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

Temora v West Wyalong ad infinitum 1933

Games That Changed The Game No.4

People often tell me that things were simpler in the old days.  Less red tape.  We just got on with it lad.   Hmmm but not aways.  In Maher Cup Country, when footballing matters mattered things could get quite bogged down. People could be a little pernickety.

In deep Depression days, in 1932, Temora paid for a new captain coach – twenty-five year old Harry Thompson.  He was a useful half-back from Brisbane, a Queensland representative.   He became the other half to Eric Weissel, who now at 29, and at the very top of his game, was the chief draw-card in Group 9. Continue reading

John O’Reilly

John O’Reilly

oreilly1This website/blog owes its existence to John O’Reilly.  In the 1950s he made our small town football the dramatic heart of our lives. Women were seduced by his mellifluous tones, children were drawn in by his rich word pictures.  No one has done it better.

My mother hated the drinking and gambling that she associated with many of the men of rugby league – but she loved listening to the calls of John O’Reilly on 2LF.  On Saturday afternoons we would gather around  the radio.

Ray Warren has written:

I’d grown up listening to John O’Reilly calling the Maher Cup. I still think he was the best footy caller I’ve ever heard on radio. He had a silky-smooth voice, and he was incredibly accurate. …… I wanted to follow John to the big smoke. I just hoped I’d one day be as good as he was.

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Herbert Howard & The Maher Cup Song

Herbert Howard

The Maher Cup inspired many stories, poems and at least one published song, The Maher Cup : March Song, written by W.H. Howard of Tumut and Junee many years ago.

Choir of the Southern Cross, Young.

Choir of the Southern Cross, Young.

The song has recently been recorded by the Choir of the Southern Cross on 10 November 2013 at the Young Town Hall. Listen to it.

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