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Forty-year celebrationof the Warriors of 1981

1981 Premiers Bourke Warriors – Standing: Des Suckling (Warrior), Trevor Banfield, Michael Howard, Russell Harvey, Danny Bligh, Dennis Mieni, Ronny Gibbs, Ashley Wielinga, Jim Bunworth, Phil Sullivan and Sparks Hudson (Warrior) Kneeling – Bernard Davis, Malcolm Dickins, Fred Harvey (captain/coach), Tony Bock, and strappers – Juddy Rudd and Cecil Milgate. Photo TWH Archive

Four local lads are this month celebrating forty years since their undefeated Bourke Warriors side won the 1981 Group 15 rugby league grand final against Cobar at Nyngan.

Fred Harvey, Russell Harvey, Phil Sullivan, and Bernard Davis who all still live in Bourke are reliving the memories of that victorious team.

The star-studded side, led by Captain Coach Fred Harvey began a run of six premierships in eleven years for the Warriors in the Group 15 rugby league competition.

The Bourke Warriors were premiers in 1981, 1982, 1984, 1987, 1989 and 1990, were defeated in the grand finals of 1983 and 1988, with eight grand final appearances in those eleven years.

The undefeated 1981 Bourke Warriors team consisted of Ronny Gibbs (fullback), Bernard Davis (wing), Jim Bunworth (wing), Fred Harvey (captain/coach and centre), Phil Sullivan (centre), Russell Harvey (five eighth), Dennis Mieni (halfback), Tony Bock (lock), Malcolm Dickens (second row), Ashley Wielinga (second row), Danny Bligh (front row), Trevor Banfield (hooker), Michael Howard (front row), Phil Barton (knee reconstruction) and Keith Harvey (reserve).

1981 was perhaps the most successful year for the Bourke Rugby League Football Club, when three sides making it through to the grand finals. In that year, the 1st grade side, and the juniors (under 18’s) won their grand finals, but the Warriors reserve grade side were defeated by Nyngan.

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