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Reminiscing with two loyal Magpies
Dev Dines and Col Ratcliff at the SCG. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: The Daily Telegraph

BY Nick Walshaw - The Daily Telegraph - April 02, 2012 - Picture: Gregg Porteous

DEV Dines has just offered to punch me through those front-glass windows of the SCG Members Bar. And even at 81, he'd be even money.

Because while he may be a grandfather to four, great-grandfather to one, this retired gas worker from Kootingal, north-west NSW, remains a Western Suburbs Magpie.

The Pratten Park Magpies Reunion is in full swing and this hack has just asked Dines, a 1952 premiership winner, about whispers that the referee from that game, George Bishop, was a tad ... err ... shifty.

Specifically, that Bishop wagered 400 on the Magpies in a decider they'd eventually win 22-12 against Souths.

"Oh, that accusation, it still makes me wild," the gifted five-eighth says. "If that was the case, let me ask you a question: why would a referee who bet on Wests send our hooker off? That's what he did, for Christ's sake."

And, OK, so Dines will then offer to punch you through the nearby glass window. But not without a laugh that seems tattooed to every one of the 200 ageing Magpies who have gathered today to drink beer, reminisce and eventually crash hours from now at the eastern suburbs home of John "Chow" Hayes.For a child of the '80s, it's akin to drinking with your old footy cards. Trevor Cogger and Allan Fallah. Mick Lubinskas and Jimmy Leis. And who could forget the man who once left three Steelers looking like extras in Saw IV, Bobby Cooper?

Yet as even Tommy Raudonikis will remind you, shortly before an unprintable yarn about dog testicles, today is all about the boys from 1952 - particularly survivors Dines and Col Ratcliff.

A rugged bush boy from West Wyalong, Ratcliff came to Sydney in 1952 because "my mate wanted to test out a new Holden ute he'd just bought". By the end of the year he'd won a grand final.

Dines, meanwhile, spent almost all of 1952 coaching in Mareeba, Far North Queensland. Eventually he returned home around finals time of the Sydney competition, just as the Kangaroos were leaving for Great Britain with Magpies five-eighth Frank Stanmore on board.

"This was back when it took months to get to England and they left before the decider," Dines says. "So I was walking down the street when one of the old Wests officials spotted me and asked what I was doing. I signed up for one game and won a premiership."
With thanks

2nd April 20121

Special Notice:
Dev Dines is a co-founder of Canley Vale JRLFC. Together with Jimmy Connell they were the moovers & shakers when it came to bringing people together to form our club. We should be forever grateful and proud of the inaugural members that first saw fit to challenge the ability of every one of our volunteers during those formidable years during the early 1960s.
Dev's son Stuart was a member of the first team to play for our club. Another wonderful friend & Life Member of the club is Harry Carey who also had a son, Paul, play in that same team.

For more information on the records of the club follow this link. Club Records
Noel Clarke
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