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Posts Tagged ‘Penrith Park’

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.

Notes:

* 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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3rd Sunday in April, 45 years ago.

Official opening of Penrith Park.

The 1960’s mega-stars of RL

The great St George Dragons – 11 successive Premierships.

Playing in our own backyard.

Backyard is right …

Shifting sandy surface, brick block for a grandstand.

Early aerial image Penrith Park (later Stadium).

But it was still ours – Penrith’s.

We loved it then … and now!!

Note:

Here’s what the ground looked like in around August 1966 when improvement work was in full swing.

And here is how it look in about November 1966.

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The game was tense.

Solid crowd.

Suddenly,

A commotion – the northern hill.

St John’s Ambulance men,

Running, balancing black bags,

From sideline to hill.

Whispers spread about the fate of the fan.

Sadness shaded the spine-tingling game.

Ex-Tiger Mara kicks a field-goal.

Panthers!!

A point.

Tigers out of 1968 finals contention.

Note:

* It was heard that the fan who was attended by the St Johns boys was a Balmain Tigers fan, that he had had a heart attack.

Penrith vs Balmain at Penrith Park 11th August 1968.

Penrith 18 – Tries: Bob Mara, Mick Leary; Goals: Bob Landers (5); Field Goal: Bob Mara

Balmain 17 – Tries: John Spencer, Terry Parker, Len Killeen; Goals: Len Killeen (3); Field Goal: John McCarthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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