FIFTY-NINE years after a rare and special district first grade rugby league premiership, the surviving members of that Central Kempsey side came together to recall tales true and tall at a reunion.
From their original number of 14, just half remain - and all were present and nestled around a table of knowledge in the back beer garden at the West Kempsey Hotel.
The side who swept the title in 1962 are arguably the greatest Kempsey league team of all time - and if not, they are at least in the conversation at the pointy end.
They beat Port Macquarie in the decider that year - and both grand finalists were coached by Australian legends in Lloyd Hudson (Kempsey) and Frank Stanmore (Port).
It was of course a different era, and a different game to modern day Group 3 footy.
Brothers Bob and Col Brenton, Ken Wilson, Bill Kennedy, Greg Mayhew, Bob Mavin and Ken Salmond were aged in their early 20s when that Central Kempsey team went on a run. They suffered just the one loss in '62, and the reserve grade side went even better, going through undefeated.
It was a time of strong and fast men, 'biff' and stiff-arm tackles around the chops, and unlimited tackle - and they did it all for mateship and little money.
The boys got six pounds a win, and four a loss - and all held regular weekday jobs.
Bob Brenton, who had just finished a carpentry apprenticeship in '62, recalled "if you got bloody hurt that was it - you didn't get paid".
Bob would go on to coach and serve as president of Central Kempsey, and had a brief foray with the North Sydney Bears in the Big Smoke.
Over the years Central Kempsey morphed into the Kempsey Cowboys and to the modern day Macleay Valley Mustangs and a few other guises along the way.
"Every time there was a new committee it became something different," Bob told the Macleay Argus.
"Akubra came and sponsored us and that's when we became the Cowboys. The fella from Akubra said he had $8000 and would that be enough? I nearly fell out of my chair because that was huge money."
Like many of those around the table this afternoon, few had much truck for modern day rugby league.
"It's up the shit," Bob said, "today you've got one fella coming in and all the other fellows coming in over the top."
He was more understanding of the present crackdown in the NRL on any contact with an opponent's head.
"I've played in games where I've come off the field and didn't remember a thing. But we had the stiff-arm (tackle) back then," Bob said.
"It was a different time. We trained on Wednesday and Friday nights and we used to get massive bloody crowds."
Bob, now aged 78 and the 'baby' of the remaining seven from that champion Central Kempsey team, was looking forward to the rare catch-up with his onetime team-mates.
A sentiment echoed by Greg Mayhew: "Let's hope there's still seven (of us) next year".
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