Posts Tagged ‘St George Dragons’

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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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!!


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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18 September 1965.

Sydney Cricket Ground – St George v South Sydney.

Grand Final*.

The stairwell at rear of the Sydney Showground Grandstand was packed.

Graham Percy guardian & guide – again.

Saints going for 10th premiership,

But beaten twice by Souths during year.

Great Expectations.

Ground overflowed**, all vantage points filled – roofs, inside fence, Showground.

Police moving roof sitters incurred loud disapproval. They concede.

Saints win! … Again.

People found spots on the grandstand roofs and inside the fence.


* The Dragons won (12-8) and stretched their record to 10 consecutive premierships.

** The official attendance was 78,056 – the biggest sporting crowd Sydney had ever experienced. This did not include the people watching from vantage points outside the SCG (like the Showground) nor those who climbed onto the stand roofs. The number of people I have met who claim to have been at that game would suggest a much much higher crowd.

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Legendary Team, Team of Legends - 1964 Premiers.

Amidst milling, pushing hordes we find our seats:

Brewongle Stand.

Near an artist who painted,

Dragon breathes fire at toothless tiger.

“C’arn, Saints.” I yell.

“Shhh!” hushes guardian Graham.  “They’ve won too much!”

But legends capture the hearts of the young.

St George – a legendary and a team of legends.


This follows on from yesterdays post 57. An early start to a great day and a great journey … .

Take a look at these team lists from Grand Final Day 1964 – 19th September.

The St George team was studded with stars … but Balmain had 5 players who would play key roles in the early stages of the Penrith Panthers elevation to the first grade competition. (And lay foundations for an intense rivalry.)

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