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The hard men of the Papuan rugby league

Richard Jones

Joe Morris was a front row forward from Moresby rugby league days. He’s responded to an article I wrote for Les Everett’s www.australianrules.com.au website in the following terms about some of the great rugby league players who played in Port Moresby in the sixties:

Digger Annand’s given name was James and he now owns a bottle shop in Newcastle. I was a member of the DCA side that won in 1966. Barry Kenny, also in the side, later played for Queensland. Mark Harris, a bruiser from Konedobu, ended up playing for Easts, then NSW and Australia. So there were some greats that played in that comp.

Head_shoulders John Kaputin [pictured, now Sir John and secretary-general of the Brussels-based African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States] was a great player a nice bloke too. He helped us in a riot one Friday night I’ll never forget. We were playing Konedobu and John was playing. We flattened one of the Kone players and the crowd erupted and were storming the fence around the field. John jumped the fence got hold of the loudspeaker and gained control. It wasn’t nice. We had heaps of SP beer in the club that night.

Comments

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Matt Rendell

I have heard about rioting between Papua and New Guinea rugby fans in about 1973, that became widespread and caused some lighter-skinned Polynesians to go into hiding. Does anyone have any information about this?

Arthur Williams

Nice to read a few of those old posts, I wonder if the site is still active as I would like to catch up with some of the old ( now ) guys. I played in Port Moresby with the Kone Tigers 70, 71 Captain/ coach and 72 with Dennis Mculloch, I left there in early 73. A lot of names in there I know.

Joe Morris

An update on some players from the rugby league in Port Moresby in the 1960s/70s.

James 'Digger' Annand, now retired and is living in Newcastle.

Barry 'Popeye' Richards and Joe Morris are in Taree.

Jim Hammond has passed on.

Garry Anderson has passed on.

John McKeough is in Port Macquarie.

Peter Foreman in Melbourne.

Garry Allen in Brisbane.

Warren Allen on the Gold Coast.

Peter Moore in Hobart.

Brian Wakefield in Sawtel, NSW.

They are all old players from DCA.

Tristan

I recently found many Papuan Rugby League badges from 1960's and early 1970's and have posted them on Ebay current August 2019. May interest someone here??

Dexter Freeme

In 1973 I was captain/coach of a rugby league team in Illawarra, the Fairy Meadow Chargers. We played a team from PNG university. They were captained by Adrian Wickham.

PNG won 31-25 and the report of the game in the local paper said that it was the best exhibition of rugby league seen for a long time by two very classy teams. We went on to the win the premiership undefeated that year.

I still have the photo taken of both teams prior to kick off. I also was a mate of Denis McCulloch who coached Kone Tigers, we played rep touch after retiring from the main game.

Peter (Goose) Goodwin

To Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin - I very much enjoyed reading your post of 14 December 2015 as Vani was not only a great team-mate but a good friend over many years. Can you tell me if Vani is still alive?

Denis McCulloch

I was wondering if any old Kone Tigers players and officials are still active with sport generally.

It would be good if we could keep in touch with each other. Maybe even a reunion?

Rowena Collins

Rod Hard doesn't know the full story of Bruce Pollard (my uncle), a supremely talented footballer.

He doesn't mention of the jealousy or bullying Bruce experienced from the older St George players, who were well past their prime.

Terry Laundry

What great memories reading these comments. I played for Paga from 1974 - 1976 with Steve Shiffman, Bill Phillips and Sean Doerney. Allan Hicks was coach for the first couple of years, then Duncan ? took over as coach. When I arrived in POM in early 1974 I was introduced to Paga Pete (don't remember his real name)through an old friend from Sydney. He then lined me up to play with Paga. It was a great way to get to know people. Didn't win too many games.I remember playing against Digger Annand and John Douglas from DCA. Fabulous memories

Anthony Van Dyk

I remember the grand final of 1969. It was a great game.

I played Union for Illacarada 3rd Grade. I worked for Steamy's. It was a hell of a year. I never returned.

Keith Harris was the stand-out player and later played for Easts.

John Standeven

Just found this site. Very interested in Joe Morris if it is the same man who played with DCA in the 1960s with fullback John Standeven.

I am pretty sure Joe worked at South Pacific Brewery and was from Taree. David Hibbard I think was coach and came from Coffs Harbour.

If it is the Joe Morris that was in that side it would be great to catch up one day. I hope he is still with us.

Annette Stuckey (nee Brennan)

Boy! are there some memories in these posts. I was tied up with Hawks and the Four Mile club.
Thanks for the memories

Geoff Learmonth

Adrian Saunders, I remember Sam well. We played under 18's for Valleys in Brisbane in 1964 and won that premiership undefeated.

We both went to PNG in the late 60's and ran into each other again in 1969 when he played for Papua against New Guinea, which was as intense as QLD v NSW in those days.

Sam stayed at my house at the time in Madang. We ran across each other sometimes when we sold cars in Brisbane in the 80's, hope he still going well.

 Madi Kema (Nee Willie)

Any magani players who have photos or newspapers about magani club or about Willie Dogo's (my father) rugby highlights, please kindly send to me on my email(mkema@pngfp.com) for my collections.

R.J. (Bob) Johnston

Comment for John Christopher: My wife and I were in Rabaul 1960/67 and knew both your parents. Although not connected with the Army Club and recall Arthur Edwards I did have an involvement with Rugby League initially as a selector and later as a referee. If you care to contact me I will try to provide some of the information that you are researching. My mobile number is 0411 407 340

Dave Gallagher

The 1968 Paga premiership team that beat Kone had a strong Roosters connection. Mike Phillips, Ron Gallagher, Tony Hadfield. Tony Walton, Mick Plant all played with Roosters in the top grade. Bruce Pollard had played with St George before playing in Port Moresby.
Does anyone remember the score in the 1968 grand final and how many tries mark Harris scored?

Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin

Peter (Goose) Goodwin, I went to the village on Saturday and found Vani Gerega at Paramana (Marshall Lagoon) and told him about you. He had fond memories of those days with Magani Badili and the Papuan Team and shed some few tears as his mind renege down history lane.

'Tell Goose that I am now a fisherman. I sleep during the day and go out on my canoe in the night to fish and sell in the village for a living.'

His house is adorned with news paper clips and photos of those nostaligic days.

'A reunion of the Magani Badili players in those days would be good', he said.


His mobile number is 79644778.

Peter Foreman

I had the great pleasure to play two seasons in Moresby in 1967 and 68 with DCA. I still look back on those two years as some of the greatest times in my life.

I was fortunate to play with great players like Billy Stokes, Digger Annard, Peter Moore, Garry and Warren Allan, Clive Quinlon, Mackie, Bob Page Joe Morris, Tommy Sothern, Garry Tobin, Boss Hammond, Gill Smith and others.

We were fortunate to play against players like Mark Harris, Mocker Van Heckerine, TV Ted Ellery (Ted the Head) , Yogi O,Connell, Boydie Hodges, Ron Gallager, Mike Phillips and many more.

I have great memories of the Aviat Club, and Friday nights at the Four Mile Club.

William Dunlop

Anyone recall Bubbles Bradley? Knew him in Popondetta in 1972 when he was RPNGC Commander. Enjoyed a cold one on a hot evening. One no nonsense hard man.

John Christopher

I am looking for any information re New Guinea rugby league, special interest in Rabaul rugby league prior to 1974.

John Christopher

Hi, I am researching my late father's involvement in New Guinea rugby league.

At various times he held executive positions, but at this time I can't find any trace - he was the president of Army in Rabaul around the time Arthur Edwards was playing for NG and Mark Harris for Papua.

Any and all information would be greatly appreciated.

Peter (Goose) Goodwin

Does anyone know how I can contact Vani Gerega who played for Magani Badili first grade 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973, and who I understand lived at Marshall Lagoon?

Adrian Saunders

My father, Sam Saunders, was also an Australian playing rugby league in PNG. He has fond memories of the time he had there. He is currently living at Banora Point and is keen to attend any reunions.

Mike Rohan

Hey Wayne Miller, are you still alive? Give us a yell.

Peter Goodwin (Goose)

Hello Madi Kema (nee Willie), I remember your father very well. It is wonderful to hear from you. I also passed on your comments to Pat Beston. He also remembers your father.

 Madi Kema (Nee Willie)

My father Willie Dogo also played for Magani club. He got the Pat Baston Shield in 1973 in the reserve grade. The shield still hangs on the wall in his village home. He was then elevated to A grade team by Boyd Hodges after Goose left. Dad also played for Papua, that was held in Rabaul. My dad has very good memories of all the Australian & PNG players. He calls them by nicknames and wishes to meet up in reunions if any arises.

Philip Rali

I'm looking for Errol Goode if he is still alive or dead. Anyone who has ideas about his whereabouts can contact email me on philiprali@hotmail.com or FaceBook. Need help pleass!

Tony Goodwin

My father, Peter Goodwin (Goose), played for Magani Badili from 1969-1972 until leaving to return to Australia in 1973.

Dad played with team mates such as John Flynn (Chook) who is now deceased, Boyd Hodges and Don Fox plus great mates & clubmen like Pat Beston.

Magani won 1st Grade Premierships in 1969, 1970 & 1971 from memory. Dad played for Papua as well with Mark Harris and many other top players originally from Australia and also some from PNG.

The greatest time of his life he says to this day was Port Moresby in those years.

I still remember the Badili Club & Lloyd Robinson Oval from when I was a small kid.

Dad lives near Coffs Harbour NSW and attends reunions where he's met former players like Dennis McCulloch from Kone Tigers.

Dad & I knew Barry Van Hekkeren (spelling?) very well. He was at Eastern Suburbs Roosters for many years and also coached Paga in Dad's days at Magani.

Joe Morris

Just an update on some old hard heads from league days in the 1960s

Digger Annand is about to sell his bottle shop in Newcastle.

Peter Moore works for the council in Hobart.

Doug "Clevo "Williams is living on the Sunshine Coast.

John McKeough lives on the Gold Coast.

Pale Whale has passed away.

Garry Anderson lives in Yamba.

Tex Bullock and myself live in Woolgoolga on the mid north coast of NSW.

Richard Jones

For Wayne Miller. DCA's strip was white with a mid or a royal blue V, maybe yoke. Paga was pale blue. All over.

You'd never want to be owing $20 or any other amount to Hawks' hard man, Darcy Goode.

He was frightening, both on and off the field. Barry Stevens was known, quite rightly, as The Whale.

DCA brought up a front row forward, also very big but fair-skinned and gingerish-haired. He was promptly christened 'The Pale Whale' Can't for the life of me remember his actual moniker.

You'd remember Don Bensted, secretary and general overall go-to man at Paga.

I used to do radio wrap-ups and previews on 9PA Port Moresby with Donnie. Couple of inter-Territory live blow-by-blow calls from the Boroko ground as well.

Incidentally John Stuntz, a behind the scenes man at Magani-Badili and a lifelong Manly Sea Eagles man, passed away recently in the Philippines. He was early to mid-80s, I think.

Magani-Badili wore a maroon and gold hotch-porch. Can't recall exact configuration.

Wayne Miller

To Bruce Sheeky: DCA's strip was predominantly white.I think with either a dark blue or black stripe.

Meanwhile I would love to have a Hawks reunion some day. As the days spent at the 4 Mile club were memorable to say the least.

Maybe 2017 would be a good time, marking the 50th anniversary of Hawks double/treble. With the titles going to Reserve/ A Grade/ and the baseball team in the one season.

Where are all the stalwarts of that era?

Wayne Miller

It has been 42 years since I left PNG, and the memories of the good times at Hawks RL den at the 4 Mile Club still remain.

How can one ever forget his first game of R/L. Having the "pleasure" of marking one Mark Harris in reserve grade before his elevation with Kone Tigers. He not only ran around me, but over me and through me!

Suffice to say I was better suited to the bar and the grandstand.

How can one ever forget the dual premierships of the "Mighty Hawks" in 1967. Players like Barry Stevens; Darcy & Errol Goode; "Pickles" Reynolds; 'Commanche'; Johnny Oberdorf, and many more that my memory has not caught up with yet.

Plus the Four Mile Friends and Hawks supporters of me & my brother Johnny. The God, The Lout, The Snake, The Gypsy Tap, Nev Trass; Joe and the one and only GD. If you're reading this Tommy Moss, you still owe me twenty bucks!

Also that year '67, I was privileged to play for Hawks in the premiership winning baseball team. With brother Johnny, Graeme Dunnage, Terry Healey, Dennis Turner, Pete Plowman and Norm, who belted one over the fence to seal the title for Hawks.

Great times, great fun, great people!

Bruce Sheekey

As an addition, I remember Hanuabada played in the South Sydney strip; Kone in the Balmain strip, Paga in the St.George strip & Magani in the Manly-Warringah strip. I can't remember DCA's playing strip.

Bruce Sheekey

I was born in Samarai in 1956, & lived my early years in Bogia & Madang. Purely coincidentally, my family lived in Port Moresby my entire boarding school life in Sydney - 1969 to 1974.

My father moved to Port Moresby mid-1968 & left the country 1976. I myself last visited PNG in 1975.

I remember back in the late 60s & early 70s, there were five rugby league sides in the capital - Konedobu Tigers, Hanuabada Hawks, DCA, Paga Panthers & Magani-Badili Eagles (I think).

Digger Annand was the most famous name at the time. I became friendly on school hols with the younger Mowen brothers - Bevan, Shaun & Rory.

The two older brothers - Kerry & Max - were well known local rugby league players I believe.

Current Wallaby Ben Mowen is apparently the son of Shaun.

I myself would love to know more rugby league in PNG around those times. I loved my years growing up in PNG - a physically beautiful country, great climate & lifestyle (back then).

Skerah

Writing an article on the history of Hanuabada Hawks. If anyone has any info on great players, how it was formed etc.. please email admin@skerah.com

Reginald Renagi

I do recollect some of the great PNG players of which some of them later played as Kangaroos, were initially local Papuan house-hold names in Moresby).

For a young impressionable school kid these early Papua rugby league players were my very first league heroes to worship each weekend whilst growing up in Moresby in the 60's.

The two famous local players of that era I remember well and were also favourite idols of the small but growing Papuan community in Moresby were both Digger Annand (who later become more famous as the PNG heavyweight boxing champion; and Mark Harris of the DCA club.

Mark looked to us small kids from the sidelines as a giant with a great kicking style (this giant could place-kick the ball the whole footy field (with a good breeze).

Yes, I remember, my dad (who was a St. John's Ambulance paramedic on most weekends) would sometimes take me to the Boroko PRL grounds to see these now famous Papuan league heroes of that special era at Lloyd Robson oval.

They were some of the memorable and good old days of my youth and the local Papuans though rugby league then was played by 'immortals'. Thank you for bringing back some good memories of the great 60s.

John Tongia

Hi Allyn - My name is John Tongia and I am an ex Papua New Guinean. I was born in Lae and grew up in Port Moresby and played most of my football career in both cities - Hanuabada Hawks and Kone Tigers in Port Moresby and PNG University of Technology in Lae.

I am now 60 years old and played against Digger (James) Annand (DCA), Alan Hicks (Paga Panthers) and the like.

Your link was passed on to me and as I read on I decided to contact you see if you can provide any contact details for this two gentlemen.

I can be contacted on mobile 0401 060 651 or by email on
john.tongia@ssa.qld.gov.au We have a rugby league organisation here in Brisbane called QLD/PNG Rugby League Inc.

Tom Adamson

Yes as a young boy growing up in Port Moresby in the 60s n early 70s I remember some very good players.They were there the 2 Stewart Brothers Lyold n Glenn played for Hawks,Ron Toohey(Hawks)Denis McCulloch who captained Papua 1sts he was a great player for Kone also Arthur Williams another great Kone player,Mark Sherrah,Phil Newey,Digger Annand all from DCA,Peter Flynn,Dave Allen from Magani also Digger was the PNG heavyweight boxing champ.Also remember Rod Hard,Sam Saunders,Brian Bevan from Paga who most of my mums family the Brays supported.In the ealy 70s Hawks changed their name to Hanuabada Hawks who were real entertainers with Rei Simoi,Babe n Wara Wele,Guba John all great players,loved watching them play.After watching all these players my passion for Rugby League only grew bigger.I now live in Brisbane and now are in the process of running our own Qld PNG Rugby League Inc tournament for u16,u18,u20 n mens open later this year 2012.

Allyn Hicks

I can remember a few wild games of League in PNG but one game of Union, at ASOPA was memorable. Keith Foster, an ex Gordon player and our manual arts lecturer, was ASOPA's coach. We were short, so Keith filled in on the wing.

About one minute into the game Keith flew in and flattened his opposite number. The astonished referee immediately sent him off. On his way past the ref, Keith raised his arms in supplication saying, "Sir, sir, how much can a man take?" All this after only one minute.

Still he was an ex Gordon player, so I guess old habits die hard.

Rod Hard

I thought Digger was in Pt Macquarie. I came across him there with Johnny McKeough when we had the first ASOPA reunion there in 2003. Apart from Mark Harris (I had the pleasure of marking him in the 1969 Grand Final where Paga beat Kone), there were other Kangaroos who played in PNG.

Bobby Gierke played for Paga, as did Bruce Pollard(severely overweight and well past his prime). And who can forget characters like Mike Phillips. And I suppose an icon of the times was Barry Van Heekeran, who came back to Sydney and became part of the Easts Coaching staff for many years.

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