DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 34 2017
MONDAY, AUGUST 21
Our youngest son, Lliam takes me for a tour of his Supply Partners Solar Energy equipment supply business at Seventeen Mile Rocks, followed by lunch at an Asian restaurant at Inala, where we are joined by one of Lliam’s employees, Ray Willey, a former teammate of mine at Brothers’ rugby league club, in the mid 1970s. Who would have thought! Ray looks fit. He was a lock forward, who switched to union in his later years, playing for Norths in Brisbane and then for Rangers in Toowoomba. He worked for a time as a rep for Carlton and United Breweries.
Neil Henry has been sacked as coach of Gold Coast Titans, allegedly for being too old school. Who would be a coach these days, having to tread on egg shells, for fear of offending the sensibilities of entitled young men?
Death of American comedian, Jerry Lewis, aged 91. Mum couldn’t stand him. But she loved Red Skelton.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 22
Former Test fullback, John Dorahy phones the Alan Jones Radio show (4BC 2GB) to speak in favor of weight divisions in junior football. It is the only way to go. Brisbane Men of League Committee meeting at Ithaca Bowls Club. Chat to player-manager, Col Davis and Broncos’ recruitment guru, Steve Parle on the way. Broncos’ forward, Adam Blair is having a coffee. Broncos’ development officer, Mick Hancock, (the former Test winger) is on his way to a league carnival at Arana Hills in Brisbane’s west. Former Brisbane Wests’ premiership winning captain, Bob Green is mopping the floor of the bowls club. (He is a volunteer).
Drinks tonight with former Courier-Mail colleague, Paul ‘Scobie’ Malone at Citroen, Wilston Village.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23
Desperate for a coffee as I walk through Barracks at Petrie Terrace. Order one from first cafe I see, and the lass behind the counter asks what sort of milk. When I say full cream, she points to sign, which says it is a vegan establishment. I move on. Should have had a go at the almond milk, I suppose. Although I don’t think they should be able to call it milk. Run into Fred and Pam Van Dongen, who went on my 1994 Kangaroo supporters’ tour to the UK. Fred is a basketball (administration) icon in Brisbane, but his late sister-in-law, Lyn Egan and her husband, Col were mad league fans, and persuaded Fred and Pam to come on my tour. Fred and Pam were Brisbane Bullets’ Gold Class ticket holders last season, but now Silver costs as much, so they are considering their options.
Dinner tonight at Esquire in the city, hosted by Hugh Hamilton from Black Sheep Winery in McLaren Vale, South Australia. The food – buffalo, bbq onglet – is ‘different’.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 24
Our daughter, Melanie phones from typhoon hit Macau. There is no (running) water in her room. There is thunder, lightning and heavy rain here as we speak. My brother, Jeffery, turns 62, and celebrates with a game of golf at Chinderah on the Tweed River, followed by lunch at Ivory pub, Boyd’s Bay. Former Test rugby league players, Justin Hodges and Scott Prince have just visited Kingscliff High, where Jeff used to teach.
My wife Marie presents Broncos’ man of the match award to Alex Glenn, after the club’s shock 52-34 loss to Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium, with Fijian flyer, Semi Radradra, scoring four tries for the Eels. Marie is a season ticket holder and was chosen for the honor, on what was ‘Members’ Night’. She gets a match ball, and also lands the jersey of Broncos’ lock, Matt Gillett.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 25
Marie and I attend annual Paddock to Plate lunch at Beenleigh High, where our eldest boy, Damien teaches. The diners include former Valleys’ players, Peter Lamb and Peter Elmore. Elmore, a prominent educationalist, asks me to consider the task of writing the history of the Confraternity Shield Schools rugby league competition. Legendary Secondary Schools rugby league official, Phil Hall wins a cow. Not a meat tray -a whole cow. Not sure how he is going to take it home. Drinks at Club Beenleigh afterwards with family friends, Tom and Terry Campbell and former Test halfback, Ross Strudwick.
At Brothers tonight the bar staff are wearing school uniforms and the DJ is playing vinyl.
Laurie Daley is sacked as coach of the New South Wales State of Origin side, after an intensive review. Earlier, Blues’ officials said they would back him to the hilt.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 26
Old Boys Day at Gold Coast Titans’ home game against Canterbury, and there is a banner for Will Zillman, who is retiring. I first saw him play in the lower grades for Canberra Raiders, and huge things were tipped for him. He went on to carve out an impressive career, but injuries curtailed his chances of being elevated to the upper echelon of NRL players. Chat to former Guyra rugby league coach, Barry Condon at Brothers’ Leagues. (He is also the owner of the building). He says the best footballer he saw was an Englishman – surname McLennan – who played for Armidale.
One of the big punters at the club is Wayne Innes, who played eight first grade rugby league matches for Balmain between 1980 and ’82.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 27
Watch replay of last night’s Wembley Cup final between Hull and Wigan, with Hull, captained by Gareth Ellis, winning 18-14 in a dramatic match. Winger, Mahe Fonua scored two tries for Hull, one a spectacular effort in the corner. Lance Todd Trophy winner as man of the match, is Hull’s Marc Sneyd, who was born in Oldham and came through the ranks at Salford. My good mates and fellow media men, Terry Holmes and Richard Bott are among those covering the match.
Former Queensland wicket keeper, Lew Cooper is fronting up for his 42nd year with the Wanderers Cricket Club. On Macca’s show on ABC Radio, Lew recalls the day fast bowler, Peter Allen got 10 wickets for Queensland – against Victoria in 1966.
Watch the Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor fight on television at my sister, Gay Lynch’s apartment at South Brisbane. The Pig and Whistle pub over the road is packed. Good to see boxer, Mayweather triumph over UFC’S McGregor, given I don’t really rate UFC as a sport.
Photo 1: Ray Willey (left) and Steve Ricketts
Photo 2: Bob Green on the attack for Wests at Lang Park.