One of the most successful clubs in the Newman National Football League recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Newman Tigers held their 50th anniversary on April 8-10 with about 40 people from across the State, including inaugural club president Murray McKenzie, descending on the town. They are one of four teams that make up the Newman National Football League and have won 15 premierships, most recently in 2013. Founded in 1972, Tigers were one of three clubs to take part in the inaugural NNFL, along with Saints and Centrals, before Pioneers joined the competition in 1975. Organised by Mel Parr, the anniversary began on April 8 with a game between Tigers and Pioneers with original president Murray McKenzie tossing the coin and life member Ken Rowe umpiring. Tigers downed Pioneers 14.13. (97) to 8.7 (55). “We got away with the win and were surrounded by a huge crowd, including people that were there when we first started in 1972, to sing the Tigers’ victory song,” Parr said. The celebrations continued on April 9 with a gala dinner featuring 86 guests, ranging in age from 18-88. Parr said numbers had dropped because of COVID-19 and isolation rules. She said she had been working on this reunion for three years and had dates booked back in July last year to give everyone notice to attend. “We were a bit worried with Covid and restrictions we may have had to cancel but it all worked out,” she said. “It was the first time a lot of people had seen each other since being a part of Tigers 20-50 years ago.” The weekend celebrated the highs and lows faced by the club over the years, from numerous premierships to catastrophe when the clubhouse burned down in 1987. “We had a history table setup on the night with all different memorabilia, including burnt pool table balls from when the club burned down in 1987,” Mrs Parr said. Parr said the Tigers’ greatest achievement was keeping the club going for so long. “The biggest thing is just keeping the club going for 50 years in this day and age is a pretty hard thing,” she said. “Especially up in Newman with FIFO, a lot of people have left town, there’s not as many residential — you get a lot of FIFO now. “So some weeks are pretty much scraping together a side half an hour before the game just have a match.” The impact the Fly-in Fly out culture had on the local league and the club was seen in 2013 when the Tigers claimed a-then unprecedented 15th premiership despite being forced to blood 58 players in the season. Despite the hardship, the Tigers went unbeaten over the 15-game season to claim the flag in dominant fashion, showing the heart and spirit of the club. Parr said the club put together a time capsule to be opened in 25 years for the 75th Anniversary.