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One of the great poems, first taste of senior club premiership success and foundation for decades to come.

Credit: Jeffrey Jones

In 1823 on a school field God and Bill Ellis hatched a plan

To create a game forever heaven and earth to span

The purpose of Rugby soon became plain

- Generations of players, regardless of size

Could test themselves for life and strive to gain       

The right to hold that Holy Grail, a grand final prize

And now in Rugby's vast hall of fame

Tech Tahs of Wollongong has placed its name

Honour is due the men of Red White and Black

Who know how to mount and repel an attack

So in your mind let the days reel back

To that thunderous, wondrous 9th September

When they gave this young club a night to remember


Lunchtime - at the Clubhouse, it was nice and steady

The team confident, relaxed - they were ready

Dean the hard man took off with his paper to lie in the sun

Gus, Craig, Fatty and others watched video and chewed on a bun

Robbie and Chris Allen swapped secret brotherly back talk

Only now and then did someone take that short "nervous" walk

HK sits and, how unusual, seems lost in space

His bookends worry not - he'll be right on the pace

Reece Bratton shows how he's feeling so cool

And calmly sets up a card playing school

Uncle Ron mothered about - "with the pasta drink water!

- let the carbohydrates do what they oughta”

On the concrete Frogger laid, a football the pillow for his head

And Roger smiled as he looked at the men he had led

Wandering about is Captain Harry with his melon grin

He knows the outcome - Tech Tahs will win


History contains truths - one stands tall and grand

The power of words to elevate and ennoble man

Let us recognise that in Tech Tahs history

Two speeches which unlock that mystery

Of how in two short years - wooden spooners to Premiers

Leaving the rest sitting on their derrieres


In the first Roger called upon the ghosts of ANZAC past

A young Lieutenants' orders to hold to the last

And with these stirring words in each player grew

A determination to play up to Aussie spirit true

It didn't take long, Roger's ANZAC talk

All they had to do now was to walk the walk


The second from Rick, the grizzled campaigner - straight from the heart

And as he spoke, from his eyes some tears did start

"You fellows should realise the work that's been done for an age by many whose reward would be for you to win - centre stage"

He told them of how the word had travelled fast

The messages of support received from players past

From NZ, Queensland, Ireland, Wales, Scotland they came

Urging them onto victory and Shoalies to tame        

"History supports and destiny beckons - a lot of people are supporting us"

The players grew quiet and determined there sitting in the bus

In their eyes there gleamed the battle light

They would win it for their mates, the club - this fight

On and on it mounted till it shone bright

The will to win - they would hold against Shoalies might


The hours crawled by - times relative they say

Until they were stripped, stretched and ready to play

On that slow purposeful walk from the slope of grass

The team silently vowed that the try line Shoalies should not pass

And onto the side lines appeared painted spectres brave

Leading the throng into song, flags awave

Under the grandstand thunderous with applause

Streamed the Tech Tahs all afire, then a pause

Before the announcer called each on by number, one by one

The way they ran out all knew they would climb the highest rung


The anthem was sung, teams in position, let battle start

Each man ready to play and do his part

Rugby fast and open was the plan

And didn't they show it man by man

It was a wonder to behold

And every player oh so bold


The supporters painted and clothed in Red White and Black

Stomped and screamed themselves hoarse, loving each wave of attack

Dapto's caretaker was seen to shake his head

It wasn't meant to stand this - no way - his shed

The first scrum - "locks in" and the front rows stare

"Crouch- engage"- a wild bull, those forwards would scare

Eyes ablaze, faces grim

The Tech Tahs pack never gave in

From red zone to red zone the grand final went

And many watchers thought "lord love us, they'll all be spent"

Its not half time yet

On Tech Tahs everyone wanted to bet


The pack is on fire - pick and drive - grind

Over the precious advantage line - paying the defence no mind

There's Benny 0 and Fatty with their ears pinned back

Streaming across field terminating the backs track

The back line of Ross, Reece, Moana, Chris and Adam well aligned is rock solid

Look out Shoalies - there's only one greeting and that's torrid

In the stand fingernails are chewed away.     ·

Though this wasn't a church, you could hear Wayne pray

And each Red White and Black breast feels fit to burst

They know it has to be now- forget the wooden spoon curse

On the sideline Roger he waits

A Coach is lonely though surrounded by mates

His men are out there doing their stuff

Proving what he knows, they're mighty tough


Twice from twenty-two restarts Mick Hayes opted for cunning

A tap and run, but Kris defence was stinging and stunning

And instead of Shoalies being down field running full tilt

Tech Tahs defence pressed hard - right to the hilt

And so it continued the first forty thrill followed by spill

And at half time the score was nil nil


In the stands the supporters were tense

Already on the edge of their seats victory they could sense

In front of the Shoalies grandstand section Simon T stirring, dashed

For his effort blood is spilt as about his head cans crashed

On the field Roger laid his orders down        

"Maintain the pressure, we own this town

Take any points on offer, we're on track

Keep hammering them, not long and they'll crack"

As one the Tech Tahs heeded his words

And resolved to taste sweet victory not bitter curds


The forwards shake and move every ruck and maul

To gain and retain that treasure of prizes - the ball

The front row of Harry, HK and Gilroy, Dean

Are tigers - not for them any thoughts tomorrow of what might have been

The tight five are engaged in trench warfare, real blood and guts

Gus, Benny 0 and Fatty are rampaging madly driving Shoalies nuts

Kris makes them shudder when he hits them- they're on the rack

And at the lineouts they put Craig or Gus well above the pack

And driving these forwards on like a man demented is Rod

He delivers the ball to Ross, slick and fast, like shelling peas from a pod


The backs defence is so tight, Ross Reece and Moana - didn't care what magic Shoalies bring

They kept rocking them back on the heels with tackles full of sting

Robby the custodian covered everything in sight

And always brought the ball with him, and the team back at full flight


Then for some imaginary indiscretion the Referee his whistle blew

And Shoalies' Tim Eddy kicked the penalty high and true

And back in the stand "that'll stir them up" opined one old player    

"Just watch our lads, they'll raise a cog- this team it's a stayer"

And from kick off never truer a word was spoke

Because what next happened, Shoalies back was broke

Kris Leha said to his Tongan mate "just run straight"

And to that call the centre responded - he was like a front runner in the Cox's Plate

It was a glorious sight, Moana in full flight on the fly

And when at last his straight, bumping run had ended - the first try


Panda - bloody - monium in the stands with Slacko, Paul D and Bat orchestrating the noise

On that field of glory Rod and Harry called for more effort plus discipline and poise

Wayne 0 near broke the old player's back with a bear hug

And shouted "we can do it - it's ours - that Prime mug"


A penalty to Shoalies directly in front - the Captain declines - brave decision?

Came the green and gold waves of attack - repelled with ferocity and precision

When at last the pressure eased and Tech Tahs through power and skill got room

You could hear loud and clear - the knell of Shoalies doom

For that chance of points gone abegging foreshadowed the end

Now the Tech Tahs swept downfield, unmistakable the trend


Relentless pressure on the Shoalies was telling

And on the sidelines the supporters chests were swelling

There was the smell of blood in the air

In the tank Tech Tahs would leave nothing to spare

Harry skirts out wide, runs, bumps and in the defence - a dent

Quick recycling, the passes blaze and once more Shoalies line is bent

The try line looms close- of powerful play Shoalies receive a full dose

Ross tries a field goal but it's too wide

No matter - nothing can stop this Tech Tah tide

Once more the forwards battering ram applies the heat

Moana wants the ball; in his quest for his second try he won't be beat

Again quick passes - it looked like sleight of hand

Moana was in again - strike up the band!


Panda - bloody - monium once more - the grandstand rocked with joy

There wasn't a dry eye to be seen, Tech Tahs were on song - every man and boy

Dapto's caretaker into the night he had fled

He couldn't face what might happen to his beloved shed

And again the old player felt fright

As once more Wayne hugged tight

Reliable, ever-steady Reece calmly potted the goal

Everyone knew Shoalhaven had hit a big hole


Manager Rick was toey and Trainer Brony too

Assisted by Julie they knew what to do

Magic water, liniment, Vaseline they dispatch

All bumps, cuts, lumps, sprains they patch

With first aide, strapping they would help

Though the hits were vicious no Tech Tah would whelp

For this was the testing of the Tech Tah name

Raw courage, great skill, open rugby the game

None thought of the pain, only the gain

None his duty did shirk - every man just looked for more work



Craig and Gus could teach eagles how to soar

Each time one went up - hear the crowd roar

Rod weaved his magic - a short kick

Chase and tackle the catcher, neat trick!

Hard, fast, open rugby - joy that money can't buy

The team and the crowd could smell a try

The pressure was on for young and old

And the old player looked for a way to beat Wayne's next hold


Supporter’s eyes strain in the dark

The whole team lifts - it’s like a great shark

Intent on its prey, it will have its way

Shoalies try hard - using every trick in the book

Tech Tahs stood firm, victory was to be theirs by hook or by crook

A highball goes up, Adam backs himself and with aplomb

Takes it at pace in goal, defusing the bomb

Drifts across field - everyone's eyes are wide

Cool as a cucumber he threads the defence with his magic stride


The pressure mounted the defence was wilting, the attack kept it up

And after torrid exchanges Fatty went over, a reward most fitting - on victory they'd sup

This time everyone knew the race had been run

Shoalies were down and although not out - Tech Tahs had won

In the grandstand every eye glazed and to the sky the cheers of triumph raised

Chris has worked hard time is short - on goes Valdo

Though slight he strong and with fresh legs watch him go

Gus also has done more than his share so on goes TimeO

He's keen to get out there and strike a blow

Frogger gets the nod to replace HK

And he scoots headfirst into the fray

With Roger like guard dogs straining on the lead

Are the other reserves hoping for the call, into the action to speed

There's Bruton, Federicci, Williams and Marto

Shane, Stokes, Readie and the Rock wanting to go


They breed them tough down Nowra way

While Tech Tah confidence soared the Shoalies still had a say

Piggyback penalties brought Shoalies close to the line

But it was a lost cause - it’s nearly full time

They had courage and pride and wouldn't down lie

And to their credit, Shoalies managed a last gasp try


It was then at last Jim full time blew

The effort and courage to climb the mountain, Tech Tahs knew

At last for the Coach full time rings

Relief and joy to him it brings

Amid the celebrations, supporters sing, flags wave

All in salute to the Tech Tahs brave

Shoalies just stood there dismayed and shocked most profound

While Tech Tahs celebrated in a cyclone of sound

The old player looked round to give WayneO the slip

He feared for his back and what the President might rip


The Coach's wife Marlene and Rick did a jig

Grand finals provide their own intoxicant - it was that big

Ron bustled and bustled about - the moustache a-twitch

On came the painted faces and wigs, even god help me, I think a witch

Round and round they danced -flags on high

To those wooden spoon days Tech Tahs yelled goodbye

That night Tech Tahs brought a smile to Bill Ellis' ghost

They stood Premiers by a country mile and played well when it mattered most


But spare a thought for the vanquished foe

Shoalies who fought strong, toe to toe

In the Red White and Black confetti strewn round

Lie shattered their hopes forlorn, ground down

Yet in rugby's company Mick Hayes can stand tall

He and his men valiantly give their all

But nothing could stem that Red White and Black tide

You had to hang on tight, it was a glorious ride


Back in the dressing room the players' private enclave

Tech Tahs like winning- they're grinning- soon they'll rave

But first with champagne fizzing Ross performs in the shower

Proudly proclaiming victory to the stallion and blood red flower

He recites in a bellow the Coaches words of power

Which contributed to the triumph grand

"No one leaves - hold the ground - here we stand"


At last from the field the players and supporters trekked

To the Conno, Tech Tahs triumphant- to the south, Shoalies wrecked

Back in the darkness at the ground

Listen carefully, only the ghosts of rugby make the sound

Echoing faintly, hear the cheers as they sing




From the Year 2000.

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