WEEK 39, 2016
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28
Watch Foxsports coverage of rugby league’s night of nights, the Dally M Awards. The red carpet stuff beforehand leaves me cold, as does NRL CEO, Todd Greenberg’s speech, in which he effectively says it is a good thing, that almost 50 percent of the playing strength is Polynesian. A good thing? I would think a good thing, would be to have the playing group more reflective of Australia’s general population.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
At ‘The Courier-Mail’, Mike Westlake is the new Head of Sport, with Karl De Kroo moving into the ‘Commercial and Partnerships’ area. Luke Turgeon, formerly of Gold Coast Bulletin, is the new sports editor. Ten years ago, I was on assignment for The Courier-Mail in Sydney, to cover the NRL grand final between Brisbane and Melbourne, and stayed at the Swiss Grand Hotel at Bondi, the Broncos’ base. Interesting times. My photographer was Nathan Richter, who sometimes, it has to be said, got up the nose of the players with his enthusiastic ‘shadowing’ of their movements.
Back to 2016 – Our car is rear ended – Marie driving – by a young bloke from Wilston. Accident happened at Newmarket and Marie suspects this fellow was on his mobile. Really! No!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1
Watch Wigan beat Hull in Super League semifinal. Australian winger, Steve Michaels scores a dodgy try for Hull. Watch the last quarter of the AFL grand final, and it is quite entertaining. Western Bulldogs beat the Swans to break a long premiership drought. Children present the winners’ medals to the players, and the first guy asks the kid his name, which I think is nice. But some players don’t even shake hands with the kids, which I think is rude.
Watch movie: ‘A most Wanted Man’. Good.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2
Watch the NRL grand final on the big screen at the Breakfast Creek Hotel, after watching the under-20s (Roosters 30 Panthers 28) and the Intrust Super Championship (Illawarra Cutters 54 Burleigh Bears 12) at home. Channel 9 have a Flashback to the 1976 grand final, in which Manly beat Parramatta 13-10. Rugby League Week founding editor, Geoff Prenter interviews Manly skipper, Bob Fulton afterwards. Queenslander, Ray Higgs captained Parramatta and played strongly in the Eels’ maiden grand final appearance. Manly had three English players – halfback, Gary Stephens and forwards, Steve ‘Knocker’ Norton and Phil Lowe. The 1986 Parramatta side has a reunion and among the guests are veteran journalists, Gary Lester and Ian Heads.
Cronulla’s historic…win over Melbourne in the NRL grand final is not popular at the Brekky Creek pub, because many Queenslanders regard the Storm as their second team. I was delighted, especially for the memory of the likes of Tommy Bishop and the late Steve Rogers who played in their first grand final in 1973. I had played against a then 17-year-old Rogers in 1972, when he was running around with Southport Tigers and I was playing for Murwillumbah Brothers. Former Murwillumbah Souths’ winger, Ray Corcoran also played for Cronulla in that ’73 grand final.
Learn that former Murwillumbah Old Boys hooker, Geoff Edwards needs an ankle operation, probably a legacy of his football days. Geoff went to Sydney and played first grade for Newtown in 1977.
Photo: Geoff Edwards (playing for Newtown) closes in on Easts’ legend, Arthur Beetson.