DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 39 2017
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
Our daughter, Melanie phones at 4 a.m. Her flight back to Hong Kong (from Brisbane) has been cancelled because of mechanical trouble.
Chat to former Test referee, Eddie Ward, who agrees with me that the Intrust Super Cup grand final between Papua New Guinea and Sunshine Coast, the previous day, was ‘crap’. The Courier-Mail report was glowing its praise of the spectacle, and while I am all for positive press, it was over the top.
In Lismore, former top cricketer, Harold Crozier and his wife celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
Melbourne Storm skipper, Cameron Smith wins the Dally M award, as rugby league’s best player. In England, Ipswich product, Matt Parcell, the Leeds’ hooker, is named in Super League’s ‘Dream Team’. Parcell’s great grand father played for Queensland; his grandfather for Australia, and his dad (Steve) for Queensland residents.
THURSDAY, SDEPTEMBER 28
Thai dinner with Hunter Valley friends, Mark and Jenny Conway. Mark was based at Wollongabba Police Station, as a young constable, in the 1970s, when he played rugby league for Valleys.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
Lunch at Easts Leagues club, Stones Corner with Mark and Jenny Conway. We reminisce – if that is the right word – about the day Mark had part of his ear bitten off, playing for Valleys against Easts’, at Easts’ home ground, Langlands Park. The incident horrified league followers, with players having to do an emu bob of the field to find the part of the ear which had been bitten off. The photograph of Dr Tom Dooley sewing the ear back together, made the front page of The Courier-Mail. No-one was brought before the judiciary, but Valleys’ players, an Mark himself, reckon they know the cuplrit. Mark is up here for the Valleys’ reunion, which is held tonight at their club premises at Emerson Park, Grange. We have a drink at Stafford Tavern first, catching up with former Test forward, Trevor ‘The Axe’ Gillmeister, who lives locally.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
Our next door neighbour’s dog, Toby is barking so much, that, for the first time since we moved in, back in 2009, my wife says we should think about selling.
Bloke (who will remain unnamed) says ‘in galoots’ instead of ‘in cahoots’, when I am having a beer with him at the Stafford Tavern. He is a bit like ‘Jonesy’ from Dad’s Army. On the way back from the Tavern, I walk past the now closed Brothers’ Leagues Club premises, where it is party central – a food truck (La Spina), disco lights, a bloke on the door in a South Queensland Crushers’ jersey….what is going on? A staff farewell party, I suspect. Or, just a private do, with links to the building’s owners, the Condons.
Australian Schoolboys v New Zealand under-18s live on Foxsports. The Australian five eighth says he was bitten by the Kiwi halfback.
Southland rugby union player, Matty Johnson is an ex Storm rugby league player.
Channel 9 commentator, Eddie Maguire calls Aussie rules ‘the greatest game of all’. Hasn’t rugby league got copyright over that?
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1
The little girl next door plays the violin. It is better than her dog barking.
North Queensland Cowboys are brave, going down 34-6 to Melbourne in the NRL grand final, but were never a chance without injured skipper, Johnathan Thurston. Melbourne five eighth, Cameron Munster says ‘mate’ so many times in his post match interview.
My brother, Andrew watches the grand final at Vertigo Bar, Da Nang.
Photo 1: Valleys legends, Norm Clarke (left) and Ross Threlfo at the reunion
Photo 2: Mark Conway (centre) at the reunion. His ear looks fine.