DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER.
WEEK 41 2017
MONDAY, OCTOBER 9
Broncos’ Kiwi star, Jordan Kahu, his partner and kids are enjoying the Ithaca pool playground as Marie and I arrive with our grandson, Ethan.
Marie and I to movies at Rosalie tonight, courtesy of Marie’s employers, Windsor International Motel. The feature is ‘Kingsman’ and it is a load of crap, except for Elton John.
Radio commentator, Alan Jones predicts that Manly cricketer, Chris Green will play for Australia.
Watch some of the Toulouse v Clermont Top 14 Rugby Union match from France. One thing I will give these union boys credit for, is their ability to draw and pass, which seems to be a lost art in the NRL.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10
Demolition work starts at Brothers’ Leagues, Agincourt Street, Grange, the first stage of what will be a new town house development. I interview George Vautin, father of former Test lock and Channel 9 personality, Paul ‘fatty’ Vautin. George, who lives at Kallangur, is a lovely old bloke, who was a decent player himself, having played front row for Brisbane Wests’ first grade. He was sporting a bruise or two, having fallen while trying to get paw paws from a tree in his garden.
At Broncos Leagues club I have coffee with former Test forward, Lew Platz who donates his 1975 Australian team blazer and his jersey for display at Queensland Rugby League headquarters during this year’s World Cup. In 1975 Lew played against England, Wales, New Zealand and France. It is lucky social media wasn’t around in ’75. I believe, on the way to Europe, an Australian player went through a plate glass window in Perth, when one of his teammates failed to realise his strength when he gave him a shove. The player wasn’t injured. Lew’s jersey goes alongside the tracksuit top of former French rugby league skipper, Francis de Nadai.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11
Marie and I spend the morning at our grandson, Ethan’s Kindy. We have a lovely time – painting, play dough etc.
I get a haircut from Eric Pappas at Stafford, with a former Premier’s Department staff member in the chair when I arrive. Eric played rugby league for Souths’ Magpies and is a fountain of knowledge.
In Hong Kong, our daughter, Melanie takes Broncos’ media manager, Trad McLean and his wife, Loren on a grand tour, including Ho Lee Fook, Quinary, the Globe and ln Kwai Fong.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12
Trad McLean, fresh off the plane from Hong Kong, is guest speaker at Beer and Beef Club lunch at Pineapple Hotel, where I am MC. Club member, Reeve Kruck tells me of his run-in with former Premier, Peter Beattie over some V8s drama at Willowbank near Ipswich. My Indian cabbie (from the Punjab) and I talk cricket. He has heard of Bishen Bedi, but not Farokh Engineer.
Learn of the passing of Don Hand, the father of Louise Hand, who I met at a wedding back in the 1970s. Louise went on to become a prominent diplomat. I think her dad had the post office at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast when I met her.
The funeral for former Valleys’ rugby league player, Barry Rose is held today. Rose played centre in Valleys’ heart breaking 16-15 loss to Easts in the 1972 Brisbane grand final. Kevin Brasch, chairman of the Queensland Rugby League History Committee, coached Barry in the Qld Primary Schools side.
I am reliably informed that Melbourne Storm’s Test centre, Will Chambers is the great nephew of Gerald Chadburn, a fine centre in Tweed football in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a rival of mine when I played for Murwillumbah Brothers. A class above me, I might add. Evidently, Brisbane Valleys almost signed Chambers when he was a young bloke.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13
Former New South Wales State of Origin coach, Phil ‘Gus’ Gould is the special guest at a Men of League lunch in the Queensland Rugby League boardroom. People paid $800 for the privilege of having lunch with the great man, the money going to the MOL charity. Phil offered his services for free. Our QRL History Committee meeting breaks up as Phil and the guests arrive.
Interview former Brisbane representative prop, Frank Clancy at Stafford Tavern (where else) for Men of League magazine. Frank has a great story to tell. He played for Brisbane against Great Britain in 1970, but, instead of wearing a rep jersey, had to don his Valleys’ club strip. The British wore white, and the clash with the Brisbane white jersey was too much. For some reason (probably poor organisation), Brisbane officials did not have an alternate (red) strip, so they took a set of jerseys from Valleys. That turned out to be Frank’s only rep. game. Anyway, at the recent Valleys’ reunion, Frank was presented with a framed Brisbane jersey. Nice touch.
After the interview I have drinks with London Broncos’ stalwart, Steele Retchless, who looks like a bush ranger, with his wild beard. Former Brisbane Souths’ fullback, Phil Veivers coaches the Ashton Bears in England, where his son plays.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14
Interview former Ipswich representative forward, Stu Pankoff at his home at Eastern Heights in Ipswich. What a story. What a great man. He played for Ipswich against Great Britain in 1950, and for Ipswich against the American All Stars three years later. They reckon he was good enough to play for Australia, but work commitments and injuries got in the way. Stu had made pikelets for me, but wasn’t happy with the end result, so bought cakes from a local bakery instead.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15
Morning tea at Gympie on our way to Agnes Waters for a little break. Picnic lunch at Appletree Creek, then tail gated by a female, in very wet conditions. I just don’t get it. Listen to Macca on ABC radio, and Eric Williams from Murwillumbah phones to praise the kids who participated in the Rainbow Beach Surf Carnival. Petrol at Miriam Vale, a town where I stayed with my parents and siblings in 1967, on our way to Mackay for Christmas. It was the first time I stayed in a motel, and it was so exciting. Police are questioning ‘hoons’ near the Miriam Vale Rail Station. Our accommodation at Agnes Waters is very good. I have a local ‘Baffle Creek’ beer before dinner. Our waitress is from Mt Burrell, near Nimbin in northern New South Wales.
Photo 1:George Vautin and Fatty
Photo 2: Frank Clancy
Photo 3: Stu Pankoff (centre)
Photo 4: Louise Hand and Steve Ricketts.