SOUTH Coast rivals, Milton-Ulladulla and Nowra-Bomaderry, will have more to play for than just two Group Seven competition points this Sunday at Bill Andriske Oval.
Their clash at Mollymook will mark the first time the Bill Brown Cup will be played for between two clubs he formally coached.
This idea of recognising the contributions of Brown, who played more than 150 games for Western Suburbs including the 1961 grand final against St George at the SCG, was originally developed by his son Stuart.
“I’ve seen a number of other teams have trophies named after former club legends, so I thought why not start one to recognise my dad Bill,” he said.
“My dad did a lot for rugby league on the South Coast since returning from Sydney – including guiding both Milton-Ulladulla and Bomaderry to their inaugural premierships.
“After ringing both clubs, they jumped at the chance to be involved, as the recognise how key he was in their first premierships – records that will never be broken.”
Brown first coached the Bomaderry Tigers (who then became the Swamp Rats), guiding them to a premiership in 1976, where they defeated Albion Park-Oak Flats 14-12, before steering them to another grand final in 1978 – which they lost to Warilla 10-2.
Nine years later, Brown was at the helm of the Bulldogs, when they broke through for their first grand final victory at the Kiama Showground – defeating Michael Cronin’s Gerringong, which included Rod Wishart, 13-12 in front of the biggest Group Seven grand final crowd in history.
“It was amazing to win that premiership for the club and our family,” said the grand final hero and former Bulldogs’ front rower, Stuart, who kicked the winning field goal.
“In that Bulldogs side, we had four set of brother – Peter and myself, Scott and Kenny McIndoe, Jeff and Jason Budden and Jack and Leon Murray – which made it even more special.
“In that team also was half-back Tony Stephenson, who was part of Bomaderry’s premiership in 1976.
“Dad, at the age of 43, even played a game with an 18-year-old Tony for Bomaderry that season, as they were short – which makes a unique correlation between the two sides.”
Brown coached the Bulldogs again in 1988, before assisting Paul Thompson in the 1989 premiership.
“We announced to dad, at last year’s 30-year Milton-Ulladulla reunion, that we would be honouring him with this trophy,” Stuart Brown said.
“The whole family is very chuffed and very honoured.
He [Bill Brown] had an everlasting impact on both clubsStuart Brown
“We hope it’s something that will continue to build for years to come because he’s had an everlasting impact on both clubs, getting them to where they are today.”
Following his stints at these two clubs, Brown coached Berry-Shoalhaven Heads in 1990/91 as well as coaching the Group Seven representative side against Illawarra.
Bill Brown, who turns 84 this week, will be in attendance on Sunday, along with Stuart and former Bulldog Scott Greenlands.