PURE MAGIC: 13 of Gympie’s greatest sporting moments

In The Gympie Times’ 152 years there has been plenty of action covered throughout the sporting arenas and we are going through some of the greatest sporting moments over the years.

The West Indies at Albert Park on December 15, 1960.
The West Indies at Albert Park on December 15, 1960.

1. West Indies play at Albert Park

ON DECEMBER 15, 1960 when the West Indies descended on Albert Park. During my time on the sports desk in Gympie this is moment many of the stalwarts discuss today.

From the archives of The Gympie Times December 15 1960: “The stage is set for the commencement of play tomorrow in the West Indies v Queensland country match – the first international match at Gympie since a M. C. C side led by Norman Yardley played here in 1946. Given fine weather, the Albert Park wicket should be a batsman’s paradise”.

THE CHAMPS: Brothers 1978 grand final winners. Back row: Bill Wilson, Ross Kingston, Danny 'Duke' Waters (assistant manager), Owen Genrich, Malcom Lehman, Brad Kennedy, Ken Bennett (manager), Bernie Dore and John Tobin. Middle row: David 'Spook' Edgar (masseur), Clyde Benson, Malcom Lehman (president), Mike Dore (captain/coach), Bob Pearce (secretary), Murray McPherson, Danny McGrath (treasurer)
THE CHAMPS: Brothers 1978 grand final winners. Back row: Bill Wilson, Ross Kingston, Danny 'Duke' Waters (assistant manager), Owen Genrich, Malcom Lehman, Brad Kennedy, Ken Bennett (manager), Bernie Dore and John Tobin. Middle row: David 'Spook' Edgar (masseur), Clyde Benson, Malcom Lehman (president), Mike Dore (captain/coach), Bob Pearce (secretary), Murray McPherson, Danny McGrath (treasurer)

2. 1978 Brothers grand final win

THE 1970s and 1980s is often referred to the golden era of rugby league, the contested scrums, biff and the anything goes tackles.

It was a time when Gympie had four clubs, Brothers, Wanders, Rainbows and Suburbs.

It sounds like a different time for some of us league fans but the 1978 Brothers grand final side will always remember it as the golden era.

The contested scrum in the 1978 grand final.
The contested scrum in the 1978 grand final.

Minor premiers Rainbows were the favourites but the Brothers side battled for their first grand final berth. Brothers scored 15 points in the last 11 minutes of the game to defeat Rainbows 26-18 at Albert Park.

Brothers halfback Max Gilmore remembers the grand final like it was yesterday and said the game had changed since he hung up his boots.

“I don’t want to believe that it was 40 years ago,” he said. “It was a different game, it is much faster now. We played under the old 5m rule with a bit of biff on the field in those days.”

Brothers continued their successful run, winning the 1979 and then 1981 grand finals, but this will be the first reunion for the 1978 side.

Gympie jockey Glen Boss salutes the crowd in the mounting Yard after winning the Melbourne Cup on Makybe Diva at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005. Makybe Diva, a seven-year-old English-born mare, become the first horse to win Australia's richest and most famous race three times in a row, scoring a stirring victory in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup at Flemington. (AP Pho
Gympie jockey Glen Boss salutes the crowd in the mounting Yard after winning the Melbourne Cup on Makybe Diva at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005. Makybe Diva, a seven-year-old English-born mare, become the first horse to win Australia's richest and most famous race three times in a row, scoring a stirring victory in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup at Flemington. (AP Pho

3. Glen Boss and Makybe Diva winning three-straight Melbourne Cups

FORMER Gympie jockey Glen Boss stunned the racing world when he claimed three consecutive Melbourne Cups on Makybe Diva.

At the age of 15, Glen quit school to become an apprentice jockey at Gympie, winning 60 races in less than ten months, paving the way for his incredible history-making sporting moments.

He took the country’s top racing prize at the 2003, 2004, and 2005 Melbourne Cups firmly rewriting the history books.

World kickboxing champion Billy
World kickboxing champion Billy "The Kid" Degoumois in action in his world title bout at the PavilionPhoto Craig Warhurst/The Gympie Times

4. Billy Degoumois world title win

A BLOODIED Billy ‘The Kid’ Degoumois walked out of his hometown ring in 2009 a World Champion, after demolishing his opponent in the third round of the World Kickboxing Federation Super Welter Weight Title.

In a first for Gympie, the world title fight was held at the Pavilion and around 1000 fans turned out to watch Degoumois fight the Thailand based Frenchman Thierry Virapol for the vacant title.

But what most fans didn’t know was Degoumois carried an injury into the fight and had been unable to train because of a painful right knee.

The Muay Thai fighter had an MRI on the suspect knee during the week before the fight and found the cartilage behind his knee cap had split in two.

Degoumois wanted to fight despite the painful injury saying he might never get another chance for a world title shot in front of his home town fans.

Devils Mal Meninger Medalist Darren Burns gets chaired form the field by Devils supporters after their historic win on Saturday.
Devils Mal Meninger Medalist Darren Burns gets chaired form the field by Devils supporters after their historic win on Saturday.

5. Gympie Devils grand final win

One of Gympie’s biggest sporting achievements in 2010, among many, was the heroics of the Gympie Devils clinching the Caloundra RSL Cup.

Overcoming the Nambour Crushers 22-6 deep in hostile enemy territory, the Devils carved out a historic win that will long be etched in the memories of players.

Winning the Caloundra RSL Cup grand final was much more than individual achievement. It was about club pride and the power of a team working together as a unit in pursuit of a common goal.

The team celebrates Darren Burns second and match winning try.
The team celebrates Darren Burns second and match winning try.

For more seasons than members of the Gympie Rugby League Club would care to remember the Devils languished at the bottom of the Sunshine Coast competition ladder. The club was all too often seen as a soft touch, an easy win and sure-fire way to grab some quick points by rival teams.

But all this changed in 2010. With Gympie Devils club officials recruiting well in the off season, attracting international talent, coupled with existing talent coming of age, the Devils quickly emerged as a force to be reckoned with.

WINNERS: The winning Harlequins A Grade cricket side after defeating Wests on Sunday at Albert Park. Pictured back from left is Tim Kross, Craig Sorrell, John McClintock, Michael Walsh, Ryan, Brett and Caleb Sorrell, Mark Smith and Shaun Ringuet. Front form left: Peter Kross, Chris Darrach, Dean Chandler and Shane and Adelayde Zahner. Photo Craig Warhurst/The Gympie Times
WINNERS: The winning Harlequins A Grade cricket side after defeating Wests on Sunday at Albert Park. Pictured back from left is Tim Kross, Craig Sorrell, John McClintock, Michael Walsh, Ryan, Brett and Caleb Sorrell, Mark Smith and Shaun Ringuet. Front form left: Peter Kross, Chris Darrach, Dean Chandler and Shane and Adelayde Zahner. Photo Craig Warhurst/The Gympie Times

6. Harlequins win for two-day title in 23 years

The Harlequins took on Wests, the game was almost called off because of the rain but Quins managed to get the job done.

Gympie export Arlene Blencowe preparing for her Bellator 224 fight against Amanda Bell.
Gympie export Arlene Blencowe preparing for her Bellator 224 fight against Amanda Bell.

7. Arlene Blencowe, MMA begins boxing career

THE Gympie mixed martial artist and former boxer is the sixth top female MMA featherweight fighter in Australia.

Having begun her boxing career in 2012, Arlene “Angerfist” Blencowe compiled a record of four wins and five losses.

She started her MMA career in April 2013 and has a record of 11 wins and seven losses.

The featherweight is from Amamoor but lives in Sydney.

Arlene
Arlene "Angerfist" Blencowe.

Her last MMA fight was in September last year.

She beat Amber Leibrock at Bellator 206 in San Jose in an impressive victory.

Blencoe is known for close contests and seven of her 17 fights have gone to decision.

Five of her career wins have come by way of knockout, and four of her losses through submission.

“It’s always good seeing photos of me throwing them and copping them too,” she said.

Her impressive career sees her come in at fourth as one of our greatest sporting heroes.

Our very own cowboy David Mawhinney.
Our very own cowboy David Mawhinney.

8. Mawhinney’s triple crown

TANSEY man David Mawhinney added three world titles to his belt after winning buckles while competing in the United States for the first time in 2015.

He won the over 40 World Champion All Around Cowboy, World Champion Steer Wrestler and World Champion Bull Rider.

Maroochydore Blue against Gympie cricket grand final. Gympie celebrate the win Josh Brady (centre) walks off with his team. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily
Maroochydore Blue against Gympie cricket grand final. Gympie celebrate the win Josh Brady (centre) walks off with his team. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily

9. Gympie Gold XI grand final win

IT WAS one of the most successful years in Gympie’s illustrious cricket history.

The 2015/2016 season had more ups than downs both on the field and off.

The Gympie Gold XI secured a maiden premiership when they took out the Sunshine Coast division one title in March.

The Gold beat longstanding rivals Maroochydore in a sprint finish.

After losing first innings points the Gold dismissed the Swans for just 44 with the 10-wicket outright win signalling the club’s first title in 19 years of competition.

Gympie’s Goodchild Shield side was also part of history when they tied with South Burnett for the silverware in February.

In a nailbiting affair South Burnett won the toss and, electing to bat, were bowled out by an aggressive Gympie attack for just 147.

Rainbow Beach surfing legend Noah Lane carving it up.
Rainbow Beach surfing legend Noah Lane carving it up.

10. Noah Lane wins Magicseasweed Award

RAINBOW Beach goofy-footer Noah Lane made a claim as one of the best surfing talents in the land when he took out the $20,000 Magicseaweed Winter Session Award in 2016.

Lane took out the award after surfing monster waves in Ireland.

He told Track Magazine after the award, “I left Australia a few years ago on kinda the classic Euro trip but didn’t really expect to be surfing a whole lot.

“After a summer in Cornwall (where the waves were actually super fun) I came over to Ireland for a closer inspection with a mate and having met my now girlfriend Tara earlier that year, ended up staying.”

JT announces he is heading to Gympie on December 10, 2018.
JT announces he is heading to Gympie on December 10, 2018.

11. JT descends on Gympie

The region that campaigned to “Bring Johnathan Thurston to Gympie” turned out to greet the superstar of league at the civic centre on December 10, 2018.

A lively audience at the Gympie Civic Centre enjoyed An Evening with JT, listening to how the future immortal became one of the best rugby league players of all time.

“It was good.

“It was a nice turnout at the theatre and it was a rowdy bunch,” Thurston said.

“I think everyone enjoyed themselves and it was nice to get up here for it.”

Johnathan Thurston enjoys himself while he is in Gympie.
Johnathan Thurston enjoys himself while he is in Gympie.

The Gympie Times started the Bring JT to Gympie campaign on June 8, 2018, and Gympie hosted the first Monday night show and last show of the tour.

“It was funny when someone sent me the photos of the campaign in the paper,” Thurston said.

“We have not done a show on a Monday night and for a school night it was nice to see so many people.”

With 17 shows in total around the country and New Zealand, the meet and greets were the standouts.

“It is a humbling experience for me,” Thurston said.

Johnathan Thurston
Johnathan Thurston

“Seeing so many people at the theatres and to actually mix with the locals.

“To get a quick photo and sign what they need, it is nice to give back and say thank you for their support over the years.”

“(The Gympie crowd was) a respectful bunch; there were no butt grabs like I have experienced at other shows,” Thurston said.

"Gympie's Melbourne Cup": School teachers Bob Leitch and Anthony Lanskey, who are part-owners of Melbourne Cup winning horse Vow and Declare flew the flag for Gympie live on national breakfast television show ABC News Breakfast on Wednesday morning.

12. Vow and Declare winning the Melbourne Cup

Gympie and Sunshine Coast connections are celebrating after their horse Vow and Declare charged to a fairy-tale Melbourne Cup victory.

Vow and Declare jumped well and remained among the frontrunners for much of the 3200m trip before kicking on the straight.

It was a tight finish with the four-year-old gelding winning by a nose ahead of Master of Reality and Prince of Arran.

Vow and Declare entered the race as fourth favourite.

A small but boisterous crowd roar on Vow and Declare to the tight win at the Gympie Turf Club yesterday.
A small but boisterous crowd roar on Vow and Declare to the tight win at the Gympie Turf Club yesterday.

Noosa’s Paul Lanskey and his partner Helga Hueston are among the syndicate of part-owners in the four-year-old gelding, which is fourth favourite in the Melbourne Cup.

Not only is Lanskey a part-owner, but a breeder who had a hand in deciding Vow and ¬Declare’s lineage.

He owned the gelding’s dam, Geblitzt, and was part of the process which decided -Declaration Of War (USA) as the sire.

Gympie State High School principal, and Lanskey’s nephew, Anthony, are also among the owners along with his two sons Lachlan and Ben.

Gympie’s deputy mayor Bob Leitch is in the mix too.

Our very own Tino Fa'asuamaleaui makes his debut for the Melbourne Storm in 2019, in 2020 he scored his first try.
Our very own Tino Fa'asuamaleaui makes his debut for the Melbourne Storm in 2019, in 2020 he scored his first try.

13. Tino makes his debut for the Melbourne Storm

Former Devils junior Tino Fa’Asuamaleaui deserves a spot in the Melbourne Storm 17-man squad to be announced today following his flawless debut last week.

The 19-year-old Gympie product put in a solid 27 minutes during two stints in Melbourne’s victory over the Dragons at WIN Stadium on Thursday night.

NRL team lists will be announced this afternoon for the Storm’s game against Cronulla on Saturday and Fa’asuamaleaui deserves a spot.

On his first touch of the ball last Thursday, he looked like scoring. There is little doubt we have not seen his full potential yet, and that will only come with experience.

The 197cm, 107kg forward savoured the experience and was inspired to get more caps in the future.

Gympie's Tino Fa'asuamaleaui makes his debut against the St George Illawarra Dragons, with the Storm securing a 16-14 win. he almost goes over for his first try.
Gympie's Tino Fa'asuamaleaui makes his debut against the St George Illawarra Dragons, with the Storm securing a 16-14 win. he almost goes over for his first try.

“It was good to get out there with the boys and obviously get the win, and it was the best experience of my life, I reckon,” Fa’asuamaleaui told Storm media.

“I just want more now and I just want to play good games in the (Qld) Cup and hopefully Craig (Bellamy) picks me.”

Fa’asuamaleaui made eight runs for 84m and 31 post-contact metres against the Dragons. He also made 15 successful tackles and came close to scoring.

“I thought I was going to get over and thought this can’t be happening and I just fell short,” he said. He was presented with his jersey by his father, Fereti, before the game.

“That was pretty emotional and it was good to be presented it by family, especially my dad – he was my idol growing up and it was real good,” he said.