DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 33 2017
TUESDAY, AUGUST 15
My wife, Marie goes to ‘The Ekka’ (Royal Agricultural Show) – early – to see the animals, the wood chops and to eat a dagwood dog, before starting work, as a volunteer, at strawberry sundae stand, where the proceeds go to medical research. Tweed jersey cow farmer, Pat McDonald is at the show. Has been there every year since 1951. At Stafford Tavern, regular punter, Wayne Mitchell tells me his wife can recite both teams from the 1976 Brisbane Rugby League grand final, when Wests beat Easts 16-1. She is a Wests’ fan.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16
Lunch at Lurleen’s Restaurant, Sirromet Winery, Mount Cotton, in Redlands Shire. We had intended to eat at the winery’s outdoor, Tuscan Kitchen, but it was too windy. A table of five Asians – three female – only drink water – at a winery! Food is very good. I have seafood curry, Marie the brisket, followed by souffle and Madagascar ice cream.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 17
Take our grand daughter, Parker to Southport Library for activities.
Castleford rugby league legend, Mal Reilly is interviewed by Brian Carney on Sky Sports, ahead of the match against neighbors, Wakefield Trinity. Former Queensland reps, Ian French and James Sandy feature in Castleford flashbacks. Another Castleford ‘Aussie’, Adrian Vowles messages his best wishes to the club. Castleford win, to claim the League Leaders Shield, the equivalent of the minor premiership in Australia. Back in the 1990s, there were moves to merge Castleford, Wakefield and Featherstone.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 18
News comes through that Brothers’ Leagues Club, Grange will cease trading on September 22. Inevitable, given trading figures, but still sad.
Broncos beat St George Illawarra 24-12 at Suncorp Stadium with second rower, Alex Glenn scoring two tries for the victors. Broncos five eighth, Anthony Milford is simply outstanding.
Saints accuse a Broncos’ under-20s player of a racial slur.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 19
Dayboro beat Valleys 12-10 in a Brisbane Rugby League thriller at Emerson Park, Grange. Long serving Valleys’ official, Vince Buckley is on duty at the entrance. He says people whinge about the $5 entry fee. A red haired prop stars for Valleys. In the crowd is former Broncos’ hooker, Barry Berrigan.
Watch Bledisloe Cup clash.The Wallabies are ordinary, and it’s just as well the All Blacks eased off, after getting to the half century. NZ win 54-34. The Australian commentators do their best to put a positive spin on things, but just embarrass themselves in the process.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 20
Eminent rugby league authors, Ian Heads and Geoff Armstrong, along with former Balmain wing/centre, Paul Cross are guests on Macca’s show on the ABC, to talk about ‘the old days’, and Ian’s book: ‘The Great Grand Final Heist’, about Balmain’s shock win over South Sydney in 1969. Cross was part of the Tigers’ squad that year.
A cycle event is held in our Grange area, and a number of competitors get lost and finish in our estate, which is a dead end road. And they didn’t stick to the 5kmh speed limit either!!
One of the letter boxes at our estate, has a sticker: ‘No Gay Hate Referendum Mail’.
On Radio 4KQ, ‘Heart of Gold’ by Neil young, and ‘Mull of Kintyre’ by Paul McCartney are played, and these two songs always bring back the same memories. With ‘Heart of Gold’, I think of the lounge bar at the Murwillumbah Hotel, because, as a young, single bloke, I would feed the juke box with 20 cent coins, and that song came up, more often than not. As for ‘Mull of Kintyre’ – the first time I heard it was at Naughton Park, Widnes, ahead of a Widnes v Bradford Northern rugby league match in December, 1977. They played it over the PA, and the crowd joined in. Loved it.
Death of All Blacks legend, Sir Colin Meads, who I met once, at the Broncos’ team hotel in Auckland.
Photo 1: Castleford’s home ground, Wheldon Road. (photo: Varley Picture Agency)
Photo 2: South Sydney’s Paul Sait tackled by Balmain’s Bob Smithies in 1969.