Oberon Tigers honour history during the Can Assist charity round

LEGENDS: Oberon Tigers players Laurie Evans, John Brien and Gordon Rawlings were part of the original team that joined Group 10 in 1958.
LEGENDS: Oberon Tigers players Laurie Evans, John Brien and Gordon Rawlings were part of the original team that joined Group 10 in 1958.

THE Oberon Tigers celebrated the club’s 60th anniversary at the Can Assist charity round last Saturday.

The first grade team wore special Can Assist jerseys, based on the 1958 design, which were auctioned off at a charity fundraiser that evening.

The club was admitted into the Group 10 Country Rugby League competition in 1958 and three members of that team, John Brien, Laurie Evans and Gordon Rawlings, were centre-field at the match to be honoured by the crowd prior to the first grade game.

The captain/coach back in 1958 was George Smith, who went on to represent Australia on three occasions.

At the time, the general consensus was that the town of Oberon was too small to compete against the larger centres and there was a reluctance to admit the Tigers into the competition.

The 1958 team soon put that theory to bed by going on to contest that year’s grand final against Orange CYMS, going down 17-6.

Oberon has the richest history of any club in Group 10, winning 10 of the 11 grand finals the Tigers contested between 1961 and 1971 – and earning the moniker the “St George of the bush”.

Aside from Brien, Evans and Rawlings, four other players from the 1958 side are living in Oberon: Kevin Ryan, Kevin Hawken, Ross Corby and Buddy King. The 1958 team has provided the foundation that exists today – that of a small country town punching well above its weight. Go the Tiges!