DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK ONE 2017
TUESDAY, JANUARY 3
Take up temporary residence at our son, Damien and his wife, Emma’s Main Beach apartment, while they are visiting Emma’s family in Townsville. Drinks at Mano’s Bar, where there is a bloke in a Canterbury-Bankstown rugby league jersey, drinking alone. I say ‘g’day’ to him, and he says ‘bless you’. Courier-Mail journalist, Greg Davis is there with his father-in-law. Today is the seventh anniversary of Marie’s dad, Kevin’s passing, and, as per family tradition, we toast his memory with a glass of port. Marie’s niece, Kellie sends a lovely message from Ireland, where she lives: ‘We miss your smile, your joking ways. We miss the things you used to say, and when, old times we do recall, it’s then we miss you most of all.’
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4
Main Beach Surf club is so busy, so noisy. Former Brisbane Easts and Halifax (England) utility back, Bob Hudson is there. His son plays lock for Easts Carina league. Bob was born at Auburn in Sydney.
Watch some of the Test cricket (Australia v Pakistan) from the SCG. Former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke is in the Members’ area, with journalist, Charles Woolley of 60 Minutes fame. In front of them is noted rugby league author, Ian Heads. Matt Renshaw scores 184. Channel 9 commentator, Ian Chappell talks of the importance of fielding, and the efforts of Victorian, Paul Sheahan spring to my mind. His fielding was so good, it probably saved him from the axe several times, when his batting let him down.
Hard to believe, it was 10 years ago today that Marie and I left for our first, and to date, only, Western Australia holiday.
Bradford Bulls cease trading. It is not the first time this proud Odsal Stadium based rugby league club has hit the wall, financially.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 6
Marie and I have lunch at Lark. Good, not great (calamari and scallops). To Tedder Avenue bar strip tonight, and radio/television commentator, Ray Hadley and former horse racing and rugby league caller, Alan Thomas are are having drinks at Domanis. Ray has bought a unit at Calypso, Main Beach. Marie and I have drinks at Mano’s, where owner, Mike Ellison buys a round of drinks. Say hello to former Gold Coast Titans’ chairman, Paul Broughton and Geoff Smith, a former legal advisor to controversial businessman, Clive Palmer.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 7
Breakfast at Crema, with Phil and Margie Batty. Ray Hadley and Alan Thomas dining there as well, in addition to prominent businessman, Max Christmas. Phil’s brother, Peter, a former Australian hockey representative, is a mad Manly-Warringah rugby league fan and a regular at Brookvale Oval. Tonight, Marie and I have drinks, at Main Beach Surf Club, with George and Lenore Bartlett, finishing up at Bar Chico in Tedder Avenue. George is full of praise for our son, Damien’s teaching ability. George’s grandfather, an ex South Fremantle Aussie rules player, saw service in Turkey and France in World War 1, and lived to tell the tale. George is on the same wavelength as me, when it comes to Allan Langer – he is one of rugby league’s all time greats, a ‘fact’ that is often overlooked. Lenore supports Canterbury-Bankstown. She grew up at Bexley in Sydney.
Our daughter, Melanie is in Vietnam (Da Nang), and has caught up with her Uncle Andrew.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 8
Back to Brisbane today, after a final surf. The waves are quite brutal, and there are blue bottles. Marie’s niece, Heidi Donnelly’s seafood business provides 1,500 smoked fish portions to the Magic Millions horse racing event. The Koori Knock-out rugby league competition is featured on NITV, and one of the teams is ‘Cabbage Tree Island’, from northern New South Wales.
Photo: Bob Hudson (centre) with former international forward, John Payne (left) and Valleys’ stalwart, Ron Gurnett.