FLASHBACK: December 1987

Queensland rugby league forward, Mark Hohn vowed to give the Brisbane Broncos full value, despite having suffered his second broken leg in three months – while playing for English club, Hunslet.

Hohn, who had toured New Zealand with Queensland in 1987, while contracted to Brisbane club, Seagulls-Diehards (formerly Valleys), joined fellow Queenslander, Trevor Benson (Redcliffe) and Canterbury-Bankstown (Sydney) forward, David ‘cement’ Gillespie at South Leeds outfit, Hunslet.

In only his second match for Hunslet, in November, Hohn suffered a fracture of the same leg he broke playing for the Diehards against Brisbane Wests.

Hohn was adamant the Broncos had not bought a crock, saying he hoped to be available for the club’s trials in February, in their inaugural season in the NSWRL.

“I may lack a little fitness, but that’s all,” Hohn said. “I made the mistake of rushing straight back into training when the plaster was removed. I was keen to get on the field for Hunslet, because they had stuck by me, even when they heard about the break (against Wests). I feel sorry for Hunslet. They also lost Trevor (Benson) with a broken arm.”

Hunslet’s other Australian, former Redcliffe forward, Terry Webb, was not regarded as an import, because he had been playing in England for years – with Leeds.

Leeds hit the headlines in the national press because of their interest in black rugby union winger, Chris Oti, who starred for Cambridge against Oxford in the annual inter-varsity match. (Oti remained in union and made his England Test debut in 1988).

Meanwhile, the Broncos announced former Brothers’ forward, Glenn Bailey had joined the club’s coaching staff. Bailey, who toured the UK with the 1977 Australian Schoolboys rugby union side, is the older brother of 1987 Brothers’ premiership captain, Trevor Bailey.

Hard hitting former Wynnum-Manly forward, Mal Green, had yet to front for Broncos’ training, with chief executive, John Ribot indicating the club was losing patience.

Green’s former Wynnum teammate, Colin Scott, another Broncos’ signing, had a chance meeting with Green in late December, but he said Green gave no guarantees about his future.

Fiery winger, Scott Nicholls signed with Seagulls Diehards after three years at Wynnum. Nicholls was viewed as the fullback replacement for David Bourke, who had signed with the Broncos.

Diehards’ chief executive, Rod Boult reckoned the Broncos had a mistake in not signing Nicholls as well.

Former Test winger, Ross Conlon told ‘The Telegraph’ in Brisbane he could shelve retirement plans, and instead play with the Tweed Heads based Gold Coast Giants in 1989.

Conlon, who was contracted to Balmain for the ’88 season, said he was keen to return to the Tweed Valley where he grew up, and if an opportunity arose to play for the Giants, he would seriously consider it.

The Giants had signed Mike Eden as their top goal kicker for their inaugural season. Conlon, like Eden, was regarded as one of league’s goal kicking aces in the 1980s.

Footnote: I grew up with Ross Conlon, at Bray Park, Murwillumbah. He was a soccer goal keeper until his mates at the Old Boys club convinced him to play league. Ross’s dad, Ted, was a tough prop forward with Brothers’ Murwillumbah, and coached the club in 1964.

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