Murwillumbah Brothers RLFC members from the 1961 Grand Final team. Kevin Dawson, Jim Sheridan, Tom Butcher, Ted Conlan and Brian Lazen.
Murwillumbah Brothers RLFC members from the 1961 Grand Final team. Kevin Dawson, Jim Sheridan, Tom Butcher, Ted Conlan and Brian Lazen. Scott Powick

Brothers legends set to celebrate

TEN members of the Murwillumbah Brothers first grade side which won the Tweed Rugby League premiership in 1961 will be on hand to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the feat at Brothers Leagues Club next month.

Club stalwart Barry Sweetenham, who played a handful of first grade games for the club out of the reserve grade side that season, has done a remarkable job in tracking down members.

Sweetenham, part and parcel of the club since its formation in 1958 as a player, official and ardent supporter, sought them here, sought them there, sought them everywhere to round-up all but one player and the coach of the team which won Brothers' inaugural top grade trophy.

"Unfortunately Ron Sadler is very ill in a Tweed Heads nursing home and is incapable of getting to the reunion and sadly, another of our number, Lance Boyd, has passed on," Sweetenham said.

"The bloke I couldn't track down was the coach, Bert Holcroft - Bert coached us to another premiership in 62 but then we lost contact with him - we reckon he must have returned to England."

Sweetenham recently discovered the sad news that another team member, Neil Corcoran, had also passed away last year.

Ron Sadler and another member of the champion sides of 61 and '62, utility back Cliff Boyd, ventured down to Eastern Suburbs in Sydney - both gave long service to the Roosters and the robust and skilful Sadler was selected in the centres on the 1967-68 Kangaroo Tour.

"A good few of us still live locally and that made it a lot easier to track everyone down," Sweetenham said.

"Someone knew someone who knew someone and before too long, we found everyone except Corco (Neil Corcoran) and Bert Holcroft."

Sweetenham was able to organise five players who live locally to get along to Brothers Leagues Club during the week to pose for our photograph.

When asked did the team go through the 1961 season undefeated, Kevin "Smokey" Dawson replied, "just the once, we lost on a bog down at Mullumbimby."

"No, Cudgen knocked us over - I'm certain of it," chipped in Jim Sheridan.

Memories though won't dim when these septuagenarians (props please note: people in their seventies) get together on October 8 - they'll fondly reminisce about those halcyon days and tell a host of porkies about their sporting prowess.

But no porkie here - they were terrific footballers - must have been to beat a white-hot Tweed Heads Seagulls side 11-4 in the big one - the Seagulls' line-up included two of the finest footballers to ever lace on boots in this region, the brothers Hawkey, Geoff and Ron.



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