Maher Cup memories flow at successful reunion

Few football competitions invoke more passion and pride that the prestigious Maher Cup; these were glory days of rugby league when players and indeed entire towns lived and breathed the sport. 

Skilled and hard men, players would take to the field in heavy snow and travel miles on unsealed roads, all in the name of the Maher Cup competition. 

On Saturday, these very men, together with other associates of the competition, gathered at the Country Club for an official reunion, 180 in total attending. 

Among the guests was a busload of 57 from Tumut and Gundagai, mini-buses from Temora and Young, and people who had travelled from across the eastern seaboard. 

There were blokes in the room who had no clapped eyes on eachother for 50 years, but on Saturday night nothing but the memories they shared during their Maher Cup days mattered. 

Co-organiser of the event, Tom Spain is himself one of Cootamundra’s favourite Maher Cup sons, and could not have been happier with the turnout and the evening. 

A highlight for him was seeing Gavin Crofton return to town. 

Crofton and Spain played together in the successful 1965 team, Crofton a well-respected captain/coach. 

The two had not seen eachother since their playing days and Spain said it was truly memorable to reminisce with his former teammate. 

With the coveted Maher Cup in the room, it was hard no to get caught up in the emotion of the evening. 

Maher Cup historian Neil Pollock was in attendance, as was Eric Weissel’s grandson Garry Burke, who had travelled from Sydney for the occasion.

Burke spoke on behalf of his late grandfather, who was widely acclaimed as the greatest player from the region.

An overview of the game penned by the late “Scoop” Sullivan of Gundagai, and read on Saturday evening by Barry Madigan captured the spirit of the competition perfectly. 

While this was slated to be the last Maher Cup reunion ever, such was the success, Spain says organisers will never say never but won’t leave it so long between drinks next time. 

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