LONG AND PROUD HISTORY: A photo of the combined Goulburn rugby side that played against the Sydney 1900 premiership-winning Glebe side and beat them by 26-6. One of the Ken Player coached teams of the 60s in the classic Dirty Reds jumper with “Big G” Crest.
THE Goulburn Rugby Club is in the middle of a purple patch of form but on Saturday July 21, what’s happening in the here and now will be temporarily pushed to one side.
Current and retired players, supporters of the club and the broader Goulburn Rugby family will be gathering in Goulburn that weekend to celebrate a special milestone and remember all of those who have built the club to what it is today.
“Sunday July 22 marks 140 years since the initial establishment of the original Goulburn Rugby Club,” said club president Matt Klem.
“That’s not 140 straight years of rugby. During war years, like all other rugby clubs, we went into hiatus and there’ve been a few other breaks, but we are recognising the fact its 140 years since our club first started and since rugby came to town.”
Not only has that been a lengthy period of time, it’s been a distinguished one. Goulburn was one of the original members of the Southern Union (that later was called the NSW Rugby Union).
Before the end of the 19th century, Goulburn played touring British sides on two different tours.
A Goulburn player, Stuart Belcher, was the first country- based player to be selected in the state team (in which he scored a try on debut) and in 1900 a Goulburn side beat the reigning Sydney premiers, Glebe.
Since then, the club has had its share of ups and downs, has produced numerous Wallabies and other representative players and notched up many other memorable milestones.
“When you look into it, the club has achieved a hell of a lot,” said Klem.
“So a big part of the reunion weekend is remembering and recognising some of the things we’ve accomplished. For instance the current players know we won back to back premierships from 2007-2009 but they might not know we won four in a row back in the 70s.
“A lot of people have done a lot of work over the years to make sure we have the club that we have so we want to recognise that and have a great reunion with old friends at the same time.”
The reunion weekend starts on Friday, July 20 with an informal get together at the Workers Club.
The following day, a gala day of rugby will be played including matches featuring the Tablelands Reds, Fermented Reds and Dirty Reds – fittingly against the Yass Rams, Goulburn’s oldest adversary who themselves were founded in 1878.
Throughout the day “Teams of the Decades” will be recognised between games and the premiership winning third grade side of 1992 will present first grade with the special jumpers they’ll wear on the day – the iconic Dirty Red jersey with the big G crest originally worn in the 60s, which will be auctioned at the reunion dinner that night.
Throughout the reunion dinner, special achievements will be recognised including players who’ve played 100 games or more and the honour roll of past captains, coaches and presidents.
Along with the jumper auction, there’ll also be an auction of membership numbers 1-15 and Simon Poidevin will be a guest speaker.
“There’s been a huge amount of interest, and we’ve got people flying in from interstate so I think it’s going to be a great weekend for the club to come back together and catch up,” said Klem.
“We do need people to get cracking with their RSVPs though. It’s $50 per head and you can buy tickets from Paul O’Rourke’s office in Goldsmith Street or find more details on our website.”
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