abandoned their Belle Vue venue to play future games on the Mid Rhondda Athletic Ground. Now they must procure a new home for the coming season. To add insult to injury Penygraig captain George Matthews, Wrentmore, Palmer, Griffiths and Norris jump ship to join the newly-formed Mid-Rhondda Northern Football Club . Such is the impact made by Norris he is subsequently selected to play for Wales against the Kangaroos. Penygraig’s loss proves to be Mid-Rhondda’s gain. It comes as no surprise to the aggrieved Rhondda Leader correspondent who states:
supremely gifted footballer who began his career playing Rugby Union. Had he not changed codes Messenger would have been included among the Australia Rugby Union tourists, the ‘Wallabies’, who coincidentally are touring the British Isles at the same time. The fact the New Zealand All Golds invited an Aussie to join their tour suggests Dally is a player of the highest quality. By the end of the All Golds tour Messenger topped the tour aggregates by more than 100 points. His unique talent is confirmed by the captain of the 1908 Australia Rugby Union tourists, Herbert Moran. In his book ‘Viewless Winds’ Moran states:
from the crowd obviously appreciative of a special talent. Not surprisingly, having played most of the first half one man short, Australia begin to tire. This is also their first fixture since travelling the long haul from Australia by boat. In order to maintain fitness levels, the team had worked as stokers and undergone daily sessions in the gymnasium and boxing ring. But nothing can replace actual game time and inevitably Mid Rhondda begin to gain the upper hand. An excellent bout of passing results in Wrentmore running in a try for the home team. Wrentmore then succeeds in bringing down Messenger, stifling a dangerous attack. The Mid now launch a series of threatening onslaughts in Australian territory but meet fierce resistance and are repulsed time and again. It takes a moment of Welsh wizardry from Dai Thomas to breach the defence when he weaves past weary Australian defenders to score Mid Rhondda’s second try. In the dying moments Australia and Cheadle are denied a fifth try when Morton is adjudged to have been offside.
One player has etched his name indelibly not only on the game, but on the consciousness of those fortunate to have been witness to his talents. Herbert Henry “Dally” Messenger will become the tourist’s top scorer by some distance with 160 points. To this day he is regarded by many as one of the greatest exponents of rugby in either code. He certainly impressed the match reporter for the Rhondda Leader.
|Every year the man voted best Australian |
rugby league player receives
the Dally Messenger Award
This famous ground should be preserved and developed for the benefit of the community. Please sign the petition above if you agree. Thank you.
|The 'Mid' is left of centre.|