Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs’ chief executive, Peter ‘Bullfrog’ Moore missed his first Rothmans Medal dinner since the early 1970s, for fear emotions might run over as a result of the Super League war.
Moore, who delivered Canterbury to Super League, effectively ending his friendship with ARL supremo, Ken Arthurson, said he did not want to be involved in any ‘unpleasant’ incidents at the dinner.
“During a long night, when everyone is drinking, I wouldn’t want to get into a slanging match with some people over the Super League issue,” Moore said. “I stress, there would only be two or three people in that category, no more.”
I attended the the black tie dinner at Sydney’s Wentworth Hotel as The Courier-Mail’s representative, and there were no unsavoury incidents, that I saw anyway.
At one Sydney newspaper, journalists had conducted a sweep on who would throw the first punch.
Former Rothmans Medal winner, Tom Raudonikis was guest speaker and had guests in fits of laughter. At one stage I thought former British Test lock, Mal Reilly would collapse to the floor, he was laughing so much.
The Brisbane Broncos, Super League’s flagship club, were represented by chief executive, Shane Edwards; injured centre, Chris Johns and marketing manager, John Crane.
Cronulla halfback, Paul Green won the medal, polling 24 points, three clear of Canberra’s David Furner and four clear of Andrew Johns (Newcastle) and Steve Menzies (Manly).
Next came halves, Adrian Lam (Roosters) 19 and Jason Taylor (Norths) 18 followed by Allan Langer (Broncos) and Cliff Lyons (Manly) both on 17.
Langer’s chances of winning the medal effectively ended when he broke his hand in a fight with Green in a round 16 match, the injury sidelining ‘Alfie’ for five games. Langer had accumulated his 17 votes in the first 12 rounds of the premiership.
Green became the first player to win the Rothmans Medal in two cities, having been joint winner of the BRL award (with Wests Steve Mills) when he played for Easts in 1993. His coach on both occasions was John Lang.
Sydney’s first medal was won by Cronulla halfback, Terry Hughes (in 1968) and he was one of the first on stage to congratulate Green.