DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 7 2018.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15
Interview former Test rugby league winger, Kerry Boustead at Men of League lunch at Club Pine Rivers. I first saw him play in the Second Test of the 1978 Trans-Tasman series, on July 15, when he scored two tries in Australia’s 38-7 win over the Ken Stirling led Kiwis. Boustead’s fellow winger, Neville Glover also scored two tries, as did dual international lock, Ray Price. The Test was the first time Australians had seen promising young Kiwi lock, Mark Graham, who had made his debut the previous year, in his own country. Graham would go on to become New Zealand’s Player of the Century. Marie and I had only returned from nine months in Europe at the end of May, and ‘Boustead mania’ was sweeping league circles. He was an 18-year-old unknown from Innisfail in North Queensland at the start of the season. My cabbie, to the Pine Rivers’ function, is from Strasbourg in France, a place I have been to a couple of times. He works in IT, and I hope he is better at that, than driving a car.
Fellow Men of League committee member, Cliff Coyle once had a band. Good ‘ol Cliff.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17
A NRL v Super League double header is played at ANZ Stadium. The English fans are so passionate, and there is some good footy played. St George Illawarra beat Hull 24-18 and South Sydney defeated Wigan 18-8. The previous night, Melbourne Storm had beaten British champions, Leeds 38-4 in Melbourne in front of a crowd of 16,029, with giant Storm forward, Nelson Asofa-Solomona man of the match. Storm skipper, Cameron Smith elbowed Leeds’ rival, Mat Parcell in the head, after taking exception to a tackle by the Ipswich (Australia) product.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18
To Tasmania today, for a motoring holiday. We had to get up at 3.20 a.m.for our flight from Brisbane. Our cabbie, who lives at Nundah, has just returned from Northern India, where he says it is quite cool at this time of year. From Hobart Airport, we drive to Seven Mile Beach and then to the Sorrel Market, where we buy strawberries, blueberries, potatoes and honey. A group of ‘old’ people talk sarcastically about ‘professional students’. After a drive to O’Possum Bay, we have tacos for lunch, from a food truck at Bellerive. Memories come flooding back of Larry Scott taking us out on his yacht, from Bellerive, in 2009. Larry married my former Murwillumbah High classmate, Eleanor Riddell, who died in December, 2016. A banner on the local pub bags Labor and the Greens for wanting to ban pokies. State elections are looming in Tassie.
Check into ‘Somerset on Pier’ and our room looks down on the Lady Nelson yacht. Walk around the harbor. Look at statues of convict women. So many Irish names. Drinks at Post Street Social. Good live music. Dinner (blue eye cod, calamari and chips) at Fish Frenzy. The ‘boss’ is so efficient and friendly. Chinese New Year is being celebrated in the grounds of Parliament House.
The Hobart Mercury newspaper is dominated by feature articles on the ‘demise’ of Aussie rules in Tasmania. If the locals are playing another footy code, it is most likely soccer. Rugby union is small in Tassie, and rugby league virtually non-existent. The so called demise of Aussie rules, is mainly to do with being ignored by the hierarchy in Melbourne, not that the locals have fallen out of love with the game.
Photo 1: Kerry Boustead (right) at North Sydney training. That’s Les Kiss on the left and Greg Florimo in the middle. (Diary week 7).
Photo 2: Marie Ricketts in Hobart.