Club’s greats assemble for Old Boys day
FORTY years on, Alan Lewis, one of the driving forces behind the founding of the Hervey Bay Rugby League Football Club, still has fond memories.
Some he plans to share with past teammates at Stafford Park on Sunday when the Seagulls take on old rivals the Wallaroos in their last home game of the season.
As part of the club's 40th anniversary celebrations, the Seagulls will have many of its former greats, also known as "Old Boys", come together to relive the glory days and celebrate the club's rich history.
While Lewis is unable to attend many Seagulls games these days, the retired electrician said there would be no chance of him missing Sunday's encounter.
"I have a lot of great memories so it should be good," he said.
"I think it will be a special day."
The Seagulls club existed at various times in Hervey Bay since 1938, but was officially formed on October 19, 1972 as the Hervey Bay Rugby League Football Club.
The Seagulls formation was mainly due to the hard work of Ralph Stafford, the club's inaugural president, and Lewis, who was named the first captain and coach of the team that played in the Maryborough Rugby League competition.
The first secretary was Les Pullos whose biggest contribution was perhaps his part in the club's team colours of red and green.
"Les had a friend from South Sydney juniors who was up on holidays and said to him 'if we form this club would it be okay if they supplied our first set of jerseys'," Lewis said.
"He said 'we'll see what I can do' and that's how we got them and why we went red and green."
The club was born, and then thrived in what was back then a small town with plenty of promise.
Never flush with cash, during its early years the club survived on money raised from seafood raffle trays and footy doubles on match day.
After struggling to attract players, the Seagulls enjoyed little success in their first season, losing most of the matches, but the year produced one of their most famous victories against Brothers, which contained international player Noel Gallagher.
Just a year later, under new captain-coach Mal Breen, the Seagulls won their first A-grade premiership.
The Seagulls were originally based at Seafront Oval and later moved to the school fields at Hervey Bay High School.
But it wasn't until the club moved to its current location at Stafford Park in Torquay big crowds started to flock in.
Lewis said as many as 3000 people would come to watch and joined in voice to sing "up up the Seagulls".
"It was great to see the Hervey Bay public pull together and support us," he said.
"It was a great atmosphere."
Hervey Bay Seagulls v Wallaroos at Stafford Park on Sunday, 3pm.