DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER.
WEEK 6 2018
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9
There is a moving tribute to former Great Britain rugby league winger, John Atkinson before the Round 1 Super League clash between Leeds and Hull Kingston Rovers at Elland Road. He was the star winger of Britain’s successful Ashes tour of Australia in 1970.
Dr Pam Swepson, an expert on the fire ant crisis in Queensland, is guest speaker at our Beer and Beef Club Lunch at Story Bridge Hotel. Pam addresses everyone as ‘folk’, not ladies and gentlemen, which is the safe approach these days, evidently. Our steak is 80 day, grain fed, eye fillet from Warwick. Get a bus home and school kids from Kelvin Grove High are full of life, and well behaved.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10
Wigan play Hull in Wollongong, in the first Super League championship match in the southern hemisphere. Man of the match, Wigan five eighth, George Williams, is all class. A regular at the Stafford Tavern tells me, that, many moons ago, cattle from Hickey’s property at Kedron Brook, Grange, would be driven, by horsemen, to the Exhibition Grounds at Bowen Hills, via what is now rugby union headquarters at Ballymore. (Ballymore used to be Brothers’ rugby league home ground).
It is our daughter-in-law, Channelle’s birthday today.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11
Meet with Murwillumbah Brothers’ rugby league stalwarts, Bill Carroll and Lionel Alexander at the leagues club, to discuss the 60th anniversary reunion. There are a group of hockey lasses in the bar, as well as Peter Booth, who was captain of the junior league side I coached in the early 1970s. Bill and his wife, Di shout me lunch at The Court House Hotel. Before meeting the Brothers’ guys I had time to kill, so I had morning tea at Murwillumbah’s famous Austral Cafe, after a walk along the Main Street. My former Mt St Pat’s classmate, Jack Kennedy was having a beer at ‘Murray’s’ pub, and I also thought I saw former 2MW rugby league caller, Wayne Johnson. I then went for a walk around the cemetery (as you do) at Bray Park. I saw the graves of Monsignor O’Rourke, who came from Tipperary, and was parish priest when I was an altar boy. Also Fr Leonard, who was parish priest at Kingscliff. There are lots of Twohills buried here, as well as the father of former Brothers’ official and player, Don McQuilty. Don’s dad, ex-Australian Army, was only 37 when he died.
Photo: Murwillumbah Under-10s, 1973. Captain, Peter Booth seated behind the football.