!

Magical victory.

Field invaded.

Kids mob immortals**, pat their backs,

Get autographs,

Then pretend to be them.


* 23rd April 1967 – the date of perhaps the most famous (non-Grand Final) victory in the history of the Penrith Panthers. I don’t know if it is possible to adequately describe that victory here – no, it is not. The Panthers between the reigning premiers St George by 24-12. St George had been premiers for the previous 11 consecutive years, and they were the favourite team of many locals (especially before Penrith’s promotion). ¬†Unfortunately, Reg “Puff the Magic Dragon” Gasnier – one of the original immortals – broke his leg early in the game. Apart from the moment it was an emotionally magical day. In backyard games it was no longer “I’m Reg Gasnier” it was now “I’m Grahame Moran” or “I’m Wayne Peckham.” That was an important shift.

* *Yes we mobbed the visiting legends in red and white but the real stars were the boys in brown and white – they attracted even more attention than their illustrious counterparts. Here is a picture of one of ,my favourites in action. I am not sure this is from the same game but it is a shot that characterises Wayne Peckham’s approach to defence. And for that reason it is one of my favourite images in the annals of RL.

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Cover of the July 1966 Penrith Rugby League Club Journal … says it all.

My reformation year – 1967.

The year when elite Rugby League

Came to Penrith.

Five influential men* pushed for

NSWRL promotion decision.

Announced on July 4th – American Independence Day – 1966.

Pivotal event for Penrith region, community, residents,

And us, personally.


One of the five “drivers” – Roger – overslept on July 5th.

Wasn’t his usual self!!


* Popular culture has the promotion coming as a result of the super-human effort of one man – Merv Cartwright. His efforts have been rightly acclaimed and honoured.

There were many who made important contributions to the effort and who have not receive appropriate attention.

Four others, in particular, who were equally strident, passionate, energetic, and resolute in the drive to have the Penrith Panthers promoted. They were:

Bill Chapman – who was the Penrith City Mayor at the time. A highly regarded local businessman. His son Greg Chapman later joined the Panthers Board.

–¬†Harold Corr – the Penrith City Town Clerk. I was lucky enough to count his son James as one of my schoolmates up until I left Penrith Primary at the end of 1966.

Jack Argent – the Parramatta delegate to the NSWRL. If Penrith was not promoted it would be Wentworthville (on Parramatta’s doorstep) and Parramatta lobbied heavily against Wentworthville’s promotion.

and … Roger – who was, sorry,¬†is … well, Roge.

Of course there were others who were heavily involved in this effort. Right in the mix there was our coach Leo Trevena. Here he is on the front of the club magazine in 1966, with Tony Brown (captain) and Merv.

brown cartwright trevena

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