Queensland’s 25 most memorable sporting moments: Part Two
Queensland’s 25 most memorable sporting moments: Part Two

Part II: QLD’s most memorable sporting moments

AS Queensland rings in the new year and the new sporting opportunities that come with it, Mike Colman looks back at the 25 biggest sporting moments in the state's history.

While we all look towards the future of sport in Queensland, with a potential new NRL team on the way and an Olympics bid incoming, we look back at the moments that defined sport in the Sunshine State.

From unexpected Origin comebacks to athletic miracles and cricketing sensations, these are the moments that happened on our turf and changed the history books forever.

Fans pack the stands at Milton for the Australia v USA doubles in the Davis Cup in 1958.
Fans pack the stands at Milton for the Australia v USA doubles in the Davis Cup in 1958.

20. Davis Cup Final

Milton, December 29-31,1958

BRISBANE'S first Davis Cup tie, the 1958 final, was one of the most controversial in the competition's history and all Australia stopped to listen. Played in the climate of the greatest upheaval in tennis history, American promoter and US Davis Cup coach Jack Kramer announced in the lead-up that he had signed Australia's two leading players, Ashley Cooper and Mal Anderson, to join his professional troupe immediately after the tie. But it was not the make-up of the Australian team that elicited the most comment, it was that of the Americans, who chose Peruvian Alex Olmedo who was attending university in California. In front of 17,880 spectators, the US took the cup 3-2, although as one US writer put it the score should have been Peru 2.5, Australia 2, US .5.

Raelene Boyle throws her fist in the air after winning the 400m at the 1982 Commonwealth Games.
Raelene Boyle throws her fist in the air after winning the 400m at the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

19. Raelene Boyle's 400m

QEII Stadium, October 4, 1982

SHE was a three-time Olympic silver medallist at 100m and 200m but it was running the longer 400m distance that Raelene Boyle earned a place in any list of Queensland's most memorable sporting moments. Boyle won her first Olympic silver medal in the 200m at the 1968 Mexico Games aged just 17. Four years later Munich she was second in the 100m and 200m behind East German drug cheat Renate Stecher.

Her Olympic career ended in misery four years later in Montreal when she was disqualified for breaking twice in the 200m final. The Brisbane Commonwealth Games gave her the opportunity to go out a winner and in an emotional finale to a magnificent career, Boyle won a record seventh Commonwealth Games gold medal when she ran down England's Joslyn Hoyte-Smith in the final of the 400m at the 1982 Brisbane Games. Fittingly, she caught Hoyte-Smith at the 200m mark and pulled away as the crowd cheered her home.

18. Kenny's two-in-one

Maroochydore March 30, 1980

AT the age of 16, Grant Kenny did what many felt was impossible in winning both the junior and senior Australian ironman titles on the one afternoon. But Kenny did more than just win a couple of Australian surf titles, he took the fledgling sport of ironman and turned it into an industry.

Within surfing circles Kenny would soon become known as "The Nutri-Grain Kid" and it was on his movie-star looks and gift for self-promotion that the cereal wars were fought. Competing companies Kellogg's and Uncle Toby's would finance competing ironman series to promote their products and almost overnight previously anonymous lifesavers went from weekend volunteers to high-profile professional athletes.

The son of Hayden Kenny, who had won Australia's first ironman title in 1966, Grant would prove to be much more than just a pretty face. His immense sporting skills - he would also win an Olympic bronze medal as a kayaker in 1984 - were matched by his business acumen.

His ability to see a future for his sport far beyond inter-club carnivals was a key to the emergence of professional ironmen, and it all started with that amazing performance at Maroochydore.

After catching a late wave to win the senior title he had just 10 minutes' rest before the start of the junior event. Trailing for most of the race he made up 100m on the field in the board leg to win the title.

Bernborough about to be loaded onto a boat in 1947 to set sail for America.
Bernborough about to be loaded onto a boat in 1947 to set sail for America.

17. Bernborough Wins Doomben 10,000

Doomben, June 1, 1946

REVERED in his home state, the "Toowoomba Tornado" won 15 out of 18 big races in just two sensational seasons of racing. Foaled in Dalby in 1939, Bernborough had reasonable success on country tracks before he appeared to break down and was sent to Sydney for sale.

Trainer Harry Plant took him to a vet who found nothing more serious than a corn and advised nightclub owner Azzalin Romano to buy him.

Trained by Plant and ridden by Athol Mulley, Bernborough then went on a two-year spree until injured and sold to movie mogul Louis B. Mayer for stud duties. If Bernborough was the greatest horse to come out of Queensland, his win in the 1946 Doomben 10,000 was the greatest performance ever seen in the state.

Carrying a massive 10st 5lbs - 66kg in today's weights - Bernborough was 23rd in a 27-horse field with three furlongs to run. He won, pulling up, by two lengths in track-record time.

16. Strikers win NSL title

Suncorp Stadium, May 25, 1997

ANYONE who was there will never forget the sight of more than 40,000 people squeezed into Suncorp Stadium for a soccer match. But not just any match: the Brisbane Strikers, coached by Queensland's homegrown superstar Frank Farina, up against Sydney United for the NSL grand final.

From the perfect weather to the final score it was an afternoon in which a number of elements came together to produce a magic experience for all involved. There were samba bands, youngsters with their faces painted in the Strikers colours of blue and gold and a Viking with sparks shooting from his trident.

There was also a pre-match war of words sparked by Sydney coach Branko Culina all adding up to a heady, almost delirious, sense of excitement. After decades in the shadows Queensland's soccer tragics headed to Suncorp in their tens of thousands to be joined by supporters of other codes who just wanted to see a Brisbane win. And what a win it was.

The Strikers had walked a tightrope through the finals series, sneaking into the grand final on the back of an away goal to Wayne Knipe but showed no signs of nerves in front of the massive home crowd. After a tight first half Farina scored Brisbane's first goal, followed by a second from Rod Brown for the 2-0 win. After the match Farina said: "It's great to be a Queenslander" and "soccer was the real winner". Both cliches were true.

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