Fred De Belin

 A young Fred De Belin in the RAAF

A young Fred De Belin in the RAAF

After the war increasingly enormous efforts were made to wrest the Holy Grail and awash local pubs, cafes and sundry businesses in Maher Cup money.

Legendary internationals with plenty of fire still in the bellies went west in the late 1940s – Joe Jorgenson to Junee, Herb Narvo to Cootamundra, Clem Kennedy to Grenfell, Nevyl Hand to Gundagai and George Watt to Boorowa. Barmedman scored probably the best man never to play for his country – Tom Kirk. The results were mixed. Narvo, Watt and Kennedy brought the Cup home – albeit all briefly. Jorgenson disappeared. Hand failed and was replaced – but phoenix-like became the inspirational leader of possibly the best side ever formed in country NSW. Fred De Belin, Kangaroo and partner with Harry Bath in the second row of Balmain’s 1946 premiership winning team, was intending to follow suit. Continue reading

2LF’s History of the Maher Cup

greshamThis old book from 1940, probably the first attempt to record in any detail the history of the Maher Cup, has been kindly shared with this site by a player of the time. The book promoted 2LF’s live broadcasts which had commenced in 1938.  Initially there were complaints from clubs that these broadcasts ‘hurt the gate’. However they did much to develop a deep interest in the game throughout the region at a time when people huddled around their radios for entertainment. Continue reading

Did Jack Watson Make The Most Maher Cup Appearances?

Cootamundra Junior Rugby League Team 1921

Cootamundra Junior Rugby League Team 1921 with Jack Watson and Eric Weissel

With some of the Maher Cup team compositions not recorded by local newspapers it is very unlikely that we can ever be certain of how many matches some prolific players participated in.  However it is clear that the following men lined up for at least 50 games, some probably a few more:

Jack Kingston (at least 50 appearances from 1925-1932).  This renowned international lock forward who toured with the Kangaroos to Britain in 1929, was a Cootamundra lad.  He also had a stint as captain-coach for arch-rivals Young.   Outside the Maher Cup world he also played for Leeton, Nowra and Western Suburbs. Continue reading

Complete List of Players

I have created a list of more than 3,300 people who have played for the Maher Cup.   I believe it includes more than 99% of players 1920-1971.  Often names are miss-spelled in newspaper reports. Frequently surnames only are printed.  Two newspapers covering the same match can produce differing player lists.  Match programs give the selected team, not the team that took to the field – so checking, expansion and correction of the data will be ongoing. Continue reading

The Real Old Boys of the Maher Cup

No matter how tough and physically damaging Maher Cup matches were there were many warriors who just kept on battling on, long after their ears had turned to cauliflowers.  A handful played for more than 20 seasons.

Below are a very select group of stoic stalwarts – men with a minimum of 18 seasons between their first and last Maher Cup matches. Continue reading

Gibsonvale 1946: Phil’s Truck & the Trip to Tumut

Gibsonvale was perhaps the Maher Cup’s most unlikely contender.  These days, on Google Earth only ribbons of white mine scars remain.  Gone are the hessian and corrugated iron huts built by battlers and fortune-hunters along the stockroute. Gone is the post office, the store, the school and the unfenced football field. Stoneham’s billiards hall and the Kikoira Pub remain, abandoned. Continue reading

Peter Castrission Remembers “The Blooda Maher Cup”

Peter Castrission has contributed the following:

I am Vic Castrission’s nephew and I live in Canberra. I am 59 and a retired public servant so I still spend a lot of time in Gundagai. I would like to give you some information about the Niagara Cafe in Gundagai and my uncles and fathers involvement in Rugby League, Group Nine and the Maher Cup. Continue reading

Greeks In Our Lives

In Maher Cup country Greek families, mostly from the small island of Kythera, contributed significantly to community life and to football.  Pictured below is Vic Castrission owner of the iconic Niagara Cafe at Gundagai, and as the president of the Gundagai Rugby League Club, the holder of the Maher Cup.

Vic Castrissian holding the Maher Cup, with local member Billy Sheahan. Source: Photo. on wall of the Niagara Cafe

Vic Castrission holding the Maher Cup, with local member Billy Sheahan. Source: Photo. on the wall of the Niagara Cafe

George Minos of West Wyalong.

George Minos of West Wyalong. Source: Wyalong & District Family History Group. Tales from the Grave.

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Kevin’s Days in Harden

Kevin Day writes: On Fathers’ Day this year I was given the book ‘Uncommon Heroes’ by John Ellicott. I was particularly interested in the chapter on Group 9 and the history of the Maher Cup.
kevindayhouseIn 1959 I was working for the Electricity Commission of NSW.  We were building a wood pole transmission line from Murrumburrah to Boorowa.  I was sent from Sydney in late March to work there for 3 months at the construction depot.  I was 22 at the time. I was able to secure board with a Mrs Franklin and her grandson I think his name was Reg.  The house was at the entrance to the Murrumburrah Showground.

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All Maher Cup Winners 1920-1971

Below is a chart showing the winner of each Maher Cup match through time.  Where there was a draw it has been coded for the holder.

The colours have been selected to best represent the team colours.  While I’m confident that teams colours have been pretty constant for Tumut, Gundagai, Cootamundra, Temora, West Wyalong and Young, others have not been.  If you have further information about when and how team colours changed I would be most interested. Continue reading