...kindly offered his recollections of the 1956 GPS Season...
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 Peter Stevens, this week we catch up with Jim Russell who has kindly offered his recollections of the 1956 GPS Season…..
B & G: So Jim, what Terrace rugby teams did you play in before you made it to the 1st XV?
Jim: Well I played in the 14A’s and 15A’s before I played in the 1st XV in sub-senior in 1955 and senior in 1956.
B & G: Did you feel you had a better season in 1955 or 1956?
Jim: I definitely had a better year in 1956. In 1955 I faced up against some players almost two years older than me so it was a steep learning curve.
B & G: This weekend is the last official round of the G.P.S competition against Churchie. Do you remember playing Churchie back in 1956?
Jim: Very much so. Our champion five-eight Harry Roberts got injured just before half time so I had to play his position in the second half. I had very little experience in that role and there was a lot of pressure on me because we were down 13-0 at the break. Peter Stevens ended up kicking a penalty nearing full-time to win the game by a point.
It was a rough game and I got belted around a bit by some of their loose forwards. I still remember limping up to the cold showers after the game in some serious pain.
B & G: Was there a strong rivalry between Terrace and Churchie back then?
Jim: Well there was to an extent, but the strongest rivalry was with Nudgee. Beating them out at Ross Oval was probably the highlight of the season.
B & G: Did you think you had a chance of winning the premiership before that season started?
Jim: Absolutely. We were all quietly confident going into that season because we knew we had a fairly good team.
B & G: What was the team’s reaction when you won the competition?
Jim: We were all proud and delighted that we were the first Terrace 1st XV team in
27 years to have won a rugby premiership.
B & G: The 1956 annual says that one great thing about the team was that, “players excelled themselves in critical situations.” Do you remember any situations in particular where this was the case?
Jim: Well Harry Roberts scored a length of the field try against Nudgee at a critical point in that match. Peter Stevens kicking us to victory against Churchie in semi-darkness was reasonably impressive as well.
B & G: When you left Terrace did you continue to play rugby?
Jim: I played for Brothers for a year and a half before I tore my medial ligament. I was in the insurance industry and they had interstate rugby games and it was during one of them that I did it. I had to spend two months in plaster.
B & G: Do you still see any of your old teammates these days?
Jim: I see the captain John Barry a lot but I also see Harry Roberts and a few of the other players. I was lucky enough to see Jim Taylor before he died a month ago, which was good.
B & G: If you could, what would you say to the Terrace 1st XV before their game this weekend?
Jim: Enjoy the game and do yourselves proud!
Jim Russell left Terrace in 1956 and went on to attain a degree in commerce.
He recently retired from his position as the Queensland Manager of Mercantile Mutual.
He worked with the Sisters of Charity for a number of years.