Coalstars remember frightening trip
COALSTARS football teams used to make regular trips, playing interstate sides in the state-wide Ampol Cup.
Former player Ross Hallett recalls one of the more eventful visits to Mt Isa for a Cup qualifying match in 1973.
Coalstars were sixth in Division 1 at the time when informed of the Mt Isa trek.
"It was like going into another country and we were foreigners,'' Hallett said.
"In years previous to that, they would send a top side up like Hellenic, Merton-Easts, Azurri to beat them in Mt Isa because then they wouldn't have to bring them down here for the next round.''
The 1973 Coalstars team was a gun side with the likes of Alex Cummings, Barry Payne, Kevin Caldwell, Ric Kitching, Barry Shreiweis, Frank Johnston, Rob Hughes, Errol Kreis and Hallett.
Former QT football writer and golf fanatic John Roderick was the coach.
Coalstars even took their own referee John Woods for the game.
However, the Mt Isa side they tackled was rich in quality because, according to Hallett, they had a lot of players from Ireland and other nationalities.
The home side's fans also didn't appreciate Coalstars winning 2-1 in extra time.
"They wanted our scalps. They wanted to kill us,'' Hallett recalled.
"They had a barbecue planned. That was cancelled.
"We had to walk back to the hotel.
"The bus was cancelled.''
The Coalstars crew managed to secure a keg to consume back at the hotel, fearful of going out in Mt Isa.
However, a bit later, some Mt Isa players turned up at the hotel and apologised for the behaviour of their supporters.
Any ill-feeling from the game was resolved over a beer with the victorious Coalstars players.
Coalstars lost their next Ampol Cup game - a quarter-final at Perry Park.
The proud Ipswich club of the past later won the Ampol Cup in 1986 and 1987.
Today is the last chance to RSVP for the Coalstars 50 reunion on August 30 at the Ipswich Knights clubhouse.
All past players, families and people associated with Coalstars over the years are invited. The festivities start at 3pm.
RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone Ross Hallett on 0409 000166 or Peter Hallett on 0409 201077.