DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER.
WEEK 30 2017
TUESDAY, JULY 25
ON Radio TAB, former South Queensland Crushers’ player, Scott Sattler says future superstar, Johnathan Thurston signed with the Crushers as a young bloke. I hadn’t heard that one. Chat to indigenous sporting identity, Max Ford, whose dad, Doug captained Tweed Heads Seagulls. The Horn family (of world champion boxing fame) visited Max at Mt Gravatt, when they discovered he was the nephew of former ‘British Empire’ middleweight boxing champion, the late Ron Richards, from Ipswich. Former Queensland Rugby League director, Ben Wall phones 4BC’s Ben Davis, to comment on current footy matters. Wall didn’t identify himself on air, but I knew his voice.
Professor Megan Davis and former Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie are new Australian Rugby League Commissioners.
Former Australian swimming coach, Bill Sweetenham revs up Canberra Raiders rugby league players at training. An English mate of mine, Frank Kennedy, a prominent swimming coach in the UK, was not a fan of Sweetenham when he was in charge of the British squad. Frank, a former rugby league player from Widnes, is now based in Gloucestershire. Wealthy Newcastle Leagues Club, Wests buy the Newcastle Knights NRL club. Wests’ licensed premises is just down the road from the Knights’ stadium, and has excellent accommodation. I stayed there many times, while working as a league writer for The Courier-Mail.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 26
Attend launch of Steve Mascord’s biography, ‘Touchstones’ at Triffids, in Fortitude Valley. Steve is interviewed by Robert Burgin, and a very quirky interview it is. Steve signs my copy of the book, with the message: “I’ve been across many dry gullies with you, and enjoyed every minute”, a reference to what Broncos’ coach, Wayne Bennett said to me in 2001, when he imposed a media ban on me – except Bennett’s sentence didn’t finish with: “enjoyed every minute of it”.
In the book, Steve recalls Super League’s World Nines in Townsville in 1997, when the ground announcer demanded a retraction from a columnist, for claiming he, the announcer, had introduced Rugby League International Federation chief executive, Maurice Lindsay as ‘Boris’ Lindsay, the day before. Steve wrote: “He demands this retraction over the PA.: ‘TO THE CORRESPONDENT FROM THE COURIER MAIL…’, he boomed.
I covered the Nines for The Courier-Mail. I didn’t hear the PA announcement. I have looked at my articles from the Townsville trip, and I can’t see the reference to Boris Lindsay.
My wife, Marie goes to the musical, ‘Bodyguard’, with our daughter-in-law, Channelle and Marie’s Irish niece, Leanah Kelly.
Tamworth Golf Club email, wanting to reprint the article I wrote about former Great Britain forward, the late Mick Adams (for Men of League magazine). No problem. Mick was a prominent member of Tamworth Golf Club.
THURSDAY, JULY 27
My wife, Marie is interviewed, with the aim of becoming a Commonwealth Games volunteer. Dual rugby international, Mat Rogers speaks to aspiring volunteers, in his role as as Comm Games’ ambassador. I drive on to Coolangatta, to interview former rugby league forward, Peter Ryan for Men of League magazine. His younger brother, Mick, another former league star, is also there, and we have a lovely chat. I played against the brothers all through my junior league days, and then again in senior football, when I was a member of the Murwillumbah Brothers’ club, and they were stalwarts of Tweed Seagulls. Mick and I played together in the North Coast side, in the New South Wales under-9 stone titles at Gosford in 1968. We both played in the front row.
Dinner at Main Beach Surf Club with our eldest son, Damien; his wife Emma and their daughter, Parker. Ex-surf club president, wearing a Narrowneck Long Boarders’ shirt, wins a meat tray. A ram at Beenleigh High, where there is a farm, has been named ‘Ricko’, after our son, who is a teacher there.
SATURDAY, JULY 29
Brothers have a great win over Brothers’ Holy Spirit in a second division clash at Stafford. I have a nice chat to former Brothers’ prop, Steve Telfer.
Tristan Sailor, son of former dual rugby international, Wendell Sailor, scores a great try for St George Illawarra’s under-20s in a 30-22 away loss to Newcastle.
SUNDAY, JULY 30
Noted author, Ian Heads is a guest on Ray Hadley’s sports radio segment, promoting his book, ‘The Great Grand Final Heist’, about the 1969 Sydney grand final, when Balmain caused one of the upsets of the century, beating Souths. Balmain were coached by Leo Nosworthy. In 1956, Nosworthy was captain-coach of Narromine in western New South Wales. Ahead of an away match against Condoblin, the ‘Condoblin Lachlander’ newspaper, had Leo down as “Leo Noseworthy”. Noseworthy! Sounds like something out of Seinfeld.
My former Murwillumbah Brothers’ teammate, Greg Grainger attends a reunion for the Morpeth club in the Hunter Valley, one of the last stops on his journey as a rugby league footballer. He made an impact, wherever he went.
My wife, Marie attends a Country and Western music festival at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, with her sister, Carolyne. The best acts, according to the girls, were ‘America’ and Tweed band, ‘Round Mountain Girls’. I have driven the Round Mountain road a few times.
Brisbane Brothers’ Golf Club member, Jim O’Shea is nick named ‘Squiggle’, after ‘Mr Squiggle’ of ABC children’s television fame. During the 2011 floods, it was his cow that was swept all the way from the Brisbane Valley to Moreton Bay, and survived.
Photo 1: Peter (left) and Mick Ryan.
Photo 2: A young Peter Ryan receives a trophy from Seagulls’ official, Col McCarron
Photo 3: Greg Grainger (left), Jenny Wise and Charlie Kaehler in a promotional shot for the 1974 Group 18 season. Grainger and Kaehler were Murwillumbah Brothers’ teammates.