MONDAY, JULY 4
Attend the funeral of my former Murwillumbah Brothers’ teammate, Kerry Twohill, at Tweed Heads. Father Paul McDonald, ex Murwillumbah, now based at Kingscliff, says Mass. Catch up with so many people from my youth, including the Ryan brothers, Peter and Mick; and of course, the Nunan brothers (three of the four anyway), twins, Geoff and Allan and the youngest, Mick. Kerry Twohill’s first marriage was to their sister, Margaret.
I am ‘Linked-In’ with former Great Britain and Wales rugby league international, Eddie Cunningham, who is now a mental health worker in Warrington, England. I saw Eddie play for Wales against France at Naughton Park, Widnes in January, 1978.
TUESDAY, JULY 5.
Panic when I see dress regulations for ‘League Nation’. You are required to wear a sports coat!! I don’t own one, so off to David Jones at Chermside, I go. I get to Channel 9 at the time specified, but there is so much time to kill before we actually have to get in front of the cameras. And, would you believe it, my new (blue check) coat is not suitable for television, so I have to wear one from their wardrobe, a drab brown number, which my wife hates. Justin Hodges and Scott Prince are on the panel with me, and a special guest is Josh Hoffman.
Learn of the death of former top sports radio guy, Rod Tiley, in Perth, after a long battle with cancer. He worked (briefly) at 2MW at Murwillumbah when I was a young journalist and local footy player.
WEDNESDAY JULY 6
‘Men of League’ lunch at Broncos, where I interview former dual international rugby star, Michael O’Connor. ‘Snoz’ is very good, but quietly spoken, and some of the older guests struggle to hear. Michael says the best backline he played in – either code – was the 1986 Kangaroos outfit. It was: Halves: Peter Sterling, Wally Lewis; centres, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles’ wingers: Dale Shearer, Michael O’Connor. Fullback, Garry Jack. The great Mal Meninga was a reserve. I covered that tour for the Brisbane Telegraph, and some of the football played was a joy to behold.
Ayr (North Queensland product) and former Norths’ player, Rick Bradford recalls my Norths’ days. He has a great memory, because I did not set the world on fire.
THURSDAY, JULY 7
Today I submit my preferences in a Quest Newspapers promotion to pick a State of Origin side, based on their old Brisbane clubs.
Greyhound racing has been banned in New South Wales. Have only been to the dogs once – back in the glory days of greyhound racing at the Gabba.
FRIDAY, JULY 8
At Brothers Leagues I attend a farewell for Henry Michael de Silva (better known as ‘China’, even though he has Sri Lankan heritage), who is moving back to Victoria. He will be missed by his Brisbane mates, especially Keith ‘Mickey’ Rooney.
One of Marie’s Irish relatives (through marriage) has been bashed by ‘hit men’, over land dramas in County Tipperary. Heavy stuff.
SATURDAY, JULY 9
Babysit our grandson, Ethan. He is such a delight. Take him for a walk around the neighborhood. All the trees have gone from recently sold house at corner of Uxbridge and Sellheim Streets. It was a mini-rainforest. Such a shame.
Former Murwillumbah High schoolmate, Barbara Jean Merrotsy (nee Gray) passes away today. She was an assistant at Grogan and McCarthy, where I had my dental work done. I took Barbara out on one occasion. A lovely, tall lass. Such a shock to hear of her death.
Family dinner tonight – slow cooked lamb – and excellent conversation.
SUNDAY, JULY 10
Listen to Macca on ABC. He talks about Walt Disney’s Cliff Edwards and his rendition of ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’, a song I loved as a kid. Macca talks about his love of cabbage. I telephone to tell him a cabbage story, but can’t get through. I’m sure he would have loved it!! In 1966, when the Great Britain rugby league team toured Australia, they played North Coast at Kempsey. Afterwards they were given a mayoral reception, and the meal included cabbage. One of the British forwards, in a broad Lancashire accent, bellowed: “Cabbage! Cabbage! Pig food. I won’t be eating that.” Bloody fussy Poms! In England, our players had a similar reaction to being served up cucumber sandwiches. I was told the cabbage story by larger than life Lismore identity, Mick Davis Snr., who played for North Coast against the Poms on that day in 1966.
Watch Tour de France, and there is snow in Andorra. Marie and I know all about that. We had to turn around when our battered old Dutch Army Kombi Van couldn’t make it over the border. Chains on the tyres might have helped, Stephen.
On that same trip we saw a bullfight in Barcelona, where it is now banned, but not in other parts of Spain. This week there has been a bullfighter killed in rural Spain, during a live telecast.
Photo: Keith Rooney (left) with Henry de Silva (‘China’).