Saturday, December 10, 2011

2012 - Western Suburbs Magpies 25 Years at Campbelltown

When the Western Suburbs Magpies run out onto Campbelltown Stadium to do battle in 2012 VB NSW Cup, it will mark 25 years since the magpies made Campbelltown their new home when they took on defending premiers Parramatta on 7th March 1987 at what was then called, Orana Park.

After several court battles to stay in the NSWRL competition starting in 1983, the magpies finally found a permanent place to call home, at Orana Park Campbelltown, leaving behind the wonderful memories of Lidcombe Oval as the club agreed, as did the NSWRL at the time, that the south-west frontier of Macarthur needed to have rugby league team based there full time and it would be the saviour in letting the magpies remain in the competition for the long term (that was the thinking at the time).

For the record, the magpies tore apart the defending premiers to win 32 to 16 with a couple of late tries to the eels making the score a little more respectable from their point of view.

The Wests team that day was captained by current NRL salary cap auditor, Ian Schubert and was coached by current Mounties coach, Steve Ghosn.

The full side that day was -

Fullback: R Pethybridge
Winger: S McCoy
Centre: B Gale
Centre: I Naden
Winger: A Geelan
Five Eighth: B Davis
Halfback: T Cogger
Lock: I Schubert (capt)
Second Row: J Bilbija
Second Row: J Elias
Prop: L White
Hooker: A Fallah
Prop: G Webster

I Freeman for J Bilbija
C Ellis for G Webster
D Rawlings for I Naden
W Lambkin for J Elias

Scorers were:
Wests 32 ( A Geelan 2 tries, S McCoy, I Naden, I Schubert, R Pethybridge tries: I Naden 2 goals, B Davis 1 goal: I Naden 2 field goals )
Parramatta 16 ( G Atkins, S Ella tries: S Ella 4 goals )
Half time: Wests 12 Parramatta 4

The referee was Bill Harrigan and the crowd was a very healthy 10057. The eels won both reserve grade and the u23's.

Whilst the club rejoiced at their first triumph at Campbelltown that year, the rest of the season crumbled to the point were the magpies finished last winning just 5 games ( 4 of them at Campbelltown - Easts 17 to 4, Penrith 16 to 8, Balmain 14 to 10 plus the eels game) and 2 draws ( 4 all against souths at the SCG and 28 all against the sharks at Campbelltown) and Steve Ghosn being replaced as coach for the 1988 season by Laurie Frier.

What may not be as well known is that the magpies played 1 game at Orana Park during the 1986 season against the Arthur Beetson coached Eastern Suburbs roosters. The game, which was actually a roosters home game due the ongoing construction of the SFS, was the round 13 clash on June 14 and was won by the magpies 16 to 14 with the magpies containing a few Englishmen - Lee Crooks (1 try and 2 goals), Deryck Fox and Des Drummond.

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