Gunnedah resident John Hobson remembers the early days of rugby league in Gunnedah.

Competition in the weekly league was tough but fair. 

John played halfback and lock in the Police Boys side – one of about four teams in the Gunnedah-based competition.

“There was also a team from Carroll and one from Curlewis,” John recalled.

“One was called YCW, that was the Catholic boys team – they had more money than us, thought they were pretty good.”

 John said the competition was as much about the football, as it was a lesson in life.

“We played every Saturday – I think it was mainly to get us off the streets,” he said.

“They were always there for us.

“A lot of players lived on Pensioner’s Hill.”

A special year for John was the 1959 team when he won his side’s Best and Fairest honours.

“Everyone received a blazer that year,” he said.

The team was coached by Frank Elphick. 

John said Frank worked as a slaughterman but spent much of his free time mentoring youth at the Police Boys Club.

“He used to be at the club almost every night,” John said.

In later life, John became a slaughterman as well and worked at the Gunnedah abattoir from start to finish before a nine-year stint at the Tamworth facility as well.

The photograph of the 1959 team is displayed at the Gunnedah PCYC alongside the blazer worn by the team.

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