Rugby league fan's 'special' discovery in old shoe box after 46 years
The diehard Dragons fan discovered the extraordinary piece of rugby league memorabilia that had been forgotten about for decades.
A St George rugby league tragic has unearthed a 46-year-old radio broadcast of the famous 1977 drawn grand final replay called by legendary commentator Frank Hyde. Wayne "Dougie" Walters, who has followed the Red V since 1966, taped the game from his family's Sydney home using a 90-minute cassette and an old Sony recorder.
The then 15-year-old neatly detailed every one of St George's points on the cassette holder as they belted Parramatta 22-0 after the teams had to replay the game following a 9-all draw – the first tied decider in NSWRL history – a week before.
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The loss left the Eels searching for their first premiership, which eventually arrived in 1981. Wayne listened to the grand final replay many times over before placing the tape in a shoebox at the top of a cupboard in his bedroom.
And there it sat for more than four decades before being rediscovered during a recent house move.
Wayne, now 61, has since digitalised the call and uploaded it to YouTube, introducing Frank Hyde to a whole new audience and allowing older fans to take a trip down memory lane.
"It was Frank's call on 2SM and I did it off my radio cassette player/recorder in my bedroom," he told Yahoo Sport Australia. "I was a mad Saints fan – still am – and used to record a few of their games and listen back, but this one is extra special.
"It brings back so many great memories. I'm so happy the tape has survived all these years…my only regret is I cut all the ads out because they would also have been great to listen to almost 50 years on."
Frank Hyde regarded as a legend in rugby league
The tape relives Hyde's distinctive calling style, including his famous catchcry of "it's long enough, it’s high enough, it's straight between the posts" when describing a kick at goal. Remarkably, he called the game solo and without the benefit of instant replays from his position on the sideline, the 2SM microphone propped up on an old card table.
Hyde perfectly captured the mood of a one-sided contest that was notable for the physical assault the Dragons unleashed on the unsuspecting Eels, led by fiery lock forward Rod Reddy.
"This is Reddy's fourth caution. The referees are loath to send anybody off in grand finals but you can’t stretch the rules too much," Hyde warned during commentary.
"Let's have a look at the tactics employed. St George had five penalties in the first 10 or 12 minutes of play and I thought if they kept that up a couple of them would get marched.
"But instead of that they have been right on top of Paramatta. It's a bad day for Paramatta." SEN Radio's Matt White calls NRL games for the station and was blown away to hear of Wayne's find.
He said: "Frank Hyde is considered one of the best – if not the best – rugby league caller of all-time, so this is a great piece of Australian sporting history.
"Listening to it and hearing Frank's voice again, you are instantly transported back in time."
Hyde, who died in 2007 aged 91, broadcast 33 consecutive grand finals from the SCG.
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