Verlie Madsen, Doug Madsen and John Armbruster will represent relatives at the Wall of Legends opening at Warwick Cowboys.
Verlie Madsen, Doug Madsen and John Armbruster will represent relatives at the Wall of Legends opening at Warwick Cowboys. Gerard Walsh

Cowboys pay tribute to great players from the past

MICK Madsen, Vic Armbruster and Dan Dempsey are three players from the 1920s and 1930s who will be remembered when the Warwick Cowboys Wall of Legends is opened tomorrow.

Madsen was selected as one prop in the Queensland Rugby League Team of the Century and, according to his nephew, Doug Madsen, was a hard but fair player.

Doug's sister Verlie recalls her uncle saying to "play the ball and not the man".

Mick was born on the family farm half-way from Mt Colliery to Tannymorel.

"The place was called Danish Court due to our Danish heritage. Verlie and I both remember enjoying separate school holidays in Toowoomba with uncle Mick and his wife Hilda," Doug said.

The extended Madsen families celebrated Christmas together and without fail, it was the famous footballer first at the sink for washing up.

John Armbruster remembers moving to Warwick when his parents took over the Royal (later Mayfair) Hotel.

A forward who was fast enough to play in the backs, Vic played some club footy in England and was in the same 1929 Kangaroos team as Mick Madsen and Dan Dempsey.

Vic assisted both Warwick rugby league clubs with specialist coaching and coached school footy.

"Dad played in the Toowoomba team which beat the Englishmen 23-20 in 1924, I remember him saying that Mick Madsen was the only player who could consistently handle the ball in one hand," John said.

"Dad liked all footy codes and told me soccer had one advantage as it could be played in a constrained area."

If rugby league was about toughness, former Freestone player Dan Dempsey was one of the best.

His cousin Mel Ivey, nee O'Dempsey, said the O was "lost" from her cousin's name early in his career.

"Dan played in the Battle of Brisbane in 1932 when I am told he had to be physically restrained to keep him off the field after he broke an arm. He said he still had one good arm."

While she never saw him play, Mel recalls hearing about him riding a horse from Freestone to Toowoomba for footy training.

"During one Kangaroo tour match, he asked for a safety pin for a face gash."

He retired to operate the Ulster Hotel in Ipswich, which is still in family hands.

The Warwick relatives of the three 1920s/1930s footballers will be at Father Ranger Oval from 2pm tomorrow for the unveiling of the Wall of Legends which honours players with a Warwick connection who represented Queensland, Australia, played NRL or rose to prominence as officials/referees.

While Melbourne Storm winger Justin O'Neill, who was born in Warwick, is holidaying at Hughenden, Newcastle Knights NRL coach Wayne Bennett will head a star-studded group of legends and family members.

All welcome from 2pm with canteen and bar open. Greg Carey and Con Seibel will do the unveiling at 4.15pm.



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