10 Poems and an Obituary

The Maher Cup produced copious amount of poetry and probably just one family notice – this one published in the Tumut & Adelong Times 7 September 1923.


It was penned  following Tumut’s fifth failed attempt to re-capture the cup it gave to the region.  At this point, under the rules designed at Tumut, Cootamundra could retain the cup as their own- hence the mourning. It also shows that gambling was from the earliest days an integral part of Maher Cup culture. Below are in chronological order some poems I have uncovered:

Cootamundra v Wyalong 9 Sep 1925
– by ‘Dummy’, published in The Wyalong Advocate 22 September 1925, following  Wyalong’s first Maher Cup victory

They came from Cootamundra
All decked with blue and white,
To take away the Maher Cup
Which the Wyalong boys hold tight

The ground was in good order,
Tho’ removed a bit from town,
Mallee leaf they thought they smelt,
Which caused a few to frown.

The day was late, so on they went,
Not one of them looked back,
As the Wyalong boys trouped on the field,
Dressed in red and black.

They cheered each other heartily,
And Dick Vest won the toss,
And to defend the western goal,
He led his team across.

The crowed then cheered like sports  men,
You’d think they’d raise the dead,
And from Andy Cameron’s megaphone
It was “Go on black and red.”

Tiger Lloyd and Pinney made
The pace a cracker too,
Which made the boys from Coota,
Think they had too much to do.

The game was fast and furious
No clouds to dim the eye,
When from a brilliant passing rush
Jack Franklin scored a try.

The crowd became excited,
Some watching in dismay,
When Franklin kicked as splendid goal
From just inside half way.

Both teams played like Trojans,
The work put in was fine,
Then Mansted with, a lion’s rush,
Was downed within the line.

The muscles of his side were hurt,
As he tried their game to spoil,
He sent a message to the line.
For Brereton with his oil.

“Old Dad” Joyce and Brogan,
They backed up like the best,
They passed the ball to Mansted,
Who sent it out to Vest.

The Coota boys would kick the ball,
Then follow on like hounds,
But Graham Emmett took it clean
And kicked her out of bounds.

With both teams playing gamely,
Their work was fast and clean:
When Broady pinched the ball from Phil
And sent it out to Keen.

From a scrummage near the half way
The ref. called “You’re off-side”
Mid cheers from Cootamundra
Lesberg’s kick went wide.

Each moment was exciting,
And with combination mixed,
But Phil could not fool Joyce,
With his hanky-panky tricks.

The forwards played like demons;
‘Twould be hard to pick the best;
But for sound and solid football,
We must give the cake to Vest.

Weissel was the hero
Of the Coota backs that day,
The best of football judges
Were delighted with his play.

The rules were oft times broken,
Yet each side got its free,
I’m sure you have some sympathy,
For Kerr, the referee.

When fielding just near half-way,
Franklin got a fall,
And like a rifle bullet,
Weissel took the ball.

He went down the field like lightning
And to Jack Watson passed,
The crowds were all delighted
That they’d scored a try at last.

They took it out and placed it.
Some said “It is too far.”‘
I’m sure Lesberg felt delighted
When he kicked it o’er the bar.

The excitement which had waned a bit
Was very much alive,
I asked the boundary umpire,
And he answered “Zeven to vive.”

Vests’ advice was freely followed,
All the dangers he could see,
The result of his good judgment
Led his side to victory.

The ball went up and down the field
Interest never seemed to lag,
When Alt Broad with a sterling run,
And knocked the corner flag.

Both teams deserve the greatest praise
For the games that they put up.
Still the doubt that rests in people’s minds
Is “Kan Koota Kop the Kup.”

Gone! Gone the Cup 
– published in the Grenfell Record 23 June 1927 and follows Young’s much celebrated victory at Cootamundra

Gone! Gone the cup which all teams covet;
Gone from those who dearly love it;
Gone to Young!
Gone the cup whose fame has flown
Wherever Rugby League is known,
Pardon, if in mournful tone
This song is song.
Wait!   We are us.
‘Tis not self-praise,
But we are wise in football ways,
‘Tis not too late.
Let Young indulge in merry dance,
While we in silence wait our chance,
Again the pockets of our pants
Will carry weight.

What Young Said  
– Anonymous, published in the Gundagai Times 5 July 1927 and related to this game.

Since you’ve been here what have you did?
You’ve brought this club 200 quid
Bye, bye Maher Cup.
We only had you for a while
But Coota came and cramped our style
Bye, bye, Maher Cup.
We’re soon be over again to get you
We’ve like you ever since we met you
And perhaps again some day
We’ll hear Cootamnndra say
Bye, bye, Maher Cup.
– Words by ‘Gundy’ Norman, music by T. McVeigh, sung by Teddy Taplin.

What Coota Said 
Oh, oh, Maher Cup we love you,
Oh, Oh, Maher Cup we do
And ever since we’ve been without you
You have made us feel quite blue.
We’ve missed you every day,
We’ve missed you in every way.
Because we know the gates you drew
We love all the cups we lost at football.
But first of all we love but you.
– Words and music by Dud Doidge, sung by Phil Regan.

An Old Football Poem
– published (with apologies to ‘Banjo’ Patterson) in the Cootamundra Herald on 23 May 1939.  This poem relates to the 1920s. The Farrer Cup was put into play by Wyalong and much loved there in early days.

Twas somewhere out upon, the Bland, in a land of mallee scrub,
That they formed an institution called the Wyalong Football Club.
They were fine young British subjects,who came from far and wide,
And the ground was never trod on that the ‘black-reds’ couldn’t  stride.

And they used to train for football wheeling goannas in the scrub.
They were demons, were the members of the Wyalong Football Club.   ‘
Twas somewhere ln the Riverina, by a little rippling stream,
That another club existed called the Cootamundra football team.

As a social institution ’twas a marvellous success,
For its members were distinguished by exclusliveness and dress.
They had natty blue-white guernseys, and their boots and pants were  slick,     For their cultivated owners only donned them once a week.

And they set out for Wyalong for the Farrar Cup and fame,
And meant to show the Wyalongites just how to play the game.
They took hundreds of supporters, all dressed up nice and fine,
And gathered up some hundreds more from all along the line.

And they took their trainers with them to give them a final rub
‘Ere they started operations on the Wyalong Football Club.

Now my friends, you can imagine how the contest ebbed and flowed,
When the Wyalong boys got going, it was time to clear the road.
The ground was rough and cloddy, the dust rose in a cloud;
Jack Quinn grew hoarse and dizzy, and ‘Juggler’ sang out loud.

The game was fast and furious, and before half the day was done,
Stan Love’s leg got broken just from merely looking on.
‘Oh, dear !’ said Brian O’Connor, ‘why  did I come to play !
I came to fix up Brogan, and got crippled in the fray’.

Jim Graham’s face was gloomy;  Charlie Inson ceased to smile,
Till’ Jimmy Watson made a run and  brightened then awhile:
And the captain, poor Phil Regan,  when he staggered off to die,
Was the last surviving player, and Wyalong couldn’t tie.

Wyalong’s burly captain rose up slowly from the ground,
Though his wounds were mostly mortal, yet he fiercely gazed around.
There, was no one to oppose him; all the rest were in a trance,
So he scrambled to the football for his last expiring chance.

He meant to make an effort to get  victory for his side,
So he kicked at the ball, and missed it! then he tumbled down and died.

By the Wyalong railway station,
where the breezes shake the grass,
There’s a little row of tombstones that footballers never pass,
For they bear a-crude inscription, saying ‘Stranger drop a tear,
For the Wyalong football players and  the Coota boys lie here.

‘Dipper’, Weissel, ‘Cactus’, Lesberg,  and the rest
With Fraser, Franklin, and ‘Dutchy’  all sleeping here with Vest.
And on misty moonlit evenings, when the foxes yelp around,
You can see their shadows flitting ‘cross the Wyalong football ground.

You can hear the loud collisions as the  phantom players meet,
The referee’s shrill whistle, and the rush of players’ feet.
‘Till, the terrified spectator almost flies to the White Tank pub
He’s been haunted by the spectres of the Wyalong Football Club.

 Tumut Team Of Blues
– by ‘Old Sport”, published in the Tumut & Adelong Times 21 May 1935 to celebrate this win.

The Maher Cup is back in Tumut;
Four years it’s been away
At Temora, Young and Coota-
For a term its back to stay

Coota had the trophy,
It near broke their hearts to lose,
For they were beaten on their merits
By the Tumut team of Blues.

Temora’s team are coming
Once again to have a crack
To try and lift the Maher Cup
And take the trophy back.

The betting it is even,
Though some are wanting two’s.
You can bet your bottom dollar
On the Tumut team of Blues

Then, roll up, boys on Wednesday!
And bring along your cash
I think it will be worth it.
To see these rivals clash.
The game should be a thriller.

I’ll give you now my views:
I cannot see them beating
Joe’s Tumut team of Blues.

Go On, Gundagai!
– published in the Tumut & Adelong Times and refers to the match of 29 May 1935

When the motor cars and buses
And the big crowd gathered round,
I’d like to have had a photo
Of the Tumut football ground.

When the Blues are on their mettle
They made the leather fly,
When the Maher Cup was in danger
From the team from Gundagai.

Murphy was the referee
A good city one, you know.
The game it was a thriller
From the very word to go.

Gundy had their barrackers,
You could hear their battle cry,
Urging on the ‘Bidgee boys
With their ‘Go on, Gundagai!

And the Tumut crowd were roaring
Their excitement did enthuse
Their noise would almost deafen
Yelling ‘Go on, go on, Blues !’

Right from the very kick-off,
And right up to the last,
Both teams were in condition
And the play was hard and fast.

Kirk was off his kicking,
And the Captain called on Cruise,
Who raised the flags for Tumut,
Drawing first blood for the Blues.

The little Blues were leading
When the half-time whistle blew,
And the scoring-board was showing
‘Gundy nil, and Tumut two.’

The Blues improved their kicking,
For penalties they came free,
Jack Cruise he goaled another,
Then Tom Kirk he landed three.

From a penalty to Gundy
The Blues they paid the toll;
Gundagai went frantic
When Smithy kicked a goal.

A roar rolled round like thunder
When big Mitchell scored a try;
They heard it at the half-way
On the road to Gundagai.

The game was fast and friendly,
And good football on the whole.
Amid another burst of cheering
Mclnerney kicked a goal.

The crowd were on their tip-toe
Urging on their men,
The scoring-board was showing
Gundy seven, Tumut ten.

Then the Blues they got a move on
With their side-step, duck and dive,
And took the play from half-way
Into Gundy’s twenty-five.

When play got in the open.
The Blues’ passing rush was fine,
Jack Smart he found an opening
And touched down across the line.

When Kirk he kicked a sitter
Tumut cheers were heard afar,
For the Cup was out of danger
As the ball it crossed the bar.

The gate was very decent
It was just on fifty pounds.
When the final bell was ringing
Loud cheers went round the ground.

Tumut fifteen points to seven
On the board in white chalked up,
The holders still retaining
The famous old Maher Cup.

Charge your glasses, one and all,
From this Cup that’s travelled far
Drink a bumper to the honor
Of the Cup they call ‘The Maher’.

Harden Nursery Rhyme
– published in the Tumut & Adelong Times 17 June 1947, from the original in the Temora paper.  It reflects this protest.

Baa baa Harden, have you any cup?
No Sir, no Sir, we Just gave it up
We gave one to Coota., the other’s kept at Young

And now we’ve put a protest in
and only hope we’ve won.

Answering A Wit:
Temora, you sound sour,
in this your beaten hour,
For cups you’ve had but few and your attitude not new;

With the protest lodged we hadn’t; any luck,
Judiciary consisting of you own Sergeant Buck.

– Anonymous, published in the Cootamundra Daily Herald 10 September 1947.  ‘On the subject of Joe Jorgenson,   former Junee coach who failed to appear for that club’s Maher Cup game, a reader has submitted the following poem…

He ought to be here, said Dan Ledwidge.
Without there is something amiss;
We put him on at Central,
And he ought to be here by this.

We didn’t have him arrested,
And there wasn’t a price on his head;
But we gave him board and lodging,
And fifteen notes instead.

Dan walked up to the station,
And peered up the Illabo track,
And looked and longed for their coach
Who would never more come back.

And the others came and clutched him
With sudden bursts of fright;
Oh, what has become of our Joseph?
Why isn’t he home tonight?

He has always been the idol
— Excuse me if I boast
But if ever he has an equal.
It will be Bill Leseberg’s ghost.

And away in the Moss Vale ranges,
Through the gums and stringy bark.
That Ex-Australian captain struggled onward through the dark.

In Junee they sighed and waited.
And searched all night for a plane;
But hope died out with the daylight.
And the last available train.

I know that sooner or later
He will be in Temora, they said;
But Bill Lawrence blew his whistle,
And they played young Diggens instead.

And stamped on Dan’s pale features.
As the Maher Cup homeward passed,
Was an angelic smile of sadness
— He was awake to Joe at last!

Maher Cup Speaks
– Mudlark, in the Boorowa News 1 August 1952, just after Boorowa lost (another) challenge.

I am a little silver cup,
As plain as plain can be;
Although of little value,
There are thousands care for me.

They argue and they quarrel,
For me they strive to hold,
I’ve brought cash in by the hundreds
That is what I’m told.

When my glamorous days are over
And which I fear is nigh
Please place me on a pedestal
Like a dog at Gundagai.

Just listen to my suggestion
Please place me here to rest
In the town where they love me,
By the team that played the best.

Yes, place me on a monument
For generations all to see
What your ancestors fought for madly
Just a little cup like me.

The Old Dog Waits in Vain
– by “Whatty Melon” in the Cootamundra Herald 14 August 1953
Published the night before this match

As I rested by that monument,
I heard a tourist cry,
‘There goes the Maher Cup side,
They hail from Gundagal.’

A better lot of players
Have never trailed through dust,
And I heard the ranges echo,
‘We’ll lift that cup or bust’ .

But the team ran into trouble,
And swore, and cursed, and cried.
‘If Hand won’t get us out of this,
We’ll take his flamin hide’

And Neville pushed, and heaved,
and strained,
He would not know defeat,
Not like old Ned, the bullocky,
When he sold his team for meat.

And the fans they came from Gundy
By car, and truck, and train,
While the old dog on’ the-tucker-box
Just sits and waits, in vain I (We hope !)

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