How champions of 55 years ago are motivating Easts for local derby against Randwick

By Jon Geddes

THE presence of some VIP guests at Woollahra Oval will give the Eastern Suburbs players an added incentive in Saturday’s big local derby with Randwick.

Members of the last Beasties’ team to win the Shute Shield in 1969 will be in the crowd at  the Back To Easts Day, watching the clash between the bitter rivals 55 years after they beat Gordon 16-12 in their grand final.

The game has undergone immense change since that champion team donned the Easts jumper.

Woollahra Oval now has a synthetic pitch, and in the outstanding book 100 Years of Rugby News, Norm Tasker revealed the strange ways of then Easts coach Barney Walsh.

“One of his tricks when frustrated with his team’s training attitude was to place himself on the ground over the ball, and demand intense forward engagement in the days if fierce rucking,” Tasker wrote.

“His forwards took great delight in kicking the daylights out of him. Walsh would be spat out of the back of the practice ruck bruised and battered, but would simply declare ‘that’s better’ as his team rolled about in laughter.”

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