50 year reunion for 1969 Mount Isa Foley Shield team

The victorious 1969 Mount Isa Foley Shield team is organising a 50 year reunion in September 2019.

The reunion is being held from September 20-22, with a dinner to be held on Saturday, September 21 at Brothers Rugby League Club in Townsville. 

They won the grand final 12-9 over Townsville in front of a 9000-strong crowd, which was the first win for the team that went on to be dominant for the next 10 to 15 years.

Tom Tassell, Life Member of QRL Northern Division who passed away earlier this year, scored the first try of the epic final for the Isa.

In only their second year in the Foley Shield competition, Mount Isa had earned their spot in the grand final after narrowly missing out in 1968.

Townsville boasted four North Queensland players, while many of their players had grand final experience.

For Mount Isa; Les Smith, Bruce Phillips, Terry Hammond and Gavin Sheppard had all played for North Queensland during the season and provided the team with some big game experience.

Two years prior, Hammond had also represented the North against New Zealand during their tour.

Mount Isa halfback and former Innisfail player Ken Mucken was the only team member who had played in a Foley Shield grand final.

In the opening minutes of the final, Townsville kept Mount Isa pinned deep in their own half. 

Townsville remained steadfast in their defence until Mike Bakhash was tackled just short of the try line before Tassell dived over from dummy-half to score the first try.

Bob Wilson, captain and five-eighth, slotted the conversion from near the side line which gave Mount Isa an early 5-0 lead.

Townsville's only points in the first half was a penalty kick before Mucken slotted a field goal to put Mount Isa out to a 7-2 lead at halftime.

Solid defence was the key for both teams in the second half and the game was evenly poised. 

Mount Isa's defence was resolute and Townsville's only points came through a field goal which edged them within one try of Mount Isa.

Despite some desperate defence by Townsville, Mount Isa then scored through Phillips.

Townsville struck back with their first try through Lyle Humphries, but a wayward conversion had the score at 10-9.

When Wilson slotted a crucial penalty kick, Mount Isa moved even closer to victory.

With a chance to level the scores in the dying minutes, Townsville threw everything at Mount Isa, but a try scoring tackle by Sheppard on captain-coach Ben Wall saved the Miners day.

Mount Isa bravely held on until the fulltime siren which introduced the side as the new force in the Foley Shield competition.

Hammond's outstanding defensive, attacking and tackling efforts earned him being rewarded with the Hanush blazer.

The winning Mount Isa team comprised of long time Brisbane Broncos CEO Bruno Cullen, Mike Bakhash, Gavin Sheppard, George Herwig, Bruce Phillips, Bob Wilson (captain), Ken Mucken, Mel Brosnan, William Bawden, Brian Woodcock, Tom Tassell, Lindsay Smith and Terry Hammond. Reserves were Col Wilson, Kevin Weinert, Ron Slater, Stan Suchowiecki and Ray Blackman.

Reunion organisers are still trying to locate two players in Kevin Weinert and Bruce Phillips.

If anyone knows these two former players, they are asked to get them to contact John Moran on 0459 105 603.

They can also contact QRL Northern Division on (07) 4771 6166 or via email: s.nosworthy@qrl.com.au who will happily forward the information onto reunion organisers.

Main image: The victorious 1969 Mount Isa team with the Hanush and Foley Shields after they defeated Townsville 12 - 9 in the grand final.