Redcliffe Dolphins Flashback - Tony

Tony Obst - Bound for Sydney soon? To most people in Sydney is the bridge over the Harbour, an incomplete opera house and hectic nights down Kings Cross. Not so with Redcliffe and Queensland fullback Tony Obst. Obst sees Sydney as a challenge to himself and his football ability... a challenge that will have to be met and overcome before his playing days are over. And if the money and conditions are right Obst will probably be playing in Sydney before too many more seasons are over. Not that he doesn?t like Redcliffe and Brisbane. Let Obst explain the way he feels about Sydney: ?I?ve always thought about playing down there. ? I suppose most players have at some time. I know it would be pretty tough, but I would like to play down there to see how it is and how I would go. ?I would like to play down there for a year but it won?t be just yet because I still have a year to go on my contract with Redcliffe.? Even after that Obst is not certain to look seriously at Sydney straight away. For at the age of 23 he has plenty of time, because he is tough and durable and has a tireless approach to the game. Few,if any in the game today would have as much A grade experience as Obst. For Obst is in his eighth season of first grade. He started his A grade career when he was only 15 years old back in his home town of Longreach in Western Queensland. ?I didn?t seem to fit in with the junior football,? Obst recalled this week. ?So I had a talk with my father and he suggested that I try out for the senior grade,? Obst said. After a couple of games in B grade, Obst found a permanent spot at half-back with the Longreach team in the Central West League inter-town competition. It was a tough school for a young footballer to graduate in - you had to be pretty rugged to survive. The fact that Obst not only survived but flourished in the Longreach competition only goes to prove he was above average in durability for a player of his youth. When he first arrived in Brisbane in 1969 many League fans mistook Obst?s aggressive stance and equally aggressive play for a chip on his shoulder. But when you know he started at the age of 15 in a rough and tumble League like Longreach you realise that if he hadn?t learned to stand up for himself he certainly wouldn?t be playing League today. Today Obst doesn?t give off the same air of defiance as he did when he first joined Redcliffe, but don?t let that fool you. You will probably remember the par in the Brisbane Beat column last week on the toughest footballer in Brisbane? Yes it was Tony Obst and the man who named him for the award was none other than another one of Brisbane?s toughest, Peter Kleinhans. Obst packs every bit of his 13 1/2 stone and 5ft 10in. frame into everything he does on the football field. When he can?t run around someone in attack he can usually run through them and when he tackles he puts them down, no risk. Obst joined Redcliffe as a five - eighth and centre. At one stage he even found himself in the second row. But when the club?s number one fullback, Rowan Gaylard suffered a serious leg injury, Obst was put back to replace him. At the time Obst couldn?t have had a better teacher, for the club coach was former test fullback Ken McCrohan. McCrohan still passes on tips of fullback play to Obst.Obst said ?I see Ken every week and he is always willing to answer any questions I ask him about football.? Although he used to be a good goal kicker Obst would prefer to concentrate on attack rather than goal kicking these days. In 1968, his last year in Longreach, Obst won the top goal kicking award. But you get the idea that Obst wants to be selected on his football ability, not on how many goals he can kick. Right now he doesn?t have any selection problems with Redcliffe, and the way he?s playing he won?t have too many problems when it comes to selecting the Queensland team. He is playing better football today than he was when he made his debut for Queensland in the last interstate match last year in which Queensland defeated New South Wales. Obst is rather unique as fullbacks go. He is not particularly fast but has a highly deceptive change of pace.

This article is from Rugby League Week on May 5, 1973 Tony Obst never did make the trip to Sydney play, he continued to play for the Redcliffe Dolphins with great distinction until 1981 before having a year at Brothers under Wayne Bennett's coaching in 1982 before returning to finish career at the Dolphins in 1983. Tony played 230 first grade games for Redcliffe and represented Queensland in 1972,1975 and 1976 including Queensland's last victory over New South Wales before State of Origin started. Obst had arguably his best season of club football in 1980 under the coaching of Frank Stanton when he won The Courier Mail, Rugby League Week and Rothmans Medal as player of the year in the Brisbane Rugby League competition. Tony's son Sam however did make the trip to Sydney spending three seasons with the Roosters and is now playing Superleague for the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.