DIARY UPDATE: Week 43, 2015


David Smith quits as National Rugby League chief executive and the rumour mill goes into overdrive, re. his replacement, with radio commentator, Ray Hadley mentioning former Queensland centre, Mark Coyne. I had very little to do with Smith, given he had took over the job after I retired from The Courier-Mail in October, 2012. He struck me as a nice enough bloke, but one that didn’t have a feel for the culture of the game.

In Lismore, Jack and Irene Holmes celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. Amazing. Jack was my wife, Marie’s first employer. A grain merchant, he hired Marie as an accounts clerk.


Former Australian fast bowler, Len Pascoe, is interviewed on Radio TAB, and there is entertaining stuff about his days at Punchbowl High School, where a classmate was another fast bowling legend, Jeff Thomson. I wonder how many aspiring cricket stars are coming out of Punchbowl these days!

Men of League lunch today, and I step into the frame after radio and television commentator,Peter Psaltis is a late scratching as MC. My job was to interview former Queensland State of Origin star, Mitch Brennan, as well as burns victim, Ian Johnson, who said rugby league gave him a new lease on life after his accident on the Gold Coast. My good mate, Englishman, Brian Atherton, president of the Mid North Coast of NSW branch of Men of League, is a guest at our table. We chat to former Great Britain halfback, Tommy Bishop, who lives at Redcliffe these days. Other former internationals at the lunch include Lionel Morgan, Mick Veivers and Bob Hagan. Also chat to Redcliffe stalwarts, Trevor Day and Chris Massey.

News from France that foundation club, Villeneuve-sur-Lot is in financial trouble, and a rescue package is needed. This is becoming an annual drama. It would be criminal for rugby league to allow the Leopards to fold, as they were the first club in France to make the leap from rugby union.


To Yardbirds Bar, Paddington for drinks with youngest son, Lliam, who has a new car. One drink at Paddington Tavern as well, where I see rugby league identity/lawyer, Rick Green (brother of Cowboys’ coach, Paul) pile into a cab with three other gentlemen. My cabbie home is from ‘Persia’, and tells me he was forced out by mad clerics.


At the Bandits/Brothers’ club, a female baseball official gets very excited watching television coverage of Bandits v Cavaliers in Canberra. Legendary Brothers’ strapper, Jimmy Johnson tells me that Test forward, David Wright did his own strapping at Brothers.


On Triple M radio, former Broncos’ skipper, Gorden Tallis says Mal Meninga won a Euro Sports award when he was playing rugby league for St Helens in the mid-1980s. Mal in fact won the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award in 1990, following his magnificent achievements captaining the Kangaroos in England and France.

Learn of the death of Barry Gavin, 73, a former Secondary Schools rugby league official who was a manager on the Australian Schoolboys tour of France and England in 1979. That touring party featured the likes of future internationals Ben Elias and Andrew Farrar as well as Queenslanders Scott Czislowski, Brett Le Man, Gavin Payne, Craig McAlpine and Peter Lamb. Barry was teaching at Coorparoo High at the time. I interviewed Craig McAlpine at his Herston (Brisbane) home on his return, for an article in the Brisbane Rugby League Program.

The Australian side was undefeated on tour, playing eight matches in France (including two Tests) and one match in England, a Test against Great Britain which they won 14-2.

Also learn of the death of actress, Maureen O’Hara, aged 95. My late father’s favourite movie was ‘The Quiet Man’ starring Maureen and John Wayne.


Marie and I enjoy a lovely walk around the leafy streets of Chelmer, lunching at ‘Three Girls Skipping’. Walk past Graceville Theatre, where I saw a risque Marty Feldman movie back in 1972, I think it was. ‘Bridge of Spies’ is showing now.

Get groceries at Newmarket where a female P plate driver has 15 attempts (I counted) at parking her car.

Watch ‘The Seventies’ on SBS, with the music of Carole King featuring prominently.

In New York, our daughter, Melanie sees ‘Misery’, starring Bruce Willis, at Broadhurst Theatre.

Learn of the death of Bundaberg identity, Reno Bongioletti, whose son, Glenn dated my sister, Gay for a time.

Noted Bridge master, Tony Jackman, a regular at ‘the table of knowledge’ at Brothers’ Leagues, suffers a stroke while playing Bridge on the Gold Coast. Fortunately, there was a doctor at the table and he received quick, expert treatment.

Rugby League at Villeneuve-sur-Lot

Rugby League at Villeneuve-sur-Lot

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