1956 breakaway and fullback
1956 was a great year for Terrace Rugby.
Brave & Game has tracked down the members of the 1956 premiership winning team and been able to interview a number of those great players to record their memories of that year and to get their thoughts on what it means to play rugby for Terrace.
Following our recent interview with Lyn Crowley, this week we catch up with Jim Lawson (1956 breakaway and fullback) who has kindly offered his recollections of the 1956 GPS Season...
B & G: So Jim, what are your earliest memories of playing rugby for Terrace?
Jim: Well I started at Terrace in grade 3 and I remember we used to play football down on Gilchrist Avenue. Everyone was expected to play back then and there were 500 kids at the school. I was amazed that they managed to get everyone a game when there were only a few fields.
B & G: Do you still keep in touch with your old classmates?
Jim: I was the co-ordinator of our 50th reunion, which we held last year and over the years I’ve been lucky enough to keep in touch with a lot of my old classmates. Just the other day I was talking to a classmate of mine, Barry Middleton, who left Terrace when he was in grade 5 and went to Nudgee before becoming a Christian Brother. He left the brothers not long after though.
B & G: I understand that you’ve done a lot of
work for Terrace over the years. Tell us about that.
Jim: Well I was the surveyor for the school. I did a lot of work on those fields at Victoria Park and at the Tennyson playing fields. I even helped Terrace in court when the council wanted to take a big strip of land down near Oxley creek.
B & G: In the 1956 1st XV you started playing break away before switching to fullback. That’s an interesting change. How did
Jim: Well early on in the season we had a little fullback named Tommy Hope, who was a gutsy player but he would usually get knocked over by bigger players in one on one situations. As a result I was chosen to replace him and I ended up playing fullback for most of the season.
B & G: I’ve heard that Harry Roberts was a sensational player. Was he the definite leader of the backs?
Jim: Well Harry was the best of the backs but we had a great halfback named Brian Horrigan who helped facilitate the backline. He had a great football brain and he was a very deceptive player.
B & G: Which other players from that team stand out in your mind as great footballers?
Jim: Peter Stevens was an excellent player.
He was a breakaway but he was one of the fastest in team. He was also a sensational goal kicker and he was so cool under pressure. I can remember one kick he needed to make to win us the game.
I told him to take his time, to which he replied, “she’ll be right mate” and he kicked it no trouble at all.
B & G: Terrace is playing The Southport School this round. What memories do you have of playing T.S.S?
Jim: I remember when we went down to Southport to play them in 1955 they very politely asked us if we wanted to have a meal with the administrators. All we had were the sandwiches our mums had made so we were keen on a hot meal. They gave us so much food that when we got out on the field we could hardly run!
B & G: You played T.S.S in the first round in 1956. Was the team confident before the season began?
Jim: Well I knew we had a good team with some sensational players so I was confident.
A handful of us even ended up making the combined G.P.S team, including Bob Patterson, who was in sub-junior at the time.
B & G: And what was the most memorable game for you personally?
Jim: Probably the match we played on that freezing day up at Toowoomba when we lost by a point. There was a gale blowing that day and if that wasn’t bad enough, sleet actually started to fall while we were playing. It was so cold that some of us starting cramping up during halftime.
B & G: Did you end up playing rugby when you left school?
Jim: No actually. I decided against playing rugby after school because as a surveyor I needed my legs to be in good shape. I couldn’t afford a knee or ankle injury and they are so common in rugby.
B & G: What message do you have for the 2006 1st XV?
Jim: Well, like Thomas Edison said, if you want to achieve something it’s more about perspiration than brilliance. Train hard and good luck!
Jim Lawson completed Senior at Terrace in 1956. Jim went on to obtain his qualifications as a registered surveyor. Over the last 50 years, Jim has maintained strong links with Terrace and generously provided surveying skills and advice for the benefit of the wider Terrace community during this time.
Jim has also been a major contributor to the Terrace Rugby archives over recent months, providing invaluable historical material (both literary and oral), playing a major role in preserving the memories of the 1956 Champions.