DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 35 2017
MONDAY, AUGUST 28
The family of the late, Reg ‘Bubbles Pegg, have donated his State jersey to the Queensland Rugby League History Committee, of which I am secretary. Reg played eight games for Queensland between 1945 and ’49, all against New South Wales. As I take the jersey to QRL Central, former Wallaby rugby union rep., Nick Cummins and world champion boxer, Jeff Horn are hamming it up for FoxSports outside Suncorp Stadium. Nick’s dad, Mark is good mates with my brother, Jeffery.
Sydney’s club rugby union finals out-rate the Sydney Swans Aussie rules telecasts. Maybe Sydney is still a rugby (union and league) town, afterall.
Learn of the passing of Irish rugby union legend, Willie Duggan, from Kilkenny, a man known for taking a cigarette on the the field, a bit like French rugby league legend, Puig Aubert.
Radio commentator, Alan Jones reckons sacked NSW State of origin coach, Laurie Daley was treated disgracefully. Jones goes to bat for Geoff Toovey as Daley’s successor.
News breaks that Rohan Smith, the son of veteran coach, Brian Smith, will coach Brisbane Norths in 2018.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
Queensland Men of League Lunch at the Royal International Convention Centre at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds.
The first bloke I see is QRL director, Terry Mackenroth, closely followed by former Queensland Residents’ fullback, Brett Schultz; multi media personality, Peter Psaltis; Channel 7’s Pat Welsh and former Queensland lock, Scott Sattler. Queensland Men of League chairman, Darryl Van de Velde is made a Life Member of the national organisation. Former Queensland Rugby League chairman, John ‘Cracker’ McDonald is made an Honouree, but is not well enough to attend the lunch. ‘Cracker’ played 13 Tests for Australia between 1966 and 1970. Comedian, Paul Martell is excellent. After the lunch I have a few ales with Brian Carmody from Madison Sports, as well as Beenleigh High principal, Matt O’Hanlon, a former Brisbane Brothers’ prop. Speaking of Brothers – larger than life, Len Dittmar arrives on the scene, and, as usual, steals the show.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
Second Division rugby league finals are held at Wests Arana, and there is a large crowd. Brothers beat Dayboro 16-12 in extra time – a great game, which I watch with Trevor Bailey, who captained Brothers in their 1987 Brisbane Rugby League grand final win over Redcliffe, 30 years ago this month (Dayboro are regarded as being part of Redcliffe’s catchment). I had phoned Radio 2GB earlier in the day to advise them that Brothers Leagues club at Grange, in Brisbane’s inner north, would close its doors this month. Mark Levy is hosting the show, and has with him Darryl ‘big man’ Brohman (who played many games for Norths against Brothers in the 1970s), Erin Molan and league Immortal, Bob Fulton. Fulton confirms he almost signed with Brothers in 1976, after inspecting their Corbett Park, Grange set-up (see Flashback, May 1976 on this website). Our ex-postie at Zillmere, Chris Waterson, texts to say he had heard me on radio. He says a cousin of his broke his neck, in a scrum, playing rugby union for Brothers.
Ben Nakubuwai is knocked senseless by Roosters’ Zane Tetevano in NRL match at Robina. It wasn’t a good look. Tetevano gets one week for a reckless high tackle. I don’t wish to be melodramatic, but my first thoughts, when I saw the tackle, went to the family of Sunshine Coast forward, James Ackerman, who died after a reckless high tackle by Norths’ Broncos contracted forward, Francis Molo at Bishop Park, Nundah in 2015.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
Father’s Day breakfast at our youngest lad, Lliam’s house at Paddington.
Regional rugby league teams in southern England are to play for the Harry Jepson Memorial Cup, named after one of the game’s great administrators, and one of the game’s great gentleman.
In Ireland, Galway beat Waterford 26-17 in the All Ireland Hurling Final in Dublin. I don’t mind hurling. But Gaelic football, to me, is just a less physical version of Australian rules, and doesn’t excite me. I saw Dublin play Offaly at Croke Park, Dublin in November, 1977 (football), and I have seen a village hurling match in Tipperary. I much preferred the village clash.
Learn of the passing of Bev Vines, a lovely lady, who came on my 1998 ‘Supporters tour’ of Europe.
Photo 1: Grand final day at Arana Hills
Photo 2: Brett Schultz in action for Brisbane Wests
Photo 3: Bev Vines (left) with Steve and Marie Ricketts in Barcelona.