DIARY UPDATE: Week 47, 2017

DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER.
WEEK 47 2017
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21
Barber, Eric Pappas tells me Nick Pappas (no relation) was guest speaker at recent function at Greek Club at Brisbane’s West End. Eric says the Greek connection – Nick Pappas, George Peponis and Nick Politis – run the New South Wales Rugby League – the NSWRL, not the NRL. Eric recalls legendary league figures, Henry Holloway and Barry Muir ‘camped’ at the bar at Lang Park.
I am interviewed by French television (BeIn Sport), first in front of the Wally Lewis statue in the northern forecourt of Suncorp Stadium, and then at the Broncos. The interview is done by Rudolph Pires, with Floren the cameraman. Former French coaching director, Louis Bonnery, a man I have known since 1981, put them on to me as an interview subject, about league in this part of the world. Louis is an expert comments man for BeIn. Before going into Suncorp Stadium (with the assistance of media manager, Greg Adermann) we drop into QRL headquarters, where the History Committee (of which I am secretary) have a great display, including the track suit top of legendary French player, Francis de Nadai, who played in three Test match wins over Australia. Queensland Men of League manager, David Shillington says hello, and recalls the Test match he played for Australia against France in Paris in 2009, when the Australians were provided with a police motor cycle escort to the stadium. At the Broncos, the French meet coaching development staff members, Paul Dyer, Michael Hancock and Scott Czislowski. Hancock toured Britain and France with the 1990 and ’94 Kangaroos and Czislowski played in France with the 1979 Australian Schoolboys. The schoolboys spent Christmas in Carcassonne, and it was Louis Bonnery, who came from nearby Limoux, who organised a Christmas Day function for them to make them feel at home. The rugby league world is a small one, indeed.
After the formal part of the interview process, we adjourn to the leagues club for a beer and bump into former Queensland winger, Clinton Schifcofske and Players’ Association boss, Ian Prendergast. Clinton played in France during his stint with Ulster rugby union.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22
Marie and I to Wizard of Oz at QPAC. Good, not superb. Witch not as scary as the movie, and the lion not as funny; Wizard not as dynamic, but the special effects are excellent.
Wallaby Stephen Moore says, that as a kid, all he wanted to do was play first grade rugby league for Brisbane Wests.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24
John McCoy, on Radio TAB, recalls ‘The Newcastle Song’ by Bob Hudson. A contact of mine tells me the Rugby League World Cup is being run on the smell of an oily rag, and there is a lot of poor organisation. I am not shocked. Rugby League doesn’t have much money for things outside paying players, and the office staff at NRL HQ.
Attend World Cup semi between Australia and Fiji at Suncorp Stadium, following drinks with Bob Hooper (who we met on our Albatross southern Italy trip) and his cousin, Lionel. They are related to former Wynnum-Manly prop, Ken Churchill. The Ashes cricket Test started at the Gabba yesterday and a couple of ‘Ritchies’ sit near us at the league, after a big day in the sun.  They spend most of their time bagging the league, and I know where they are coming from. A 54-6 scoreline to Australia in a semi is not a good look, and the crowd of 22,073 looks sick in such a big stadium. Let’s face it, a World Cup union semi would be a sellout, no matter who was playing.
Former Queensland centre, Peter Leis has turned 70 and his son, Trent, is now 40. I went to Peter’s Dayboro farm on one occasion, after arranging a photograph of him and his nephew, Travis Norton, who went on to play Origin for Qld.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25
WORLD CUP: England just hang on against Tonga in Auckland in front of a sellout crowd of 30,003. Our daughter, Melanie watches the match in a typical ‘gringo’ sports bar on Koh Samui. I don’t think I could have handled a final, with all those Tongan supporters around me. I wanted England there. The Poms have a lot of supporters out here, following their team, and they all live in England. The Tongan fans, for a final at Suncorp, would have come from the Brisbane suburbs, and I don’t feel totally comfortable about them cheering so passionately against the country that has given them succor. Besides, I was brought up on Australia v Great Britain Tests, so an Australia v England final is my dream final from this tournament.
A commentator says Jillaroos’ forward, Steph Hancock is the daughter of former Test winger, Michael Hancock, which I’m sure came as a shock to Michael. Steph is the daughter of former Test prop, Rohan Hancock, who the commentator may not have known existed.
At Wingham, on the mid-North Coast of New South Wales, Rocky Laurie (Wauchope), Joe White (Gloucester), Lloyd Hudson (Kempsey) and Jake Kennett (Wingham) are inducted into the Group 3 Hall of Fame. I played the 1975 season in Group 3, and had the pleasure of meeting the great Jake Kennett, who played for North Coast against international touring sides, and, I’m told, would have killed it in Sydney. He played 210 games for Wingham between 1958 and ’72.
Photo 1: Brisbane Wests in their glory days
Photo 2: Travis Norton
Photo 3: Rohan Hancock (left) and Arthur Beetson.

Leave a comment or reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s