25 June, 2024

Milestone memory set to be celebrated

MILESTONES in the history of the Atherton Rooster’s Rugby League Club will be celebrated in early August, with past players keen to particularly commemorate one of the club’s greatest premiership victories.

1994 captain/coach Scott "Bluey" McKay leading the way in the grand final win over Ivanhoes.
1994 captain/coach Scott "Bluey" McKay leading the way in the grand final win over Ivanhoes.

On 2-4 August, the club will commemorate a number of milestones, but the one that stands out is the A-grade team’s victory in the CDRL Grand Final on 11 September 1994, where they clinched the premiership with a nail-biting 18-16 win over Ivanhoes.

At the time, Scott “Bluey” McKay led the team to victory, as their coach and captain. 

In late 1991, previous coach/captain Tim Robinson suggested to Scott that he should “come north” and play in Atherton.  

He agreed and played the next four seasons with the Roosters.  In 1994 Scott was appointed captain/coach of a team in what would become a halcyon year for the Atherton Roosters team, winning the BP Pre-season competition, a win against the 1993 Townsville & District Rugby League premiers Charters Towers and a historic win over the visiting Brisbane Broncos in February 1994 in front of a packed Atherton Showground. 

The culmination of the season was the Grand Final match against the highly fancied Ivanhoes team coached by Gary Smith.  

In the Grand Final, the Roosters opened the scoring with a penalty conversion. Scott was sent to the sinbin for 10 minutes and shortly afterwards Ivanhoes scored.  

Bing Rockley replied with another penalty conversion, and the scores were level at 4-4. A try to Colin Bradtke, which was converted, put the Roosters up 10-4. 

Winger David Briggs was injured late in the first half. Ivanhoes scored from an Atherton mistake and then scored again right on halftime to lead 12-10 at the break.  

The second half opened well for the Roosters when replacement winger Paul Ratcliffe ran onto a Bing Rockley pass and scored. 

The Roosters were back in the lead 14-12 and then James Benjamin broke through the defence only to be cut down short of the line.  

From the play, the ball his centre partner Pat Cleary took the ball and evaded the defence to score. The Roosters were in the lead 18-12 with about 30 minutes still remaining.  

Ivanhoes stormed the Atherton try line, but the Roosters defence held despite a glut of possession. Ivanhoes finally scored, and the Roosters led 18-16.  

With minutes remaining, the Roosters’ resolve lifted, and they held out countless Ivanhoes assaults on their try line in one of the truly great defensive efforts in a CDRL A grade Grand Final. 

 “We knew we had to turn the game around, they were dictating play in the first half. We knew we had to come out after halftime and put first points on the board and full credit to my players,” Scott said.

“All we’ve got is a town that wants to support us. We haven’t got the name players but when it comes down to it you can’t buy premierships you’ve got to earn them.

“We all just loved playing football - when we played the forwards would push each other out of the way to take the ball up.  Those teams of the early 1990s would have been competitive with any Brisbane team of that period… like when we beat the Broncos on Saturday night, then had a few drinks and then played and beat Cairns Brothers in the first match of the pre-season competition the next day”.


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