Group 2 PREMIERS 2014
FIRST GRADE: Grafton Ghosts
RESERVE GRADE: Grafton Ghosts
UNDER 18s: South Grafton Rebels
Played at Frank McGuren Field, Grafton
Sunday 24th August 2014
IMMORTAL Arthur Beetson and crowd favourite David Peachey will be among guests attending the Macksville and District Rugby League Club reunion this weekend.
Peachey will be a guest player in the Sea Eagles first grade side due to play Orara Valley on Saturday afternoon.
Apart from the three regulation grade matches against the Axemen, the Bowraville under-15 and 16s will play their competition games as curtain-raisers.
Macksville players, officials and supporters from the 1991 season will congregate to celebrate the first, reserve and third grade premierships won that year and reunion committee spokesperson Trevor Welsh said among the visitors will be the wife and daughter of late captain-coach Bob Muirhead.
“As far as we are aware Bob is the only one from that era to have passed away and with the word going out far and wide, we are hoping for all the local blokes and most living away to attend some time on the weekend,” he said.
From the 1991 Group 2 premiership winners, Matt Donovan remains a player with Coffs Harbour side while Chris McDonald has become one of the Sea Eagles greatest sons and will be playing on Saturday.
As a coach, “Macca” took the club’s under-18s (including a handy kid named Greg Inglis) to the 2002 title before backing up later in the afternoon to captain-coach the first grade side to victory over Port Sharks, the first of four consecutive premierships.
Welsh was the No 1 hooker 20 years ago and said the side was full of real characters, especially enigmatic centre Charlie McHughes.
“Matt Donovan became a legend but Charlie was the best I played with and a very funny man,” he recalled.
“Remember this was a time when the relationship between blackfellas and whitefellas was different and still a bit to go before we got to the friendships that are in the club today.”
McHughes was a proud indigenous man from far western NSW but the locals saw him, as coming from a different mob and enjoyed giving him a wind-up as he took the field.
However, the day arrived when the great centre got revenge in a way that’s become part of local football folklore.
“One day they were giving Charlie heaps for playing with the white blokes and kept calling out ‘Captain Cook, Captain Cook’ whenever he got the ball,” Welsh chuckled.
“But when he got close to where they were standing on the line he turned around and said ‘I’m from out west in the bush ... it was you blokes on the coast who let him in’ and the place erupted.
“These blokes didn’t know what to say and Charlie had the crowd, both teams, the referee and everybody around the place doubled up in laughter.
“It was one of the funniest comebacks I’ve ever heard ... what a great player and fantastic bloke.”
Memorabilia has been produced including shirts, hats and stubby holders and these can be ordered from Peter Smith on 0432 303 243.
All funds raised will be channelled back to programs for helping district youth with life skills, support for the Men Of League Foundation and for club and junior sporting sponsorships.
Coffs Coast Advocate.