The inaugural All Stars game on Saturday night was spectacular both on the field and off the field.
Toowoomba and South West region can be proud of their Indigenous community and their culture was on display at Clive Berghofer Stadium when the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander South West Emus took on The Toowoomba Rugby League All Stars.
A huge crowd greeted the entertainment when Under 16, Under 18, Men’s and Women’s teams fought courageously in each of the four games.
The All Star match was the highlight and the prelude dances where something to watch when the dancers warmed the crowd for when the South West Emus players performed their own warrior dance to motivate everyone in the stadium.
The All Star team scored the first points when Ricky Davies and Billy Jackwitz crossed the line while Wattles Import halfback Jordan Gale dominated the first two quarters, guiding his side to pinpoint accuracy.
Premiership-winning side Pittsworth influenced the next try when Jack Dempsey kicked for fullback Jeff Webber to hand off to Daniel York to score out wide.
The 18-0 lead did not reflect the game at this stage and although the Emus took a while to get into the game, they did not lack enthusiasm. They registered their first points when Highfields hooker Wayne Weribone scrambled over to make the score 18-4 at halftime.
The third quarter was the best of the match, with the Emus settling down and playing their best football led by captain Corey Blades.
A turning point was when All Stars had room out wide and Steve Franciscus found space and they looked all but assured of going over. However, dynamic winger Charlie Adams popped an intercept out of the sky to run 60m to get the Emus back in the game. 18-10.
The last quarter saw the Emus continuing their momentum and with 15 minutes left, Jaiden Davis backed up Blades and found a gap inches from the sideline to race down the field to find another young gun in Wally Pegler to get the Emus within two points. It was the try of the match and it pleased the crowd.
All Stars’ Gale again lifted his side and sent Webber in to stretch the lead. Oakey’s Aaron Cherry put the lead out to 12 points with a good try.
Emu’s courageous captain Blades scored three minutes from fulltime to give the Emus a sniff, but the clock beat them with the All Stars winning a closely fought contest 28-20.
Blades, Pegler, Davis and Marc McGrady all played well for the Emus whilst Gale, Man of the Match Ricky Davies, Jeff Webber and Daniel York were the best for the All Stars.
Both coaches, Eugene Sneddon (All Stars) and Tom Clevin (Emus) praised their respective teams and expressed their honour in being involved in this historic match.
All Stars 28 (Ricky Davies, Billy Jackwitz, Daniel York, Jeff Weber, Aaron Cherry tries Jordan Gale 4 goals) def South West Emus 20 (Wayne Weribone, Charlie Adams, Corey Blades, Wally Pegler tries Wally Pegler 2 goals)
Women: Central Division All Stars 24 defeated South West Emus 10
Under 18: Western Mustangs 48 defeated South West Emus 6
Under 16: Western Mustangs 28 defeated South West Emus 14
In a prelude to the inaugural TRL All Star V South West Emus match on Saturday night, the Toowoomba and South West Team of the Century was announced at a function at Jack Martin Oval.
The team is as follows:
1. Cec Docherty*
1. Rick Weribone*
2. Robert Clevin
3. Wayne Weribone
4. Laurie Blake
5. Gary Hazard
6. Tom Clevin
7. Dick Rose (c)
8. Cliff Weatherall
9. Randall Taylor
10. Jack Gibbs
11. Bradley George
12. Sabastian Rankine
13. Ron Willy Weatherall
14. Buddy Duncan
15. Jeff Miller
16. Bill Gorringe
17. Ricky Hazard
18. Alec Young
19. Jeff Slater
20. James Hood
The team was picked for years between 1970 and the present.
*Rick Weribone and Cec Doherty shared the fullback position.