A cold beer with . . . moustached maestro who scored off ‘King’
THE surname McWhirter resonated through Brisbane football in the 1970 and 1980s.
The moustached number 6 pulled the strings on the Valleys 1979 premiership and scored a great try off a Wally Lewis chip and chase to destroy the poor Magpies.
Peter McWhirter would play three games for Queensland and coach Valleys after retirement. I curled my 'mo and sat down with McWhirter to talk Brisbane League.
How did you get to Valleys you were a Brothers junior?
I was a Brothers junior through school and until under 18 and then went over to Valleys. I played under 18 and then into grade at Valleys.
It's the 1979 grand final - what are your memories? It was a terrific finals series beating Tigers 28-2 and then beating Souths 26-0.
We lost narrowly the year before to Easts 14-10 and I just never felt like we would ever lose in 1979. It is a good motivator to lose a grand final.
We had a great finals series and only had the two points against us in the two games.
Your try off a Lewis chip and chase was beautiful. Is that your favourite try?
A try in a grand final is special but then a try off a chip kick from the "King'' is even better. It was a great day and it was close at that stage just after half time.
That try made it 17-0, and Mick Neill kicked the two points so it was pretty much over at 19-0.
Is it true that you had to move out before the 1978 grand final against Easts?
Yeah that is true. I shared a house at St Lucia with Tigers' John Abbott and Bruce McLeod and we did not know until the preliminary finals were over if it would be a problem. We beat Wests and then played the loser of Dolphins and Easts. Easts won and went into the grand final and we had the Dolphins the next week and got over them 17-13 but I could not stay there for the week. I came home, packed up and said I will see you after the grand final. There was plenty of banter.
I moved in with Tom Duggan for the week but we lost and then I had to go home and face the music.
You were coaching Valleys when the Jets entered the BRL. How did you find games against the Jets?
They were always hard road trips to Ipswich. When I coached Valleys you had Tommy at the Jets and he was mentoring Allan Langer. It was never easy going out there and we had some close games. The state league really made Ipswich like a rep team for the area.
Three games for Queensland in 1979 and 1980 - did you think with so many young players and Origin soon change might be coming?
Those games were a lot closer than people think. I played the two games under the old rules in 1980 and then it switched to Origin for the third game. I was hopeful I might get a run in the third game but Allan Smith was playing good football at North Sydney and I think they wanted that injection of Sydney players for experience.