DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 51 2016
MONDAY, DECEMBER 19
Drinks with my former Murwillumbah High School classmate, Tom Tartan at Brothers’ Leagues. Tom reflects on his time at Dungay Primary School, in the Tweed Valley, and some of the wild characters who attended. One evidently, was notorious sex offender, Robert Fardon. Tom played in the Open Bs rugby league side at Murwillumbah High, and says their victory over Lismore High, in 1970, was crucial to our school’s overall points victory in the sporting arena. Our Open As went down, unfortunately. I was five eighth and vice-captain. Our star was centre and skipper, Kel Sherry, who later would go on to play for the Roosters and South Sydney. Lismore’s star was a centre as well, Jeff Myers, whose dad, John played with and against my dad, Jon, in Lismore in the 1940s/50s.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22
Christmas drinks with my sister, Gay Lynch, and her husband, David at Mr and Mrs G, Riverbar in the Brisbane CBD. In England, my good mate from Widnes, Paddy Hart tells me has had two knee replacements and is waiting on a new hip. Yes, he played rugby league.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23
Christmas drinks at Brothers Leagues. Ex Vietnam vet., ‘Robbo’, says the American helicopter pilots in Vietnam were ‘ mad’. He meant that to be a compliment. Former Valleys’ prop, Frank Clancy, a hotelier, is going to manage the Lowood pub for a few days. Lowood is located to the west of Brisbane, in the Somerset region.
There has been a car theft from our estate. The town house was left unlocked, and the thieves grabbed the car keys. The police got the alleged culprits – young blokes from Wynnum.
My good mate, Phil Batty’s daughter, Giorgia has finished her second year of law/psychology. A bit smarter than Phil and I.
Photo 1: Phil Batty (right) and Steve Ricketts.
Manly-Warringah hooker, Matt Parcell signs with English club, Leeds. Matt’s Dad, Steve played for Queensland Residents on the 1989 tour of France, which I covered. Steve’s Dad, Gary played for Australia, and his grandfather, Percy played for Queensland, all from the Ipswich region. An amazing rugby league family.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24
Christmas Eve Mass at St Columba’s Wilston is packed. Beautiful service, with a band and choir, the conductor in sandals and long socks. Local priest, Fr Leonard Uzuegbu, is mourning his father, who died at home in Nigeria. Learn of the death of Status Quo guitarist, Rick Parfitt. I loved to play their music, loud of course. Went ‘off’ Status Quo a bit, when they featured in ‘Down Down, Prices Down’ ads for Coles. But, you’ve got to make a living.
Watch rugby union from England, and former Melbourne Storm and Castleford rugby league winger, Denny Solomona scores a good try for Sale.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25
So many kids, in our estate, have new bikes. Christmas lunch here. I bought bags of ice from local servo., and Pakistani attendant wishes me Happy Christmas. Nice. In England, our Devon friends, John and Glenda Tapp have Christmas lunch at local catering college.
Photo 2: Christmas lunch at Grange.