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The Sydney Morning Herald


Date: 24/05/1988
Words: 629
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: Sport
Page: 79
DAVID ROWLANDS looks back on the history of League's mid-week competition

* The man who brought the mid-week Cup to life was promoter Colin McLennan, who also brought to Australia the jazz legend Benny Goodman and comedians Dudley Moore and Peter Cook.

* The competition began as the Amco Cup on April 10, 1974, at Belmore, after lighting at the intended venue, Leichhardt Oval, was not ready on time.

* Easts and Wests were the first teams to meet in the Cup. Arthur Beetson was the first man on to the field. Easts won 22-6 in a heavy storm.

* One of the most famous victories in the Cup's history was by Western Division, who bowled over Manly in the semi-final of the 1974 Cup, then beat Penrith 6-2.

* Total prize money in the first year was $50,000. This year it is more than 10 times that.

* The Western Division side produced a great character in the large shape of Ted Ellery, who helped win the Cup in its first year. Known as "TV Ted", he became a cult figure thanks to his kamikaze charging runs and bald head.

* The biggest crowd for a Cup final is 23,000 for the 1981 decider between Souths and Cronulla, at Leichhardt Oval, home of the Cup final for 13 years until Parramatta Stadium took over.

* In 1975 Easts became the first side to win the mid-week Cup and the premiership in the same season. The only other team to do so since is Parramatta in 1986.

* The first winner of the Cup Superstar award for the tournament's best performer was Englishman John Gray, of North Sydney, in 1976.

* The Golden Try award was there from the start. In 1974 an Englishman playing in Sydney, Manly's Mal Reilly (the current Great Britain coach), claimed it.

* Last year's Cup Superstar, Benny Elias, gave his $20,000 worth of electronics prize to charity.

* The biggest winning margin in a final is 20 points, by Manly over Cronulla in 1983.

* Five of the 14 finals have had winning margins of three points or less.

* The biggest score in any Cup match is Manly's 78-4 slaughter of Queensland Country in 1983. Cronulla flogged Central Queensland 75-3 in 1977, when tries were worth three points each.

* The Amco Cup became the Tooth Cup in 1980, then the KB Cup in 1982, before National Panasonic took over in 1984.

* The contest switched to a round-robin format in 1979 before reverting to a knock-out competition in 1983.

* On his way to the 1980 Cup final Peter Sterling became caught in a bad traffic jam and was forced to hail a passing motor cyclist to get him to the ground on time to play a major role in Parramatta's 8-5 victory. He also won a European holiday as the recipient of the Superstar award.

* The most infamous moment of the Cup came in 1976, when a brawl erupted between Norths and Newtown players under a full moon. Six players went before the League's judiciary as a result.

* Previous Cup final appearances by each team, with victories in brackets:

Balmain - six (won in 1976, 85, 87).

Easts - four (1975, 78).

Cronulla - four (1979).

Parramatta - three (1980, 86).

Manly - two (1982, 83).

Penrith - two.

Brisbane - two (1984).

Souths - one (1981).

Wests - one (1977).

Western Division - one (1974).

North Sydney - one.

Newtown - one.

St George - one.

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