Survivors recall golden age

ON June 7 at her home in Dalby, Sheila McVeigh hosted a reunion luncheon for the remaining seven members of the undefeated senior Allora rugby league team in the Pittsworth and district competition.

The competition featured teams from Allora, Clifton, Pittsworth, Millmerran, Oakey and CecilBrook (Brookstead and Cecil Plains).

The team won the Burns & Barret Cup, McGrath Shield and the Hotel Victory Shield and rarely had their tryline crossed. Well known Queensland and local football identity, the late Colin (Stumpy) Laws, always maintained this team was as good as any other Allora team, if not the best.

The seven members were Rob Nielson (Toowoomba), 84, Pat McVeigh (Dalby), 81, Mick Hughes (Chinchilla), 81, Tom McVeigh (Brisbane), 80, Murray Robin (Allora), 79, Kev McVeigh (Dalby), 78, and John Croke (Warwick), 76. Much hilarity was generated when the talks centred on the abilities of the various players.

The gathering was told that June Croke, John’s wife, was eternally grateful to the team as John, being but a boy at the time, was told what to do, keep quiet, and be obedient.

He carries these qualities still and June acknowledges we taught him well as he has never forgot lessons and practices he was taught. All agreed that if selected in a team to oppose Rob Nielsen, the players would take a “sickie” as he was a ruthless tackler.

Pat McVeigh could kick goals from anywhere and was a superb front-on tackler – they never got past him. He was always spick and span with bootlaces ‘Persil white’ but did not look in the mirror before a game.

Mick Hughes could never have been an accountant as he was never satisfied with obtaining his share of the ball as the hooker as Mick believed his half share should be 80 per cent in his favour.

Most times he did but occasionally only got 75 per cent and he would not be pleased. Modern day scribes would say he had a habit of cheating but Mick declared it was not cheating to bend the rules.

Murray Robin was a no-nonsense halfback with a beautiful pass and adored making breaks down the blind side of the scrum.

Murray has never heard of the words “backward step” because he never took one of those. Given his outstanding achievements in the boxing ring and on a variety of sporting arenas, he is regarded as one of Allora’s leading allround sportsmen.

Kev McVeigh, it was recalled, scored several tries during the season by running the whole length of the field after stealing the ball when the opposition was threatening the Allora tryline.

The others reminded Kev that it was easy for him to do that as he could never run out of “gas” as he would have a couple of bottles of soft drink before he went on the field.

He was also taught obedience, given he was only a boy like Robin Nielsen. On the wing, Kev would run over the top of rivals but would say “sorry” when the damage was done.

There was total agreement that Tom McVeigh was to give orders and tell the others what to do. However, they qualified it a little by agreeing he must have done it well as the team was undefeated.

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