DAVID ROWLANDS looks back on the history of League's mid-week
* 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
* 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
* 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
* 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.