DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 46 2017
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13
After a surf at Noosa’s Main beach, I hear a bloke say: “I know I’m skyting, but….” Just great to hear that Aussie expression, skyte, instead of boast, big note or whatever. My wife, Marie and I walk through the Noosa National Park, along the Tanglewood Path to Alexandra Bay, where we have a picnic lunch. Then take the path to Sunshine Beach, where we have one drink at the surf club. Drinks tonight at Noosa Surf Club where the staff appear so grumpy and prices are so high. We’re the ones who should be grumpy. Watch Mel Gibson movie, ‘Blood Father’. Violent, but not too bad.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14
Ferry from Noosa to Noosaville and our skipper, who retires in a few weeks, is hilarious. Lunch at Waterfront, where the proprietor, a Ferrari wine ambassador, is devastated Italy has missed a spot in the soccer World Cup. Lunch is excellent – Coffin Bay oysters, egg plant pasta (moi), scallops, bug risotto (Marie). A stingray cruises the shallows as we wait for the return ferry. A different skipper this time, but he wins me over by playing Jimmy Buffet.
Watch ‘Patriot’s Day’. Moving and concerning.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15
After my morning surf at Noosa’s main beach I hear this conversation between two old blokes: “What have you been up to? “I’m flat out getting up to anything”.
Watch movie ‘A Hologram for the King’, which is set in Saudi Arabia and stars Tom Hanks. Quirky.
Marie I celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary at Sails, which is good, but not as good as Waterfront, and we are over charged $52, something I am able to sort out. Manning River eye fillet (moi), pork cheek and scallops (Marie), accompanied by Howard Park Riesling. Drinks at Rococo afterwards, where drunk grey nomads dance to Brown Eyed Girl.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16
Back to Brisbane, but first the little matter of a new battery, after our car refuses to start – $290 off the RACQ bloke, who once lived in Prince Street, Grange, not far from where we now live. Brunch (corn fritters) at the Book Shop, Eumundi is very good. One of the plaques in Eumundi’s main street pays tribute to an Australian soldier, who died of sunstroke at Gallipoli. Petrol at Chermside, Brisbane and the attendant is hilarious. He sounds just like Kamahl.
News from Sydney is that the ABC has dumped the Warren Ryan Medal (best player award) after the ex-top grade coach was involved in a pub altercation.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17
The most useless STOP sign in Brisbane is at the intersection of Uxbridge Street and Ferres Street, because no-one ever stops there, and it is so out of the way, the police will never bother with a blitz. But someone will get cleaned up there, one day. So, hopefully there willbe a police ambush there. Today I saw a bloke whiz through the sign. Our eldest boy, Damien has his Beenleigh High rugby league boys doing hill sprints at Miami on the Gold Coast.
Nate Myles retires. One of my favorite players, because of his work rate and big heart. At Stafford Tavern, legendary Brothers’ trainer, Jimmy Johnson reminds me that one of former Test halfback, Tom Raudonikis’s nick names is fruit fly. I’m not going to detail the reason.
WORLD Cup: Australia beat Samoa 46-0 in Darwin and Billy Slater is simply amazing, as is Valentine Holmes, who scores five tries. The crowd of 13,473 is excellent.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18
WORLD CUP: Fiji have a great win over New Zealand (4-2) in Wellington, but Channel 7 go straight to their coverage of the bizarre international rules fixture between Australia and Ireland, so we have no ‘wash-up’ of a sensational game. It was the first tryless World Cup match since Great Britain beat France 6-0 at Castleford in 1970, and the following week, France beat Australia.
Tonga beat Lebanon 24-22 in Christchurch. Lebanon score the try of the tournament, with winger, Abbas Miski (North Sydney) finishing a stunning move featuring incredible off-loads and changes of direction.
Australian fullback, Billy Slater is a surprise attendee at his home town, Innisfail’s 100th rugby league anniversary. A wonderful effort, considering he could have stayed in camp with the ‘Roos.
Legends of League tournament is held in Gosford and Chris Walker sledges Wendell Sailor. Great theatre.
Channel 7 carry a piece on the Easter egg factory at Pittsworth on the Darling Downs. Former proprietor, Barry Desmond went on my 1998 European tour.
Little girl next door asks her mum: ‘Why are they called Christmas Carols and not Christmas songs?” Good question.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19
‘Macca’, on the ABC, reckons many people switched from tea to coffee because of tea bags at cafes, the biggest rip-off in the hospitality game.
WORLD CUP: England easily account for Papua New Guinea 36-6 in Melbourne with Kalum Watkins (St Helens) man of the match.
Photo 1: Tom Raudonikis (right) and Steve Ricketts at Brothers’ training, Corbett Park, 1983. The Telegraph sent me there to see how Tommy ran the show, as coach, replacing Wayne Bennett.
Photo 2: Barry Desmond (far right, back row).