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From the archives: Campbell 'Zulu' Dews

From 1979 the chant of 'Zulu' reverberated around grounds in Brisbane for Campbell Dews, a cult hero for the Devils faithful.

A famous 1980 premiership left the Devils wanting more and more from the big man and he delivered.

Campbell Dews Q&A

1979 you come to the Devils; how did Bob Bax get you to Bishop Park from Cronulla?

It was through the Bax and Jack Gibson connection. I played Flegg and Presidents Cup for the Sharks and I had heard of the Devils and an opportunity came up and I took it to come to Brisbane in 1979. It’s one of the best moves ever, I have been here ever since.

Why Zulu?

You wouldn’t believe it now but I had a massive head of hair in high school so my PE teacher called me Zulu because of my size and afro. I came up to Brisbane and Billy Shepherd is handing out jumpers before reserve grade and said 'who the hell would name their kid Campbell Dews'? I said 'that’s me, but just call me Zulu'. Campbell wasn’t too common in 1979.

Graham Lowe was in his first year in Brisbane too, how did you find Lowe?

Graham Lowe was such a brilliant league mind, he was so smart. We had complete faith in anything he said. Lowe turned Norths around.

When did you think the 1980 grand final was going to be a win?

The things that stand out in 1980, we were huge underdogs and we had lost to Souths three times in 1980. I remember I was working at Sanyo in the warehouse and a mate has rung work on the Wednesday to say they just said on the 4IP league show that Geoff Naylor, Billy Johnstone and Dave Brown are going to smash you. I thought: 'right'. I remember the crowd that day was busting at Lang Park and Lowey said 'go out and have a look at the crowd. If you can’t get up today, you never will'. I loved playing at Lang Park.

Do you have your 1980 grand final jumper?

No. I swapped with Geoff Naylor, so I have his Souths Dollar Curtains sponsored jumper here. It was just what you did then.

Talk me through Mad Monday 1980; how was it back at Bishop Park?

There was a sea of people at Bishop Park that night, and then the next day I don’t think any of them went home. I was walking along Shaw Road in Nundah on the Monday and this bloke comes running out of his house with a 'tallie' and he says we have to drink this together. I said no mate, I can’t, I haven’t had any sleep. He said 'you have to, I won $7000 on Saturday and I am going to buy a new Kingswood with the money so I owe you beer'.  I am sitting under this guy’s house at 9.30 in the morning drinking three tallies. That’s what a grand final does to you.

Can you remember when you realised Mark Graham was a different type of player?

Mark Graham was such a great buy for Norths, he would be a superstar today. He was a big guy who was very hard man. He was super skilful and smart. If Mark said run here and do this, you knew he was right. He taught me to run at space.

Mark Murray was a young captain in 1980 - what did you learn from Muppet?

Mark was young but he was an old head even if his age wasn’t. He was the coach on the field. He was excellent at directing you around the field and just being a calm voice of reason.

Bishop Park isn’t for everyone. What’s your favourite memory of a day at Bishop Park?

I got a ball against Easts from Nev Draper and ran away to score at the pig pen end and the chant went up 'Zulu, Zulu' so I loved it. I didn’t score too many tries.

If you had to play tomorrow and could name your Devils pack, who would you pick?

Mark Graham at lock, Shane Bernardin, Greg Conescu, and myself in the front row and my second row would be Trevor Gillmeister and Nev Draper in the second row.

Who gave you some problems?

Bryan Niebling and Tom Duggan were two guys that just never went away. They were both tough and did their job.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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