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From the archives: Errol Slingsby

If you were in the Easts Tigers team in the 1970s then life was pretty good as you marched to September and a sunny Lang Park year after year.

Grand finals and premierships were there for the taking and Errol Slingsby was front and centre, rucking it forward to the delight of the Stones Corner faithful.

Errol Slingsby Q&A

How did a Gold Coast kid end up at the Easts Tigers?

I was playing at Southport and I moved to Brisbane to go to teachers' college. I was a member of Kurrawa Surf Club and who else should be a member of Kurrawa Surf Club but John Lang. I was telling him how I was keen to play football in Brisbane and I didn’t really know too much about Brisbane clubs and he kindly steered me towards the Tigers. I went to the Tigers and played lower grades and then played A grade in 1974.

Can you remember your debut?

Valleys at Valleys in 1974 and I was knocked out when I tackled John McCabe head on. Des Morris was coming back from injury and I made my debut against a great Valleys side. So I don’t remember a lot, but I remember that much. I came to after fulltime.

1976, 1977 and 1978 grand finals - it was a grand old time at Stones Corner.

It was a great time to be a Tiger. I came off the bench in 1976 against a great Wests team, 1977 I played half the game and '78 I missed with a broken jaw. The Tigers had such a great culture in those teams all the way through the club.
1977 John Abbott did his shoulder, so I was the only replacement for both teams and came on just before half time.

1977 has to be one the greatest comebacks ever. You’re last after six rounds without a win, then win 13 of 14 and you win 17-13 over Dolphins and win reserve grade and under 21. Was there any doubt when you were 0-6?

No, I can’t remember any at all. You always felt like Des Morris and John Lang were in control of everything. They instilled confidence in everyone. Grand final day in Brisbane was a great day, 37,000 people at Lang Park on a Sunday afternoon. Third grade lost to Wests 22-14, but we won reserve grade 17-16 over Souths, then of course beat Redcliffe in A grade.

1982 State League and you get over for a try in the final over Redcliffe?

I had played very poorly up until that try. Paul Khan put me over for a try and I have run about three metres to score and wrap the game up. I think if I hadn’t scored that try, I would have been in reserve grade the next week. It was great to win the first State League competition. We played Toowoomba in Toowoomba and
the Gold Coast on the Coast and Wide Bay at Lang Park, so it was great to play those areas.

Who is your favourite ever Tiger?

That’s a hard question, I played there for nine years and love the place and all the people but Rod Morris was someone I wanted to be like and play like. He was such a great player and I always thought if I could model my play on anyone it would be Rod Morris.

Where are your grand final jumpers now?

Framed at my son’s house, he has them in his pool room.

How’d teaching go with football?

Teaching was a great profession for football. Students were pretty understanding when I limped into work on Monday or had a few stitches. When I finished at teachers' college, I had done one year at Easts and went in and said to admin 'I am a chance to get posted anywhere in Queensland at the end
of this year, so just letting you know I might have to leave'. Tigers said 'we will look into it' and magically I never got posted too far from Easts while I was playing. I think someone made a phone call to the department.

Who did you play with or against that would be a star in 2023?

Wayne Lindenberg could be transported to any era at any time and he would be an absolute star. Man of the match in the 1977 grand final and it wasn’t just his try just after half time. It was the way he controlled everything. He was so quick thinking and moving. The way he went around Tony Obst in the grand final was class in 1977 and then again in 1983 he’s doing it all over again. Two grand finals six years apart and same result. 

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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