DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 28, 2017
MONDAY, JULY 10
Barry Dick and Wayne ‘Ticker’ Heming are inducted into the Media Hall Fame at Suncorp Stadium, alongside previous inductees, Jack Reardon, George Lovejoy, Frank O’Callaghan, Gerry Collins and yours truly. Photos of Barry and Wayne now adorn a wall near the media box at the stadium. Also at the function are fellow media personalities, Michael Crutcher, Margaret McDonald, Jim Morton, Steve Connolly and Trad McLean; Melbourne Storm CEO, Dave Donaghy (a former journo); Broncos chair, Dennis Watt (a former journo); Alan Graham and Greg Adermann from Suncorp Stadium; and inaugural Gold Coast Titans’ chairman, Paul Broughton. Wayne Heming reminisces about the help provided to him by former QRL chief, the late Senator Ron McAuliffe. Ron was a great help to all league writers. Lunch at The Caxton Hotel, where we are joined by Broncos’ coach, Wayne Bennett and former Broncos’ skipper, Allan Langer. At the bar, we are joined by two lads from Hull in England, Ian Potter and Martin Thompson, who are here for the third and deciding State of Origin match. Publican, Steve Farquhar, a former Queensland rep (before Origin) shouts a round. I take the Hull boys to ‘The Breakfast Creek Hotel’ for a steak. Our driver is Sudanese, and I give him a brief history of the Creek and other Brisbane icons, something I think he appreciated.
TUESDAY, JULY 11
To Main Beach on the Gold Coast to catch up with our eldest boy, Damien; his wife, Emma and daughter, Parker after our six weeks European/Hong Kong adventure. We had caught up with our youngest son, Lliam; his wife, Channelle and their two boys, Ethan and Connor the day before.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 12
The third Origin match has been billed as the biggest of all time. Where have I heard that before?
New South Wales belted Queensland 28-4 in Game 1 in Brisbane, but the Maroons squared the series with a 18-16 win in the return clash in Sydney, thanks to a sideline conversion by five eighth, Jonathan Thurston. ‘JT” was ruled out of the decider because of a shoulder injury he suffered in the Sydney match. He required immediate surgery that night, because there was a risk of permanent damage.
Melbourne Storm’s Rockhampton product, Cameron Munster was Thurston’s replacement, and what a game he had in his debut, setting up two crucial second half tries in Queensland’s 22-6 win, the final scoreline flattering the Blues.
My wife, Marie and I were sitting near where Munster set up those tries, for winger, Valentine Holmes and prop, Jarrod Wallace. Holmes scored three tries, but man of the match was hooker, Cameron Smith.
Queensland trainer, Allan Langer took one of the best catches of the night, pulling in, one handed, a wayward kick from Blues five eighth, James Maloney.
Two Polynesian males threaten to jump the fence at fulltime, taunting a skinny security guy, who goes looking for help. Two Blues’ supporters throw their blue wigs over the fence and Queensland fullback, Billy Slater’s son retrieves them.
Sitting near Marie and I were fellow QRL History Committee members, Paul Hayes and Steve Haddan, Paul with his good mate, Michael Mead, and Steve with his son. Steve is wearing a ‘JT’ (Thurston cap). QRL History Committee chairman and ARL Life Member, Kevin Brasch watches the match from a corporate box with former ARL heavies, Colin Love and Ken Arthurson.
I am reliably informed that New South Wales’ chairman, George Peponis (a former Australian skipper), commented to ARLC chairman, John Grant (a Queenslander) – as Smith and Thurston, the latter with his arm in a sling, raised the Origin Shield – that if this keeps up (Queensland winning all the time) no-one will watch Origin.
At halftime, there was a goal kicking promotion, with media personality, Renee Gartner (daughter of former Test centre, Russell Gartner), choosing people from the crowd. A lass, who had been sitting behind us, won the competition, and, as a result, won a car. Her male companion was beside himself with joy.
FRIDAY, JULY 14
Get up in time to watch the finish of the Wigan v Warrington match from England, with Wigan skipper, Sean O’Loughlin playing his 400th game for the club. Learn of the passing of former Great Britain prop, Vince Farrar, who had a stint with Cronulla. Vince played one Test – against Australia – in 1978, when he was contracted to Hull.
SATURDAY, JULY 15
I take our eldest boy, Damien and his good mate, Ben Herde to their Nudgee College 20-year-reunion, which begins at the school’s Ross Oval, to coincide with the First XV rugby match against bitter rivals, Terrace. (Ben is a Geelong based physio, who has worked at Wimbledon). Warehouse cricket is being played at Marchant Park, Chermside. The beauty of winter in Queensland. Foxsports carry a nice feature on Newcastle winger, Nathan Ross, who would sneak out of Sydney (rugby) school, St Joeys, Hunter’s Hill, to play league.
Photo 1: Four veteran scribes – (from left): Barry Dick, Trad McLean, Steve Ricketts and Wayne Heming (sorry Trad);
Photo 2: He looks happy. His girl has just won a car in a goal kicking competition;
Photo 3: A wounded Johnathan Thurston does a victory lap;
Photo 4: Vince Farrar scores a try.