Queensland State of Origin prop, Gavin Allen rejected an offer from Super League franchise, Adelaide Rams, opting instead to honour a commitment to sign with London Broncos for the 1996 Euro League season.
Super League general manager (football clubs) Michael O’Connor approached Allen on behalf of the Rams, but Allen made it clear he wanted a season in the northern hemisphere.
Allen was one of the heroes of the Maroons’ 3-0 series win over New South Wales, gaining selection for the Paul Vautin coached Maroons when it was clear he had not signed a loyalty agreement with either the Australian Rugby League or Super League.
The Super League ‘war’ broke out at the start of 1995, with the establishment ARL and the News Ltd backed rebel Super League rushing to sign as many players as possible, for what looked like two rival competitions in 1996.
But Super League were rebuffed by the courts in February, 1996 and the clubs were forced to remain part of the ARL. (That court verdict was overturned on appeal late in 1996 and there were indeed two competitions in 1997).
Gavin Allen, or ‘Jed’ as he was known by his mates, did his best to avoid the dramas of that ugly period in the game’s history.
When I interviewed Gavin over a coffee at Stafford City Shopping Centre in 2013, for a chapter in my book ‘Bennett’s Broncos’, he said the way players talked about the money being offered by both sides, ‘turned me off a bit as I had never looked at the money side of things.’
“It’s not the most important part of anything you do, I believe. It’s a by-product of what you do,” he said.
“I saw a lot of things I didn’t previously see, come out in the guys (his Broncos’ teammates), and there were things I didn’t like. You see another side of people when greed and selfishness come into it. These type of things at footy clubs can bring you down straight away, if blokes start thinking about themselves, as opposed to what the team needs. I was never really worried about it. I was on pretty good money at the Broncos, and I had my business as well.”
Allen’s printing business (Crystalmedia) employed only five people back in 1995, and is a lot bigger now. He said the business would “pretty much run itself” while he was in London.
.In other news of the day, Judiciary chairman, Merv Hoppner was made a Life Member of the QRL’s South East Division.
.Australian Schoolboys defeated France 46-12 at Villefranche-de-Rouergue, the town where Broncos’ media man, Trad McLean made his mark in French Elite Level rugby league in the early 1990s.