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October 11, 2008

Goodna Rugby League hails its greatest team of all time

From The Courier-Mail of 11 October 2008:

Tradition, family rule at Goodna Rugby League Club

Bernie Pramberg

HENRY Jorgensen and his mates used to tie their horses to a hitching rail and then run out for a game of footy for Goodna Rugby League Club.

Henry's son Ray captained the club to its first A grade premiership in the traditionally tough Ipswich competition in 1969.

These days, Ray Jorgensen, 64, delights in turning up to watch his grandsons play junior league in the club colours.

Ray Jorgensen one of Goodna Rugby
League Club's stalwarts.

Since 1912, there's been plenty of blood, sweat and bruises on Goodna's picturesque ground.

Backing on to the Brisbane River and surrounded by jacaranda trees which are now in splendid bloom, Goodna is unashamedly a battling, blue-collar club.

If rugby league is the working man's game, then Goodna typifies the game's heartland.

Next Friday, Jorgensen and 200 others will celebrate the naming of the club's greatest team.

One of Goodna's proudest sons, Noel "Ned" Kelly, will be there as captain of the side.

"Ned played his early football here and then went to Ipswich Brothers where he went on to represent Australia," Jorgensen recalled.

"He comes to all our dos and they named a street at the end of the oval after him."Just as well Kelly is tough - it's going to be a busy day.

After the Goodna lunch, (which usually extends way beyond sunset), he will go to a Brothers function where their "team of the century" will be announced.

Jorgensen is also an ex-Brothers player, winning a premiership in 1967 and representing Ipswich in Bulimba Cup matches.

"I got married and moved to Redbank," he said.

"Once the Goodna blokes found out I was living locally they approached me to come down and help start their first A grade team in '68.

"There were no hard feelings when I left Brothers, and coming here was the best move of my life. I've made lifelong friends. There's a real spirit here.

"This is how it goes at Goodna - if someone's wife gets sick people phone up and send flowers. One of the blokes wants his ashes thrown on the field when he dies, another one has it written in his will that the Goodna song be sung at his funeral.

"On game day there are probably 50 or 60 old Goodna players on the hill having a great afternoon. On Saturday mornings, a lot of us get there to watch our grandsons. It's a real family atmosphere."

Jorgensen said some players signed by the club in the 1970s who had secured employment through officials or supporters were still working in the same jobs and raising families in the district.

Several players from the 1968 inaugural premiership side have been named in Goodna's greatest team.

Jorgensen has vivid memories of that season.

"Goodna had a lot of local talent and got Warren Beck from Brisbane Wests as coach in '69," he said.

"We had the skills, but needed better conditioning and Warren introduced a different attitude to training.

"We played RAAF in the grand final and they flew blokes in from all over Australia to play. They even had jets from Amberley do a flyover just before kick-off. It was a big occasion, but we won the match."

The late Noel "Chips" Harrington, who later became a cult figure in Brisbane club football, played in the premiership side with fullback Max Henderson, who was on $2 a goal, centre Roy Kippen, five-eighth Ken Bretherton, second-rowers Rod Hoffmeister and Ron Daylight, and player-coach Beck - all members of Goodna's greatest team.

Jorgensen coached the team in 1970 when the club lost key players to other clubs."We had to rebuild and Eddie Maizey came in as coach and turned the club around," he said.

"Eddie had a lot of new ideas and won premierships in 1973 and '74 as well a losing grand final in '75. He had a brilliant coaching career here."

Although the club started in 1912, the greatest team has been selected from players since World War II because many early records were lost in the 1974 flood.

The team is: Max Henderson; Frank Castles, Roy Kippen, Barry Rissman, Barry Butler; Ken Bretherton, Craig Wehrman; Noel "Chips" Harrington (dec'd), Noel Kelly, Ray Jorgensen, Rod Hoffmeister, Ron Daylight (dec'd), Harry Naylor.

Reserves: Bill McKee (dec'd), Warren Beck, Steven Pierce, Jeff Johnson.

Coach: Eddie Maizey (dec'd).

Strapper-trainer: Dick Gunthorpe (dec'd).

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