Hall of Fame Legend Kel O’Shea joined the Magpies in 1956

1956 was a dramatic turnaround with a tremendous on-paper team. New recruits Kel O’Shea, Harry Wells, Mark Patch, Darcy Henry and George Bain joined Ian Johnson, Ernie Hills, Keith Holman, Neville Charlton, Ron Watson and Bill Carson. It was not surprising that the season ended with 12 wins and eight losses, including eight in a row up to the semi-finals. Injuries earlier on made it difficult, but when the team started to gel under the coaching of “Duck” Walsh, they were a formidable combination. They made a play-off for fourth in a desperate end-of-season struggle and beat Newtown 10-5 in a very hard-fought game. Having to play three games in a week took its toll, losing to Souths in the semi-final.

Harry Wells in full flight against Newtown at the SCG – Nev Charlton in the background

Not surprisingly, there were a large number of Representatives:

Sydney v Country: Keith Holman, Darcy Henry, Kel O’Shea
NSW v Queensland: Kel O’Shea
NSW v New Zealand: Kel O’Shea
1st Test, Australia v New Zealand: Keith Holman
NSW Touring Team to Queensland:
 Keith Holman, Darcy Henry, Harry Wells
Australian Touring team to England and France: Kel O’Shea, Keith Holman, Ian Johnson
2nd Test, Australia v New Zealand: Keith Holman
3rd Test, Australia v New Zealand: Keith Holman and Kel O’Shea
City v Maoris: Harry Wells, Ian Johnson
Country v City Return Game: Ian Johnson

Life Membership was bestowed to Jack Fitzgerald, while the deaths of club stalwarts Jack Rubinson and Dick Reimer put on a dampener on an otherwise successful season.

Presidents Cup Team 1956
Back Row: C Reddy (Coach), P Gannon, K Collis, G Carney, M Lee (Trainer), B Heckenburg, B Kerin, W Merchant, S Small (President), W Beaver (Secretary)
Second Row: K Saunders, A Rosengreen, C Matterson (Vice-Captain), R Olsen (Captain), R Moore, L Bailey, G Gow, P Dark, K Batchelor, B Sharpe, R Bain
W Beaver (Ball Boy)


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