Alex Blair has never seen a rivalry like the one between Albury Blues and Albury Roos.
But without it the long-time administrator and gate-keeper doubts rugby league would have survived on the Border.
“Albury Roos and Albury Blues absolutely hated each other,” the 77-year-old said.
“The Roos were Catholics and the Blues were mostly West Albury boys.
“We had a famous incident in about 1962 when most of our players retired and we only had enough players for about one-and-a-half sides.
“Fortunately we had drawn Roos in the first game of the season.
“One by one these old Blues players who had retired started coming through the gate with their gear after hearing we were short.
“They just wanted to play Roos one more time.
“They hadn’t trained or anything and we won.
“That type of rivalry kept rugby league going here back then.”
Few are better qualified to comment than Blair given he watched his beloved Albury Blues play for the first time at Aloysius Park in 1950.
“I started barracking for Blues when I was about nine,” he said.
“The one memory I have is seeing a player called Freddy kick a goal from way over the halfway mark.
“I thought the ball was going to explode.”
Blair, a former Albury Blues president and secretary, still works on the gate at home matches for Albury Thunder.
While he has seen many top-line players come and go, Blair said Thunder coach Adrian Purtell was as good as any.
“We’ve had some beauties,” he said.
“I guess our current coach is the best in regards to what he’s gone on to achieve.
“He’s been remarkable.
“Harry Simmons in the early 60s was another one.”
Albury Blues competed in Group 13 between 1934 and 1991, winning premierships in 1958, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1988 and 1989.
Group 13 went into recess in 1992 which led to the formation of the Albury Southern Rams in Group 9.
They have since been known as Lavington Panthers and Albury Thunder.
Many former Albury Blues stalwarts, including the club’s first premiership coach Teddy Mair, will be returning for a reunion on August 4.
Doug Jones, Digby Murray, Rob Waugh, Doug Hobson and Paul Bell will be among a long list of former big-name players attending.
A function is being held at the Commercial Club with tickets $20 per head.
Enquiries can be made with Jo Stratton on 0410 414 616.