Kiama Knights 1969 under 9 premiers gather for 50-year reunion

The Kiama Knights under 9 premiers in 1969 with manager Bruce Browne (back left) and coach Phil Greenaway (back row from left) Mark Witheridge, Robert Stead, Mark Lavender, Shane Tierney. Middle row: Gary Lee, Colin Campbell, Tony Snelling, Ian Gould, Robert Roy. Front row: Neil Piper, James Regan, Tony Browne, Wayne Filmer and Steve Simpson.
The Kiama Knights under 9 premiers in 1969 with manager Bruce Browne (back left) and coach Phil Greenaway (back row from left) Mark Witheridge, Robert Stead, Mark Lavender, Shane Tierney. Middle row: Gary Lee, Colin Campbell, Tony Snelling, Ian Gould, Robert Roy. Front row: Neil Piper, James Regan, Tony Browne, Wayne Filmer and Steve Simpson.

The Kiama Knights under 9 premiership team from 1969 has relived its glory days with a reunion last weekend.

The get together marked 50 years since the junior Knights downed rivals Shellharbour3-nil in the grand final to secure the premiership.

The reunion also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Knights 1969 first grade Group Seven premiership win over Bomaderry 14-2 in a grand final replay at Shellharbour after the sides had been locked 2-all in the first season decider.

James Regan who played hooker in the junior Knights under 9s said the group had a great weekend.

"Only two of the 14 team members were unable to attend on the weekend which was fantastic," he said.

"Unfortunately Gary Lee and Rob Roy were both unable to make it.

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"The only other absentee was our manager Bruce Browne who passed away in 2011.

"It was great to see all the guys again, some have changed, some haven't."

One player, Mark Witheridge, turned out to be a bit of a mystery.

"Mark only played one season with us and then went away to school," Mr Regan said.

"So some of us hadn't seen him for a long while and they were like 'who's that guy?'

"No one knew.

"I had gone to school with him as well so recognised him."

The Kiama Knights under 9 premiers in 2019 with (back row from left) Mark Witheridge, Robert Stead, Mark Lavender, Shane Tierney, coach Phil Greenaway. Middle row: Colin Campbell, Tony Snelling, Ian Gould.. Front row: Neil Piper, James Regan, Tony Browne, Wayne Filmer and Steve Simpson. Absent: Gary Lee, and Robert Roy. Manager Bruce Browne deceased. Photo: Kristie Laird

The Kiama Knights under 9 premiers in 2019 with (back row from left) Mark Witheridge, Robert Stead, Mark Lavender, Shane Tierney, coach Phil Greenaway. Middle row: Colin Campbell, Tony Snelling, Ian Gould.. Front row: Neil Piper, James Regan, Tony Browne, Wayne Filmer and Steve Simpson. Absent: Gary Lee, and Robert Roy. Manager Bruce Browne deceased. Photo: Kristie Laird

Neil Piper, who went on to play first grade with the Knights as did his two brothers Alan and Brian, who also played at Cronulla and Dapto, even turned up with his original premiership blazer from 1969.

"He still had it," Mr Regan said, who still has his blazer pocket.

"It was incredible he still has this little kids' blazer after all these years."

The Kiama Knights first grade and under 9s who both won Group Seven premiership titles in 1969.

The Kiama Knights first grade and under 9s who both won Group Seven premiership titles in 1969.

The group even reenacted their 1969 premiership team shot.

In 1969 the premiers were presented with their premiership pennants after the game by legendary Nowra Warriors player Tony Branson, who by that stage had signed with the mighty St George Dragons and had represented Country, NSW and Australia.

Mr Branson, who is back living in Nowra, had also planned to join the players at the weekend's gathering but unfortunately fell ill and was unable to attend.

The Kiama under 9s side was coached by Phil Greenaway and managed by Bruce Browne and included Mark Witheridge, Robert Stead, Mark Lavender, Shane Tierney, Gary Lee, Colin Campbell, Tony Snelling, Ian Gould, Robert Roy, Neil Piper, James Regan, Tony Browne, Wayne Filmer and Steve Simpson.

Also celebrating over the weekend was the Knights' first grade premiership side from 1969.