By Jack Devitt *
ALTHOUGH I always lived in Bulli, I had quite an association with Corrimal with their rugby league team.
Due to some mismanagement of the Woonona team in 1935, the league disbanded the club and a number of us joined up with Corrimal in 1936 under a tough old playing coach named Wally Greenland.
We played on the original Ziems Paddock with tree stumps a few inches below the surface. It sure was a hard old pitch.
There was a tin shed with a couple of cold showers, a few benches and nails to hang up our clothes.
We were not world beaters but often gave some of the top teams a bit of a shock and always turned up with a full team in the three grades.
We played for the love of the game, in fact both sides paid six pence each to pay the referee, who got 13 bob for his 80 minutes work.
It was Saturday afternoon football in 1936 with Albion Park on our competition. Port and Mt Kembla were the top two sides with Wollongong making up the best.
We had many loyal supporters, but two I vividly remember were “Tiger” Roebuck and Sam Besta, a loveable Italian with a stentorian voice who would yell encouragement with “come on Corrimego”.
The Corrimal of these times was much smaller than the huge suburb it is today, with the old galvanised iron Princess Theatre on the highway near the present park, the Strand [theatre] round from Jack Grant’s puib in Railway Street and the co-op store on the western side of the main road.
Of the 1936 team, as far as I know, only Lance Nobes and I remain . Oh what happy memories of a much gentler age.
* First published in the Corrimal Post newspaper June 1997.
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