DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 24 2018
MONDAY, JUNE 11
Tweed legend, Keith ‘Clackers’ Kennedy appears in the Queens Honors List. ‘Clackers’ is synonymous with rugby league and surf life saving and was my wood work teacher at Murwillumbah High. He said, without doubt, I was the least talented student he ever taught. He coached Old Boys under-18s in 1968, when they were hot favorites to win the Tweed-Gold Coast rugby league title, but we (Brothers) beat them 10-4 in the grand final at Knox Park, Murwillumbah. Our coach, Brian Tracey missed out on an OAM. Others to be recognised include my former Courier-Mail workmate, Bart Sinclair (services to racing) and former Australian rugby league Test forward, Noel Kelly, who now lives in Sydney, but hails from Goodna in Ipswich. I have had a few chats with Noel, and he has some wonderful stories from his playing and coaching days, alongside the likes of Peter Dimond, Kel O’Shea and Harry Wells. Peter Dimond and his older brother, Bob, remain the only brothers to be chosen for Australia while still teenagers. Bob was the baby of the 1948-49 Kangaroo touring side to Britain and France, and lives on the Gold Coast. Peter played for Australia in the 1960s.
Queensland State of Origin coach, Kevin Walters says as soon as he saw the Broncos play Manly in their inaugural premiership game, in 1988, he knew he wanted to play for them. At that stage, Kevvie was contracted to Canberra Raiders. He joined the Broncos in 1990 and went on to win five premierships with the club, his last as skipper in 2000.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13
At Stafford pub, Jim House recalls the American sub mariners, who were based in Brisbane during World War II. “On the trams and buses you could always tell them by the smell of diesal,” Jim says. I am reliably informed that 18 printers from the Murarrie plant have taken payouts from News Ltd.
France, wearing jereys that smack of a rugby league design, beat New Zealand in the under-20s World Cup rugby union final.
FRIDAY, JUNE 14
The Courier-Mail has extensive tributes to foundation Broncos’ director, Gary Balkin who has died from pancreatic cancer. It is all good stuff, except, when mentioning the other foundation directors, they refer to Steve Williams as a former Wallaby rugby union rep. In fact, Steve played league for Queensland. The other foundation directors were Paul ‘Porky’ Morgan (now deceased) and Barry Maranta, while former Test winger, John Ribot was the inaugural chief executive. ABC Radio interview me about Gary’s life.
Marie and I attend play ‘The Longest Minute’, a social commentary, based around the Cowboy’s NRL grand final win in 2015. Not bad, and quite a few in the audience provide a standing ovation. My wife enjoyed it more than me. One of the actors, Jeremy Ambrum, has to be related to former Australian winger, George Ambrum.
On the bus on the way home, a young couple, wearing red berets, do not say a word to each other as they look at Facebook for the entire journey.
SUNDAY, JUNE 15
Leeds v Castleford Super League match is high quality. The match is played at Elland Road, the home of Leeds United soccer.
An advertisement for next year’s Magic Weekend, at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, features junior players, not one of them Polynesian. That is not the picture I see when observing junior league played across Brisbane.
Wests Tigers’ prop, Tim Grant shows how easy it is to avoid making a crusher tackle, when he has a Raiders’ player at his mercy, but obviously realises the potential consequences of following through with force.
Photo 1: Bob and Peter Dimond tribute
Photo 2: John Ribot (centre) supports Brisbane Wests’ teammate, Geoff Richardson. Bob Green is in the background.