Gunnedah’s rugby league history has had its fair share of ups and downs.  

One of the best moments in Gunnedah’s rugby league history will be remembered again this weekend when players from the 1973 team make their way back to their hometown for a 50-year reunion. 

On July 29, 1973, Gunnedah Bulldogs won the grand final against West Tamworth Robins at Kitchener Oval. 

It is one of the handful of times Gunnedah has won the grand final with the score 25-5.

“We just steam rolled them,” life member and 1973 team player Don Pascoe said. 

He was 30 years old at the time.

“We had fellows coming around and punting on us,” he said.

When asked about the size of the crowd he said: “It was enormous.”

It was the first time the team had won since 1965 and was also the year the Gunnedah Bulldogs won the Clayton Cup in the Country Rugby League championship. 

Roger Buttenshaw was the 1973 coach and evidently knew what makes a winning team.

With two major wins under their belt, the Bulldogs had never looked better.

Playing for the winning team had meant friendship for life with many remaining players continuing to keep in touch. Some players continued their career outside of Gunnedah. 

Robert (Changa) Jones is the chairman for the Dolphins NRL board, John Donnelly played test football in the Australian front row and for 10 years with the Western Suburbs in the Sydney competition and Don Pascoe played for NSW before the Bulldogs’ win in 1968 and 1969.

Both Hilary Daley and Paul Hassab played for NSW country against Sydney. 

Gathering to remember 50 years since their victory means a lot to the players. Don anticipates people will travel from Redcliff, Newcastle, Forbes and Orange for a weekend of watching rugby league and remembering the iconic win. 

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