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Memorable Matches From The Biff Era

(m26) BALMAIN'S GREAT FAIRYTALE The 69 Grand Final

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 SUMMARY Tigers beat South Sydney to win an upset 1969 Grand Final

Video Link -->

1969 Grand Final Balmain Tigers v Souths

Added 18-Nov-2013

This Vid found on good old Youtube

Link Status: .. Still Active

Players involved ... .... 29,47,84,88,

Flashback to Balmain's 1969 11-2 grand final victory against South Sydney.
Compiled by Matthew O'Neill. of rleague.com Back to League Flashbacks

1969 Grand Final - Balmain 11 v South Sydney 2, SCG, September 20.

The 1969 Grand Final win by Balmain against South Sydney is one of the most famous premiership wins ever seen and certainly magic League moment. The game was considered one of the great grand finals and the biggest upset grand final victory which was played in front of 58,825 at the SCG on September 20, 1969.

When Balmain supporters took odds, of 7-2 with 7.5 points start about the Tigers upsetting South Sydney in the 1969 grand final, it. was regarded as sucker money for the bookies.

After all, Souths, under the coaching of Clive Churchill, looked unstoppable in their bid to capture their third successive premiership with a team of awesome potential.

There was forward power from the likes of Bob McCarthy, John Sattler, Ron Coote and John O'Neill and attacking zip from Dennis Pittard and Mike Cleary, who represented Australia as a sprinter and as a Wallaby Rugby player, before winning international League honours.

Big Lurch O'Neill being tackled by Keith Outten in the 69 GF. Garry Leo in background

Souths also had a superboot in Erie Simms. So how on earth could Balmain's battlers hope to match such a juggernaut, particularly as their star forward Arthur Beetson was under suspension.

Balmain were a team of no names compared to South Sydney. Balmain were coached by Leo Nosworthy, who was in his first season as the Tigers coach. Balmain either had young inexperienced players or players heading towards the end of their career.

To top it all off why Souths were over whelming favourites was that Balmain's favourite son and "Golden Boots" Keith Barnes retired at the end of the previous season.

The Top four for 1969 were South Sydney, Balmain, St George and Manly. Manly beat St George 19-10 in the Minor Semi Final seeing St George knocked out in John Raper's final game for the Red and Whites. South Sydney pipped out Balmain 14-13 in the Major Semi Final to go straight into the Grand Final. The Preliminary Final was between Balmain and Manly to see who meets South Sydney in the Grand Final. Balmain won the game 15-14 despite scoring only one try to Manly's two which of course sets up the now famous and most recent premiership success for the Balmain Tigers.

Balmain's victory was built on staunch defence which forced elementary mistakes from Souths and grinded their opponents to an unfashionable but one of the greatest premiership victories. Things did not go Souths way during the game but that was their own fault. Failing to kick the football on the final tackle allowing Balmain replacement hooker 20 year old Paul Boulton with only limited first grade experience to dominate in the scrums.

Terry Parker, in a supreme twist of irony went on to be general manager of South Sydney, admits frankly: "We had a ploy to win. Whenever thev looked dangerous, one of us would hit the deck. The idea was to stop them getting their momentum up, and it worked. We had a tremendous air of'enthusiasm that year, and the more people wrote us off, the happier we were. We just kept hoping Souths would be complacent."

L to right.. Dennis Pittard souths, Referee Page, Garry Leo jumping, No 7 Dave Boulton, John Spencer taped head, Sid Williams (the lone tryscorer) Keith Outten and Lenny Killeen doing the handstand.

Well, the tackling Tigers certainly didn't regard Souths as supermen in cardinal and myrtle jumpers. In fact, with the advantage of the breeze, Balmain led 6-0 at halftime after Kilicen, the South African who came to Balmain via England, booted two goals and Bolton potted a field goal. Hustling and bustling as they moved up quickly, the Tigers continually snul'fed out Souths although Cleary was nearly in for a try and McCarthy was twice recalled by referee Keith Page after receiving forward passes. Frustrated by Balmain's eager beavers before a crowd of 58,825, Souths began to make mistakes.

Youngsters like McTaggart, for whom the grand final victory was a springboard to World Cup selection, and Walsh, a snowy-haired youngster given his big chance when Beetson was suspended, kept knocking over the Souths big men.

From one such error 15 minutes into the second half, Bolton snapped up a dropped ball and made a brilliant dash to the blind side where he tossed the ball to Parker, a player with startling acceleration who scored 10 tries for the Tigers that year.

Terry Parker recalls: "Three guys came at me, but I managed to hold the ball up long enough to slip it to Sid Williams." Williams, who had come on as a replacement for Ruebner, juggled the ball momentarily and then dived over for a try that gave Balmain a lead of 9-0.

Souths hit back with a goal by Simms, but the longer play went, with the Balmain fibp-artists adding further frustration, the less likely they appeared to break the black and gold defensive blanket.

Balmain was so magnificantly able to exploit and waste much time by feigning injury in posession of the football, causing time to be delayed. The Daily Mirror's Peter Frilingos seemingly at times waging a lone campaign for the League to do something about this blot on the game, the rules were later changed so a team mate can take the ball from an injured colleague and play it five metres away.

Frilingos, the Daily Mirror's chief Rugby League writer, said in a 1987 Big League magazine: "With a nothing to lose attitude, it was tackle, tackle, tackle as Balmain caused arguably the biggest upset ever made in a major League match. Forget all the flops when guys went down feigning injury. Balmain fully deserved to win. There was nothing illegal about what Balmain did. They simply were exploiting a loophole in the rules which existed until this year."

So, although Souths' skipper John Sattler complained to Page on several occasions regarding the number of stoppages, there was nothing the referee could do. Balmain perfected the injury in the play the ball as well as Canterbury captain Steve Mortimer farewelling the the old in-goal catching the ball rule in the 1985 grand final against St George, ensuring Glen Burgess never forgot what a bomb was.

The 1969 premiership was Balmain's first premiership since 1947 and also proved to be their last premiership triumph. Captain Peter Provan played his last of his 159 games in his nine seasons for Balmain that day. Unfortunately the victory came a year too late for Keith Barnes who played in the losing 1964 and 1966 grand finals and retired at the end of 1968. The win was all the more meritorious after Balmain lost key players Dennis Tutty, Laurie Moraschi and Peter Jones during disputes over money at the start of the season.

The program from the day....(supplied to The Biff by Troy Grant, Bob Grants son)

Tries: S. Williams.
Goals: L. Killeen 2.
Field-Goals: D. Bolton 2.
Team: R. Smithies, G. Reubner, A. Fitzgibbon, T. Parker, L. Killeen, K. Outten, D. Bolton, P. Provan [c], J. Walsh, J. Spencer, B. McTaggart, P. Boulton, G. Leo. Res: S. Williams.


Goals: E. Simms.
Team: E. Simms, M. Cleary, R. Honan, K. Burke, B. James, D. Pittard, R. Grant, R. Coote, R. Moses, B. McCarthy, J. O'Neill, E. Walters, J. Sattler. Res: P. Sait.

Note: In 1969, Tries were worth 3 points, Goals 2 points and Field-Goals 2 points.

Certainly a magic moment and one I had great joy looking back up on. Most definately fairytale premiership success for the Balmain club as South Sydney were enjoying their last golden era when they won four out of five premierships between 1967-71.

Information on Balmain's premiership success comes courtesy of "The History of NSWRL Finals" By Steve Hadden 1991 and "Big League Magazine, 1987".

Some of the Balmain Tigers ‘69 heroes who will participate on Sunday are pictured at a 25th anniversary re-union at the SCG: skipper Peter Provan, Len Killeen, Sid Williams, Dave Bolton, Alan Fitzgibbon, George Reubner, Gary Leo, Bob Smithies, Arthur Beetson, Paul Cross, Keith Outten, Peter Boulton, Terry Parker, John Crawford, Olaf Prattl, Greg Fryer, Peter Fardell, John Spencer, Joe Walsh, Barry McTaggart, club secretary Kevin Humphreys and coach Leo Nosworthy.

By Das Hassler - Tigers League Unlimited Forum (posted 19 Jan 2013)

Was there that great day and remember getting there at 4 am to line up for my ticket and jumping 10 ft in the air at fulltime.....Len Killeen's handstand was right in front of us (well 30 meters in front of us)...i was hooked on the Tiges for life after that and will always support any player that pulls on that jersey....through the good times AND the bad

Also remember that Paul Cross was dropped after the win over Manly in the prelim final ..Leo Nosworthy wasn't happy with him not dropping back to support Bob Smithies on the kick returns..he feared that Eric Simms would have us pinned down on our quarter so (99% sure) George Ruebner got the right wing spot with Sid Williams coming on at half time to score the try that sealed the win....felt sorry for Paul Cross and Artie...they were a big part of getting us there that year

(Quigs here... thanks for sharing your story Das)

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