The Broads: West Wyalong’s Hard Corps

West Wyalong was a hard place. In this driest part of Maher Cup country the mallee is more scrub than forest.  When disturbed the fine sandy red soil generates dust that just hangs. Making a living was hard, the football fields were hard, the man were expected to be hard.   The hardest of them often had the surname Broad. Three generations over five decades, thirteen family members, more if you include the Broad girls’ sons and the in-laws, were at the heart of the town’s Maher Cup passion.

The Broads first came to notice outside the Bland Shire when four of five brothers: George, Fred, Alf and John made up most of the forward pack in the town’s 1925 Maher Cup winning team.

Source: Ancestry.com

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Phil Regan of Glebe and Cootamundra

Phil Regan (top left) lead the undefeated Maher Cup team in 1923. Others in shot are Ray Sheedy, Eric Weissel and Curtis 'Dick' Pellow. Source: Wal Galvin collection

Phil Regan (top left) led the undefeated Cootamundra Maher Cup team in 1923. Others in shot are Ray Sheedy, Eric Weissel and Curtis ‘Dick’ Pellow. Source: Wal Galvin collection

He may or may not have been the first paid player-coach to leave  a top city club and take a country team to a higher level, but he was the best. Within weeks of taking up the job in July 1922 he had transformed a tired Cootamundra team into champions.

For the next five years he caught the train back to Coota for the football season, took board at a hotel and inspired and developed the local lads. Phil Regan led the team in 54 Maher Cup matches, prevailing in all but seven. Continue reading

The Poetry of Rugby League

In Maher Cup days many punters penned poetry which ended up published in the local paper.  A sampling of these can be found here.

The following (probably unpublished) verse from 1935 is not about the Maher Cup, but is posted as it reveals much about the casual attitude to the violence of football at the time, and the camaraderie that necessitated that everyone be assigned a nickname. Continue reading

Bill Maizey Popular Pugilist

Bill Maizey

Bill Maizey. Source: Ancestry.com

If you were a tough enough to play Maher Cup you may as well make a quid in the ring as well. If you were good enough the money was better and boxing was probably not much harder than Rugby League Group 9 style.

Men successful in both arenas included Bill Brogan and Baden Broad from West Wyalong, Woody Field and Jockey Bourke at Gundagai, Harden’s Bernie McGrath, Coota legend Herb Narvo, Roy Plummer down at Wagga, Bob Banks from Tumut, Snowy Breasley at Junee, cherry man Alby Arabin and the notorious William George Maizey who played for Cowra in the 1930s. Continue reading

40 Internationals Who Played Maher Cup

In Maher Cup country you may have had to be a football hero to get along with a beautiful girl…as the song goes, but you didn’t need to be an International Australian representative. However 40 men on the Kangaroos Register (13 locals and 27 imports) did both represent the nation and play Maher Cup. In some 314 matches (43% of the total), at least one past, current or future international participated. On 23 September 1925 at West Wyalong four such men took to the field: Bill Brogan and Dick Vest for the home team, and Eric Weissel and Jack Kingston for the challengers.  All were locals.  It was indicative of the quality in the early days and a hint of why the Cup became such a phenomenon.  Having phenomenal players helps. Continue reading

New Gallery

You may notice changes in the Maher Cup Gallery page.  A separate gallery has been created for each town with the pictures presented as a controllable slideshow.temp3

If you have pictures you want to contribute to the site you could scan them and email to me at neijpollock@gmail.com, or, upload them on the Maher Cup Country Facebook page, post them to me (I promise to promptly send everything back after scanning) at 6/51 Piper St Lilyfield 2040, or call on 0448-440-110, as I can  travel to scan pictures and collect information. Regards Neil

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The 2016 Maher Cup Reunion 13 February

Well it’s all done and dusted and a good time was had by one and all at the Cootamundra Country Club.   At least 180 folk came to swap yarns, plus many of the visiting Temora bowlers joined in.  Below are some links to local media reports.

The Harden-Murrumburrah Twin Town Times has a video in its report featuring the chief organiser Tom Spain.

Coota men with the Cup

Coota men with the Cup – Source: Cootamundra Herald

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‘Scoop’ Sullivan’s Talk at the 2001 Reunion

Vale 'Scoop' Sullivan

Vale ‘Scoop’ Sullivan

Below is a speech by Gundagai Independent Publisher Pat ‘Scoop’ Sullivan delivered at the 2001 Maher Cup reunion at Tumut. The 400 strong crowd responded with a rousing ovation. Scoop’s talk was edited and published in the Tumut & Adelong Times on 6 November 2001 – from which it is reproduced below.

Sadly ‘Scoop’ passed away in 2015. His talk vividly illustrates why he is such a loss to the Maher Cup community.  At the 2016 reunion at Cootamundra Barry Madigan read Scoop’s words to a most receptive crowd.  Here they are, with some images added: Continue reading

Harden Brothers in Arms

This great video from about 1960 is courtesy of Matt from the Twin Town Times. It includes Harden v Temora and Harden v Young. How many players can you identify?

Eric Kuhn and Friends

Courtesy of the Twin Town Times this video pays homage to Harden’s ‘Mighty Atom’ Eric Kuhn. You will also find Maher Cup Reunion organiser, player and referee Tom Spain reminiscing, while local legends Tom ‘Bristles’ Apps, Nick Cullen, and Paul ‘Wings’ McCarthy all put in an appearance.