DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 40 2017
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4
Chat to Gold Coast Titans’ coaching staff member, Terry Matterson at Beaches Cafe, Main Beach. His daughter works at a nearby Ray White Real Estate office. I think, the last time I saw Terry was back in 2013, when I flew to Townsville to interview him for my book ‘Bennett’s Broncos’. Terry was on the Cowboys’ staff at the time. I also interviewed another former Bronco, Peter Ryan during the same trip, given he also was on the Cowboys’ staff.
Marie and I take our granddaughter, Parker to McIntosh Island, which we all call ‘Peacock Park’.
I receive a lovely letter from Brian Costigan, from East Gosford, who played three years with Marist Brothers’ Rugby League Club in Lismore, and knew my father, who played for South Lismore, and then Brothers’ Murwillumbah. Brian, now 83, is a retired police officer. With Brian’s letter is a team list from a Murwillumbah Brothers v Mullumbimby match in April, 1961. Dad, who by this stage was 31, going on 32, played centre in reserve grade, alongside Barry Sweetnam. Dad was also treasurer of the club. Brothers’ under-18 side included Jack Nardi, who would go on to be my captain-coach in 1972. When I played under-18s for Brothers in 1968, it meant my father and I had formed the first father-son combination at the club.
A Barry Sweetnam story. Barry was called ‘Sweety’ by his mates, only because of Australians’ penchant for abbreviating names, One of Barry’s best mates was Geoff Love, or ‘Lovey’ as he was known. When the pair arrived at the bar, the conversation often went something like this: “My shout Sweety. Thanks Lovey. I’ll have a New”. Now today, no heads would turn. But, back in the 1960s, heads did turn when people didn’t know the aforementioned gentlemen’s surnames.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6
Marie and I attend the Broncos Presentation Ball at the Convention Centre. I have a long chat to Broncos’ coaching staff member, Kurt Richards. Also talk with ‘the king’, Wally Lewis; Chris Johns and John Ribot. At our table are the likes of media personalities, Wayne Heming, Veronica Eggleton and David Salmon, as well as Broncos’ media man, Trad McLean. My former Courier-Mail workmate, Dennis Watt stands down as Broncos’ chairman.
Learn of the passing of my mother’s first cousin, John Kelly, in Lismore. My mother, Lola ‘Kelly’, was an only child and John was like a brother to her. John lost his lovely wife, Joan to cancer some years back, and was never the same. I visited him several times in recent years, and he was always an interesting chat. I always picture him as a well dressed, efficient barman. His mum, Ettie, who was killed in a road accident, was a nursing sister. His dad, Cliff, ran a service station near the Rouse Hotel in Lismore.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7
Lovely afternoon at my sister, Gay Lynch’s apartment at South Brisbane.
Murwillumbah is back in Far North Coast Cricket and Steve Twohill is the president. I played cricket on the Tweed, first in a Murwillumbah High School side in the men’s competition, and then for Tumbulgum.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8
Watch replay of Super League grand final between Leeds and Castleford from Old Trafford, Manchester. Leeds win 24-6 and Danny McGuire is man of the match. Leeds’ coach, Brian McDermott delivers a great post match address.
Attend Italian Festival (Festitalia) at Spencer Park, Newmarket and there are long queues for food. The flag wavers are amazing. Singer, Diletta Lana talks too much between songs, and her voice is a bit too shrill for my liking.
Photo 1: Jack Nardi (left)
Photo 2: John Kelly (left), Jeffery Ricketts, Jan Hartigan, Lola Ricketts, Gay Ricketts. (Diary week 40)
Photo 3: Tweed Cricket flashback, 1975. Tweed reps., Ian Grainger (batsman) and Col Rourke (keeper) ahead of a match against Mallanganee.