Paul Neale comments favorably on my website rugby league Flashbacks. Says he was at Carlaw Park, Auckland in 1971 when the Kiwis thrashed Australia 24-3. Paul is a great fan of former Kiwi lock, Eddie Heatley. I played against Eddie in 1975, when he was captain-coach of Wauchope in the Group 3 league in New South Wales, and I was contracted to Wingham. Eddie finished up being our milkman in Brisbane. Heatley and halfback, Ken Stirling were two of the Kiwi stars of the 1971 victory who attracted interest from Sydney clubs, with Heatley signing with North Sydney. Stirling saw out his career in New Zealand, and captained the 1978 tourists in Australia.
Marie and I go to Enoggera Dam for a swim, with our son, Lliam; his wife Channelle and their little bloke Ethan. Great spot. Very busy.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30
Learn of the death of former St George rugby league forward, Graham Bowen, in his sleep, aged 69. I saw him play in the 1971 grand final – against South Sydney. Still one of the great games. Graham’s son, Scott is a three Test Wallaby (rugby union) forward.
THURSDAY, MARCH 31
Members of our Queensland Rugby League History Committee meet with ARLC museum curator, Frank Puletua, a former NRL forward, re our proposed historic display at QRL Central in Castlemaine Street. Marie and I have lunch at London Fields, West End and buy goods at adjoining ‘Store’. The latest Men of League magazine carries a nice tribute to Brian Atherton, president of the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales committee. Brian, a former Widnes (England) player, was groomsman at our wedding.
FRIDAY, APRIL 1
Family get-together at my brother, Andrew’s house at Sunnybank. So many flying foxes. My Tweed Heads based brother, Jeffery, tells me his eldest daughter, Jacinta is currently in Dublin, and is playing rugby union. We both choke on our steak sandwiches.
SATURDAY, APRIL 2
Walk to Stafford shops, via Wilston-Grange Aussie rules field, where they are hosting Labrador from the Gold Coast, in three grades. A good crowd in attendance. Amnesty International volunteers are ‘shirt fronting’ patrons at shops. I was a member of Amnesty for a few years, back in the 1980s. A local heart surgeon at Zillmere (you read correctly) started a chapter. I still agree with their aims, but I fear the organisation has been hijacked by radicals.
Later I attend the official launch of the 2016 Brisbane Rugby League season at Emerson Park, Grange. Normanby are playing Carina. Chat to league historian, Mike Higgison, who tells several great yarns about dual rugby international, Andrew Walker’s recent stint with the Fassifern Rugby League Club in the Ipswich competition. Also chat to Valleys legends, Ron Gurnett, John McCabe, Frank Clancy, Mick Retchless and Marty Scanlan. Red hair forward, Liam Cherrington scores a good try for Valleys in the main game.
Hear an old song on radio today – ‘Barefoot Boy’ by Noeline Batley.
SUNDAY, APRIL 3
My wife, Marie has a busy day working in reception at Windsor International Motel – ambulance officers and table tennis players.
Learn of the death of top journalist, Bob Ellis. I didn’t realise he went to Lismore High School. The Woodlawn Cup (named after the famous college, near Lismore) is run at Lismore today, and is won by ‘Steve’s Surprise’. No, I didn’t have any money on it. Queensland State of Origin forward, Nate Myles (from Cairns) is an experts comment man for Foxsports coverage of the New South Wales Cup. Go figure. Our youngest lad, Lliam sends a lovely photo of his boy, Ethan, with a Vegemite face.