Sport

Class of 1959 an inspiration

MY GENERATION: Johnathan Thurston and Noel Kelly enjoy themselves at the Maroons’ 2013 State of Origin launch on Monday night.
MY GENERATION: Johnathan Thurston and Noel Kelly enjoy themselves at the Maroons’ 2013 State of Origin launch on Monday night. Scotts Shotz Photography

FOR a young generation of rugby league fans, Queensland's State of Origin dominance over New South Wales seems almost endless.

For almost eight years Queensland has reigned supreme in the battle of the states.

But it was not always so.

In fact, it was the dominance of New South Wales that led to a change in the eligibility laws and birth of the State of Origin concept.

Before then, players represented the state they played in.

As the Sydney clubs grew rich on poker machine revenue, they increasingly poached the best players from north of the Tweed.

It was part of the reason Queensland failed to win a series against NSW between 1959 and the start of Origin in 1980.

On Monday night, the survivors of that 1959 team were honoured at the function to mark the announcement of this year's Queensland State of Origin team.

Even back then there was resentment towards the NSW faction that seemed to dominate team selections.

Gary Parcell, who was one of the 1959 Ipswich trio along with Dud Beattie and Noel Kelly, which made up the Queensland front row, remembers it well.

"In 1954 I played my first game for Queensland," Parcell said.

"They wouldn't let us play on the Sydney Cricket Ground because they reckoned we weren't good enough.

"From 1954-58, we got belted by everyone."

In 1959, with Parcell united with his Ipswich teammates Beattie and Kelly, it was a different story.

Queensland won the series 3-1 yet could only get seven players into the 26-man Ashes touring squad.

New South Welshman Darryl Chapman got picked ahead of the more deserving Queenslander Mickey Shannon, "because he could play piano," Parcell said.

The Australian forward pack for the opening Test of the tour, against France, contained five of the seven Queenslanders in the squad, with Johnny Raper the lone New South Welshman.

The 1959 tour was the last time Australia lost an Ashes series to Great Britain in England, going down 2-1.

After winning the first Test 22-14, the Kangaroos lost the second by a point (11-10) and went down 18-12 in the third.

Kelly, Beattie and Parcell were reunited at Monday night's function.

Parcell, the only one of the three still living in the Ipswich region, recalled how Kelly got his first representative start, taking some credit himself.

Kelly joined the exodus to the Sydney competition in 1961, becoming a legend of the Western Suburbs club and forging the career that earned him selection in the Australian team of the century.

But heading into the 1959 season, he was behind Denis "Boxhead" Jackwitz in the pecking order for both Ipswich and Queensland.

"Boxhead was a better hooker, and quicker," Parcell said.

"But Kelly was heavier.

"Boxhead got hurt.

"A draught horse stepped on his leg or something and Jack Morgan (president of the Ipswich Rugby League) rang me and said 'what about that bad bugger form Goodna, isn't he always getting chased by the cops?'

"I said 'don't worry about that, he's got plenty of ability and can fight, just put him in the side'."

On Monday Parcell and his wife Wyn were picked up by a limousine and driven to the function where Parcell and his 1959 comrades were honoured.

It was a well-deserved tribute.

Topics:  editors picks, gary parcell, kangaroos (rugby league), maroons, noel kelly, nsw blues, state of origin



LETTER: Bats were there before development

Bats on their nightly eat and feast mission.

Who allowed development in an area where the bats live?

The stately manors of early Ipswich

STATELY MANOR: Booval House was built more than 160 years ago and remains as one of the prestige homes in Ipswich.

Built more than 160 years ago and still going strong

Police appeal for witnesses to fatal motorcycle crash

Scene of a fatality where male motorcycle rider lost his life on Augusta Parkway at Brookwater.Photo: Contributed

Police have ruled out a white ute from their investigations.

Local Partners

What's on the small screen this week

Jessica Marais in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

A NEW romantic comedy debuts while footy codes ramp up for finals.

Airbourne talk drop bears, beer and taxes

Airbourne have a new album coming out and a new tour on the way.  Photo Contributed

Airbourne release album for the aussie battler

Pippa Middleton had 3000 private photos stolen

Author Pippa Middleton

Author's account hacked to access 3000 private photos

Gruen star discovers the body's limits in new hit TV show

Todd Sampson tries out MMA fighting during TV series BodyHack.

Gruen star pushes the limits in new TV series

Deftones return to Australia with string of dates

Deftones are back in town. Photo Contributed

World renowned nu-metal pioneers return

How the Gruen guy's t-shirts took on a life of their own

Documentary filmmaker and Gruen panellist Todd Sampson.

What started out as simple workwear has become a trademark

Investors out-bid first-home buyers in booming market

Housing generic.

Ipswich's housing market is putting more cash into sellers’ pockets

Another Ripley development

THE ENTRANCE: An overview of the last planned development for the fast growing Ripley area.

85 more home lots released

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.