The following has been prepared with thanks to Susan Chambers and the wonderful resources that her father Wal Galvin diligently and painstakingly collected.
A football club was first formed at Cootamundra in 1882. The committee then debated what rules to adopt. Although they decided on the ‘Victorian game’ rather than Rugby the team did play at least one game of Rugby that year. In 1885 the ‘Our Boys‘ team provided the code with some permanence. By the 1895 Rugby was well established and a second team, the Pirates, enabled a home town derby.
Cootamundra Rugby Team 1914
There was optimism prior to World War I that Coota was ripe for Rugby League, which had by then replaced Union in West Wyalong, Barmedman and Temora. However the club voted unanimously in 1914 to remain with Union. Again in 1919 the five local teams stuck with the old code, but the move was underway. The first recorded match clearly described as Rugby League was a Seniors vs Juniors match on 30 May 1919. The players reported they preferred the League game. In July when the Bing Boys went to over to Young to play the local Kangaroos they played Union. The next week they hosted the Temora Juniors and played League. In 1919, during a season truncated by the outbreak of the deadly ‘Spanish Flu’, those games that were played where mostly with 15 men.
The Junior club 1917, still playing 15 a-side
In 1920, banned from playing at Albert Park on Sundays, League games were held on private property, particularly at Quinlan’s paddock (which later became the aerodrome). Trips to the nearby and newly League village of Bethungra were common. On 24 July at last 1,000 people saw the popular Bing Boys defeat Yass at Rugby League on a Saturday at Albert Park. The Boys were the rage of Coota, and they liked to play League and on Sundays at Quinlan’s paddock. By 1921 the change had been quietly put into place – all team lists printed in the Cootamundra Herald in that year included just 13 players.
Cootamundra Cadets team of 1921 which included Eric Weissel; from left to right from back row: S. Drennan, T.Maher, C.Kelly, Tom Ryan, L.Deal, Glenn Evans (referee), Tom McGuigan, Eric Weissel (aged 18), L.Ryan, Jack Sissian, S.Whealy (secretary & treasurer), F.Smith (captain), J.Maffersoni (president), R.Cohen, Percy Mills, S.O’Neill, K.Cohen (mascot), Sid Chambers, Mick Rooney. Source: S.G. Chambers, Cootamundra.
A Cootamundra Juniors team from 1922. Tom McDevitt, Eric Weissel, Sid Chambers, Mick Rooney, Brian O’Connor, Tom Doran, Tom Ryan, Jack Sissian, Percy Mills, Dave Young, John Thomas, Tom McGuigan, Bill Kelly, Jack Deal, John Weissel. Sources: Carmel O’Rouke on Cootamundra Remembers via Facebook and the Wal Galvin collection
Teams for the Cootamundra Juniors vs Seniors match on 13 August 1922 and Juniors vs West Wyalong Juniors on 27 August 1922. Both matches were played at the Cootamundra West Ground. In the first Seniors won 14-12 and Wyalong went down 33-5. Four Juniors played in Coota’s first Maher Cup win, at Tumut on 23 August – McDevitt, Weissel, Sissian and O’Connor. Cootamundra won the Juniors Cup final against Temora on 3 September 30-6.
In 1922 Cootamundra lead the way in the professionalisation of football. Phil Regan from Glebe was one of the first paid coaches in country NSW, if not THE first. He believed in fitness and youngsters. He drilled them in technique and they swept all before them. Of course Cootamundra was lucky that the incredible Eric Weissel was one of their own, that Jack Kingston was too, and in an aged Australian Rules player named Bill Lesberg they had a kicker who turned many a game on his skill with either foot, from place kicks and from drop punts. It wasn’t until Temora enticed Eric with an offer too good to refuse and Gundagai got their own supercoach in ‘Chook’ Fraser that Coota’s supremacy was challenged.
The Cootamundra team of 26 Sep 1923 which won the Maher Cup outright. In 1924 they put the money spinner back into play. Back from left – M.J. Ryan (Selector), Mick Tuncheon, P. J. Kiley (Hon Sec), Bill Lesberg, Bob Condon, Charlie Swartzel, D.J. Rand (President), Bernie Kinnane, Walter Farrer (vice President), Frank Delaney (Referee from Sydney). 2nd Row: Fred Hayward, Jack Watson, Phil Regan (Captain-coach), Ray Sheedy, L.T. ‘Dadie’ Quinlan. Front Row: C.H. Inson (Hon Treasurer), Brian O’Connor, Curtis ‘Dick’ Pellow, Eric Weissel, Tom ‘Dipper’ McDevitt. Absent players: Wal Franklin, Phil Freestone, Tom Ryan, J. Large, J. Kelley, Percy Mills, Charlie Schofield. (These would have been players who didn’t play in the particular match but contributed in other games)
This shot of Fisher Park may have been for the England v Cootamundra Combined match of 27 May 1924.
An uncaptioned 1925 team. Guessing some players as follows from left: Curtis ‘Dick’ Pellow, —, — , Eric Weissel, Jack Watson, — , — , Fred Hayward, L.T. ‘Dadie’ Quinlan, Bill Lesberg, Jack Kingston…
A 1926 Cootamundra team: From left – Bill Lesberg, Curtis ‘Dick’ Pellow, Aub Harris, Ray Sheedy, George Purcell, Jack Kingston, Gordon Hinton, Eric Weissel, Reg Ryan, Jack Watson, Bob Condron, L.T. ‘Dadie’ Quinlan, Phil Regan (captain-coach)
Another 1926 Cootamundra side: From left – Captain-coach Phil Regan, Clem Robinson, Jack Kingston, Gordon Hinton, Aub Harris, George Purcell, Reg Large, Eric Weissel, Ray Sheedy, Jack Watson, Fred Hayward, Clarrie Joyce, Bob Tyrell, Curtis ‘Dick’ Pellow.
Over 7000 witnessed the match at Fisher Park on 30 May 1928 between the English and a Group 9 “South-western Districts” side captained by Eric Weissel. The score was 14-14 and the side contained five Cootamundra players.
Sid Harris (captain); Jack James, Jack Walkom, Fred Hayward, Alf Tasker, Jack Dempsey, Gordon Hinton, Algie Faunce, Les Harris, Leo Sheedy, George Purcell, Jack Watson, Bill ‘Chips’ Phillips, A. Trinder. Note that this may not be a Maher Cup team as stated because Bill Lesberg played in all Cup matches in 1929.
This matches the team that defeated West Wyalong on 23 July 1930. Rear from left – ‘Bawly’ Kerr (referee), Alf Tasker, Bill ‘Chips’ Phillips, Jack James, Jack Kingston (captain-coach), Gordon Hinton, Pat Muffett, Jack Walkom, Gordon Torpy: front – Jack Schumack, Jack Watson, Jim McLean (president), Leo Sheedy, Jack Dempsey, Frank Blundell, Les Inwood (strapper).
Cootamundra De La Salle Old Boys 1934. Catholic high schools were great developers of football talent. At least 10 of these boys plus their coach represented in the Maher Cup: from back left to right: Jack Chapman (trainer), B. Hudson, Hugh Kennedy, Des Ewen, Brother Xavier, Des Kennedy, Jack Ewen, Ray Mangan, Herb Schofield (coach); middle row: F. Barrett, L. Lloyd, Stan Roberts, Ted Faulkner (capt), Jim Quinlan, Jack Walsh, Ted Mangan, Frank Holder, Roy Faulkner, Fred Davis. Photo courtesy Mick Ewen.
On 23 June 1935 the Cootamundra team flew on two Butler Air Transport planes to challenge Forbes for the Jack Hore Gold Cup. The Cootamundra Herald thought the team would make history as being “the first to make use of this modern method of travel.”
The team members to fly were: Bill Argaet, Jock Hetherington, Jim Winter (pictured on the left front row), Ray Ward, Clem Scrivener, Fred Thompson, Alf Tasker, W. Ayres, Charlie Rowe, Leo Sheedy, Noel Walpole and Pat Muffett. Other passengers were: Mrs Wally Hayden, Brian O’Connor, Ike Hennessey, Eric Nash, Frank ‘Tax’ Ponting, Arthur Young and mascot Keith Starr. ‘Snowy’ Martin refused to fly and drove to Forbes.
In the 1930s Barmedman, Young, Temora, Tumut and West Wyalong all developed teams that had the measure of Cootamundra. In 1935 Coota imported six players including international Jim Gibb from Newcastle. Local players grumbled about the paid players and after losing the Maher Cup to Tumut amongst (perhaps unfounded) rumours that the imports had ‘sold the game’ the local men forced the club to sack the imports. It took four years before Coota became competitive again.
Cootamundra didn’t form a team for the Maher Cup in 1936 and the Bing Boys were the best team in town. Back from left – B. Sheedy, V. Weymouth, F. Tyrell, A. Powell, A. Kelly, J. Sheehan: Middle – F. Ryan, J. Hardy, E. Marshall, A. Daldy, C. Rowe, Alf Broughton, G. Davis: Front – T. Roberts, W, Haydon (president), Clem Scrivener (captain), S. Haisell (manager) and V. Hugo.
De La Salle Old Boys 1937 or 1938. From back left – Herb Schofield (coach), Bede McDonald, Ken Walsh, Austin Davis, Trev McDonald (marked George on back of photo.), Charlie Faulkner: Middle – Roy Quinn, Des Ewen, Bill Lesberg (Jr), Roy Faulkner. Front: Claude McDonald, Jack Schofield, Jack Flanigan, Ron Hoare
Cootamundra Maher Cup 1940 – picture taken at Fisher Park prior to the game of 21 August against Temora. This team was built largely from the De La Salle Old Boys. Back from left – Jack Walsh, Len Owens, Lenny Rogers, Jack Ewen, Gus Briggs, Roy Faulkner, Ken Walsh; Middle – John ‘Onion’ Bell, Les Klein, Des Ewen, Jim ‘Dol’ Sheehan; Front- Jim Crowe, Alf Broughton, Clem Scrivener (capt.), Fred Tyrell, Arthur ‘Black’ Kelly. Photo originally taken by Mick Nicholson of the Silver Star Cafe is courtesy of Mick Ewen.
As the war got underway rugby league was conscious to be seen as conscientious. The 2LF here is from back left to right: Pat Ryan of Young who gave his name to a kicking competition, Col Hargreaves (Tumut), F. Schultz (Harden), L. Faint (Harden), 2LG general manager G.M.W. Allen, Billy Edwards (Harden), Des Ewen (Coota), Bill Bray (Wyalong), Roy Faulkner (Coota), Guy Gray of Coota – sprint comp. named after him, front row – Jack Ritchens (Young), Clem Scrivener (Coota), Jim Crowe (Coota), Bill Kearney (Young), T. Freney (Young), J. Walsh (Coota).
While the war impacted local football the army took football with it: 56th Battalion Wallgrove Camp team July 1940: Back from left – Kevin Walsh (Cootamundra), Sgt Stan Sly (Wagga), Bill McCrone (Temora): Middle – Ted Bagley, Mal Brentnall and Sid Snell (Wagga), Keogh(?), Geoff Webster (Wagga), Robertson(?): Front – Jack Grogan (Wagga), Archie McGilvray (Wagga), Lt. Byron Crawford, Roy Faulkner (captain, Cootamundra), Lt. Lyons, Ken Walsh (Cootamundra), Ken Burt (Wagga). Roy Faulkner, Lt Crawford and Ken Burt were all killed during the war.
Cootamundra Maher Cup team 1947: Back from left – Walter Cowled (committee), Russel Cohen, Neil McDonell, Doug Wall, Stan McAlister, Bob Gehrig, Bob Hobbs, Kevin Chuck, Harold Thackeray, Frank Schurmer, Geoff Rogers: Front- Ken Mulrooney, Jack Walsh (committee), Alf Broughton, Jack ‘Onion’ Bell, Barry Fuller (ballboy), Herb Narvo (captain-coach), Lance Penny (president), Jim Crowe, Les Wood (selector)
Under Herb Narvo Cootamundra returned to the glory days – obvious from the number of photographs taken.
Cootamundra 1947: Doug Wall, Neil McDonell, Kevin Chuck, Harold Thackeray, Stan McAlister, P. Glanville, Jack ‘Onion’ Bell, Herb Narvo (Capt/Coach) , mascot
Front row: Russell Cohen, Alf Broughton, Bob Hobbs, Jim Crowe & Geoff Rogers. Posted by Cheryl Ramsden on Cootamundra Remembers.
Some Sunday match programmes from 1947, with Junee lead by Joe Jorgenson on 13 July and Tumut on 29 June. Tumut defeated Coota. in the Maher Cup on 16 August.
This photo from the Wal Galvin collection is captioned 1947 and the following people are identified. I’ve put the years that the played Maher Cup for those that did: Rear Left to Right: Gordon Greig (1946), Harry Whitton, ‘Tiny’ Roberts, Jim Crowe (1940-52), Don Foster (1947), Pat Muffett (1930-35), Mick Howse (1948-55), Ray Ward (1927-35), Bob Hobbs (1947-48), Bob Gehrig (1946-48). Centre: Len Strudwick, —-? , Harry Gardiner, Alex Cheshire, Neil McDonell (1945-54) , Oscar Burrows, Ken Mulrooney (1947-49), Vern Taylor (1949-52). Seated: Jacky Myers, Tommy Donoghue, Russell Cohen (1945-51), Tommy Stone, Harold Fuller, Lance Penny, Herb Narvo (1947), Ken Fox, Fred Hayward (1922-31), Doug Wall (1946-48), Fred Smith:Front: Jack Walsh (1937-41)
A proud committee in 1947: Seated from left: Harold Fuller, Harry Pinkstone, Fred Smith, Bob Hobbs. Standing: — , — , Austie Fuller, Phil Moses (in black suit next to Harold Fuller), — , Ray Ward, Harry Whitton (at the back), Fred Hayward, Tiny Roberts, — , —, — , —- , — , — , Jack Malone, — , — , —
In 1948 Cootamundra, under Bob Hobbs, held the Maher Cup for most of the year – and topped it off by thrashing Manly after Herb Narvo’s team had lost by one point in the same game the year before.
A 1949 Cootamundra team with: Back from left – Bede McDonnell (referee), Jack ‘Onion’ Bell, Lionel Wheatley, Keith Tull, John Gillette, Roley McDonell, Mick Howse, Phil Michael, Bill Baker, Jack Malone, unknown: Front – Harold Fuller, Jim Crowe, Jack Schofield, Jack ‘Duck’ Walsh (captain-coach), ballboy Leslie Fuller?, Kevin Wheatley, Jack ‘Junior’ Henniker, Noel ‘Popeye’ Crowe, Ken Mulrooney, Ray Ward, Les Wood
Another shot of the 1949 team: Back from left – Roley McDonell, Jack ‘Onion’ Bell, Kevin Wheatley, Jack ‘Duck’ Walsh (captain-coach), Jack Schofield, John Gillette, Neil McDonell, Lionel Wheatley. Front – Kevin Chuck, Jack ‘Junior’ Henniker, Leslie Fuller (ballboy), Noel ‘Popeye’ Crowe, Jim Crowe, Vern Taylor.
Cootamundra hosted St George at Fisher Park on Wednesday 14 September 1949 and won 13-10.
1950 Cootamundra won some early Maher Cup games but had to settle for being Group 9 premiers (as they were in 1947 and 1948): Back from left – John Gleeson, Tony Howse, Kevin Chuck, Lionel Wheatley, Mick Howse, Neil McDonell, Jack ‘Junior’ Henniker: Front – Russell Cohen, Vern Taylor, Roley McDonell, Jim Crowe, Kevin Wheatley, Ian Read, with ‘Digger’ Fuller ballboy.
Group 9 premiers again in 1951: Standing from left – Ian Reid, Tony Howse, Neil McDonell, Keith Henniker, Mick Howse, Kevin Chuck: Crouching – Keith Duffey, Kevin Wheatley, Roley McDonell (captain-coach), Jim Crowe: Front – Vern Taylor, ‘Digger’ Fuller the ballboy, Peter Kirkby
In 1952 Roley McDonell continued as coach, but Gundagai under Nevyl Hand utterly dominated the Maher Cup competition. In 1953 Bernie Purcell came in to coach from Souths while Darrell Fazio and Algie Metcalf from Newtown bolstered the side. So much so that they defeated Gundagai for the Cup and had some convincing victories before a weak Harden team claimed it in a flimsy, but successful protest.
On 12 June 1954 more than 4000 enjoyed seeing Cootamundra defeat Young for the Maher Cup. Players from left: Darrell Fazio, Algie Metcalfe, Kevin Slavin, Kevin Negus, Roley McDonell, Merv Ryan, Ian Reid, Lionel Wheatley, Peter Kirkby, Fred de Belin, Mick Howse, Keith Henniker, John Graves (captain-coach)
Cootamundra had a brilliant 1954 under Johnny Graves – even defeating Canterbury 22-15. Then there were some lean years – without any Maher Cup victories in 1955, 1956 or 1957. Another Group 9 premiership would not be achieved for another 34 years.
A Cootamundra team from 1955. Not a Maher Cup side. Back from left: Noel Crowe, Terry Paul, Wal Galvin, Charles Sedgwick, Ted Stanton, Denis Howse, Mick Howse. Front: Lal Louttit, Bill Bell, Don Bowtell, Max Bell, Colin Yates, Lorry Thomas, ball boy Barry Fuller. Source: Lola Bell via Cootamundra Remembers of Facebook.
Cootamundra finally regined the Maher Cup at Tumut on 21 June 1958. This is thought to be the team that weeks previously unsuccessfully challenged Gundagai for the Maher Cup. If so the players should be: Ian Reid, Kevin Slavin, Vic Cheshire, Noel Crowe, Barry Stenhouse, Bob Bell, Bill Bell, Don Bowtell, Greg Spicer, D. Howse, Jack Slavin, Col Yates and Rex Jones
It took five years to win the Cup again. The team that won the Maher Cup from Gundagai on 11 May 1963: Standing from left – Rex Jones, Billy Woods, Les Winters, Chris Costelloe, Bob Whybrow, Tom Spain, Jim Moon, Noel McDermott, Toby Schofield, Alan Paterson: Kneeling – John Claridge, Ken Bell, John Gill (captain-coach), Barry Crick.
Cootamundra also had Cup runs in 1964, 1965 and 1966.
Cootamundra with the Maher Cup 1965: Front from left: Harold Fuller, Gavin Crofton (captain-coach), Alan Ackland, Barry Crick. Standing: Ross Warner, Jim Taber, Graham Coleman, Gary Lanham with hands on the shoulders of Max Palmer, Ian Graham, Jim Moon, Brian Coleman, Tom Spain, Toby Schofield, Peter Faulkner, John Meale, Chris Roberts, Pat Wilson and Fred Tyrell.
The Cup again in 1965: Back from left – Harold Fuller, Graham Coleman, Gavin Crofton, Gary Lanham, Brian Coleman, Ian Graham, Chris Roberts, with Tom Mooney in the overalls: Middle – Jim Moon, Tom Spain, Peter Faulkner, Pat Wilson: Front – Max Palmer, Jim Taber, John Meale, Alan Ackland and Toby Schofield.
A team from the late 196os. Can anyone name some of the players?
The Cootamundra Maher Cup team that defeated Temora 2 May 1970: Back from left – Ron Shergold, Brian Wilson, Peter Lawson, John Kennedy, George Dease, David Cook, Tony Hardwick: Centre – Tony Galton, Bob Wilson, Barry Black (captain-coach), Len Jones, Billy Millar: Front – Dennis O’Brien, Col Powell, Doug Luck.
The programme for the penultimate match in Maher Cup football and the last played by Cootamundra, at Young 29 May 1971. Young won 17-14.
1922: H. Hallett (Souths, proposed); Phil Regan (Glebe, commenced July 1922)|
1923: Phil Regan
1924: Phil Regan
1925: Phil Regan
1926: Phil Regan
1927: Phil Regan
1928: ‘Latchem’ Robinson
1929: Jack Kingston temporary replaced by Reg McEncroe
1930: Jack Kingston
1931: Jack Kingston
1932: Dave Hey (brother of Vic Hey)
1933: Frank Benning
1934: G. Main and ‘Tiny’ Russell
1935: Jim Gibb and Jim Campbell
1936: No Maher Cup team
1937: Bill Killiby
1939: No coach – Clem Scrivener captain
1940: Noel Ferrer, replaced by Gus Gray non-playing
1941: Jack Lennox, replaced by Clem Scrivener
1945: Les Fisher
1946: Ken Robinson, replaced by Brother Brennan
1947: Herb Narvo
1948: Bob Hobbs
1949: Jack ‘Duck’ Walsh
1950: Keith Tull
1951: Fred DeBelin
1952: Roley McDonell
1953: Bernie Purcell
1954: John Graves
1955: Lionel Wheatley
1956: Bill Marsh
1957: Barry Stenhouse
1958: Darrell Fazio
1959: Darrell Fazio
1960: Vic Hey (non-playing)
1961: Vic Hey (non-playing)
1962: George Brown
1963: John Gill
1964: John Gill
1965: Gavin Crofton
1966: Reg Hawthorne
1967: Reg Hawthorne
1968: Bob Hansen
1969: Ray Schultz
1970: Barry Black
1971: Brian Wedgwood