TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3
Melbourne Cup day, and Marie goes next door to Bandits/Brothers Club and places several bets. My money was on Bondi Beach (on the nose). We both dip out, with Michelle Payne creating history by riding outsider, Prince of Penzance to victory. Tells chauvinists to ‘get stuffed’.
I hear that former Broncos’ prop and football manager, Andrew Gee will help his home town rugby league club, Beaudesert Kingfishers this year. Beaudesert High School once provided a host of players to rep. sides, Gee among them.
Learn of the death of Academy Award winning screen writer (for Chariots of Fire), Colin Welland, a fervent rugby league man. He grew up in Lancashire, playing union at school and amateur league on weekends. He wanted to be a professional rugby league player, but conceded he wasn’t tough enough. He was closely aligned with Fulham Rugby League when they kicked off in London in the early 1980s, and wrote articles critical of rugby union’s bigoted attitude towards the 13 man game.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4
The funeral of former Queensland Men of League chief executive, Steve Calder is held today at ‘The Gap Uniting Church’ in Brisbane’s west. I sit beside one of Steve’s former Dubbo High schoolmates, Tony Pritchard, a retired teacher, who has written a book about his own canoe trip down the Darling River in New South Wales. The wake is held at Broncos Leagues Club, where I catch up with the likes of one of Steve’s best mates, former Brisbane rugby league goal kicking ace, Bruce Warwick, as well as former internationals, Ron Coote, Greg Veivers, David Wright and Bob Hagan.
Australian entertainer, Barry Crocker turns 80. My good mate, Phil Batty and I went to ‘the pictures’ at Murwillumbah to see Crocker in ‘The Adventures of Barry McKenzie’ and swore one day we would cut a swathe through ‘the Poms’, just like Bazza. What naive fools we were. Thank god we never made it to the shores of ‘old blighty’, with attitudes like that!
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6
Visit Bridge master and neighbour, Tony Jackman at Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital. He is recovering from a stroke, and seems to be coming along OK, with doctors (reluctantly) allowing him a beer or two. I walk home and witness a ‘lunatic’ juggler, practising his art at a busy intersection, and then collecting money from bemused motorists.
Long chat with my former Murwillumbah High School mate, Kel Sherry, who played top flight rugby league with Easts and Souths in Sydney in the early 1970s. Kel told me that Roosters legend, Arthur Beetson loved KB (Kent Brewery beer) after a game of footy, and no-one dared beat the big man to the first can from the Esky. Kel started his sports career in soccer, and made a trip to Zillmere, in Brisbane’s north, when he was 10 and playing with Murwillumbah United. His older brother, Marty also was a fine soccer player, but switched to league and was captain when we (Brothers) claimed the 1968 Tweed under-18 premiership with a memorable 10-4 win over Old Boys in the grand final at Knox Park. I was the fullback andhad a busy day under the high ball, in the days of the four tackle rule.
Adam Mogg is named coach of Redcliffe for 2016. The former Queensland State of Origin back is a fine example of perseverance, with many people (me included) believing he would never rise above Queensland Cup football when he was still playing for Redcliffe, aged 24. Please coaches. Give the older blokes a chance, because players aged between 25 and 31 can often make a bigger contribution than younger men.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8
To Lismore to visit Marie’s sister, Caroline and her husband Neville. Stop at Brunswick Heads for coffee at Footbridge Cafe. Girl beside me has coconut milk flat white. Marie’s niece, Rarni, is playing softball and her photo is featured on the cover of the local competition’s magazine. Her mother, Sonia Pope, is a senior star.