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Memorable Matches From The Biff Era


Posted by... quigs eraofthebiff - on ... Friday, May 04, 2012




Get some more beers, or make another coffee, take your time and have some fun.

from Quigs "As mentioned previously, I am not a rugby league historian, a rugby league expert. I am just a lover of this era of Rugby League." ... This is a recollection of some of the battles, and the trench warfare that I, and others watched over time. Some are matches that I was told about, or read about.

MATCH SUMMARYHeadingley. England

The 1970 World Cup Final will go down in history as one of the most savage and ferocious finals ever contested.

Australia had thrashed the Kiwis, but lost narrowly to Great Britain and France, but manage to scrape into the final with a better average.

Great Britain had not lost one of their three preliminary games and were hot favourites to win the final against the Ron Coote led Roos.

The Aussies were behind the eight ball during the match losing the scrums at a ratio of 2 to 1 and copped a flogging in the penalties by19 - 7.

The Poms had adopted the rough stuff and kept it up to the Aussies.

Eric Simms and John Aitkenson after a nasty incident after the whistle during the "Battle of Leeds". The Poms forehead had come into contact with Ekka's

Australia held a narrow half time lead of 5 points to 4. after a try by the footballing Priest, Father John Cootes. Early in the 2nd half the Roos stretched their lead when Simms converted a try from the sideline.


John Aitkenson scores in the corner for GB in the 1970 World Cup Final
source - BBC RLWC 2000 website

As quoted in the History of Australian Rugby League, From then on the match really turned sour. The Australian props John O'Neill and Bob O'Rielly were bloodied and battered ...... but not beaten. Coote urged his players not to retaliate against the strongarm British Tactics. McCarthy had on of his finest games with many rating his defensive performance as the toughest and best of his career.

Big Cliff Watson in pursuit of Billy Smith, with Aussie Captain Ron Coote looking on - in the background Tony Fischer can be seen throwing a right cross as unknown GB player moves in to the brawl.

The brawling continued, watched by millions on Brittish and Australian Television. England's Syd Hynes and Australian half Billy Smith were sent off minutes from the end. Fights broke out near fulltime, and in one incident after the fulltime hooter sounded British winger John Atkinson headbutted Aussie fullback Eric Simms and tempers flared. It took referee Fred Lindop, his touch judges and the English police to stop the brawling.

Big Bob O'Rielly had a top 1970 World Cup Final - pictured here with Garry Stevens in support

By match's end, Australia had won the final 12 -7. Back in the dressing room after the match, the triumphant Australians licked their wounds. Seven of the 13 players were badly knocked around. Some would not play again on tour.

Ron Coote celebrates winning the 1970 World Cup as Eric Simms looks on, other players from L to R; (Believed to be) Lionel Williamson, Bob Fulton, Mark Harris, Ray Brannigan
source - BBC RLWC 2000 website

October 21: Australia 47 - 11 New Zealand (Central Park, Wigan)
October 24: Great Britain 11 - 4 Australia (Headingley, Leeds)
October 25: France 15 - 16 New Zealand (The Boulevard, Hull)
October 28: Great Britain 6 - 0 France (Wheldon Road, Castleford)
October 31: Great Britain 27 - 17 New Zealand (Station Road, Swinton)
November 1: Australia 15 - 17 France (Odsal Stadium, Bradford)

( I can remember watching this game on TV as a 15 year old.........it was an awesome game......do you have any memories you would like to share --- email me about it)

05/12/2003. See story from Martin Lea UK, who as a 16 year old was at this game. (Thanks Martin)


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