DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER
WEEK 26 2018
TUESDAY, JUNE 26
Arrange an interview with foundation Broncos’ player, Billy Noke, for Men of League magazine. Billy, who lives at Runaway Bay and works at Loganholme, is happy to have a chat.
At Stafford Tavern, Keith Rooney tells horror stories of a female solicitor, who made life miserable for her neighbors in a town house estate. There are always plenty of good yarns at The Stafford Tavern ‘Table of Knowledge’. Today’s topics range from rugby league in Papua New Guinea to the notorious Kray twins in the UK; an underworld figure who is a regular at another Brisbane pub, and Australian troops in Vietnam.
THURSDAY, JUNE 28
St George Illawarra win at the death against Parramatta in Wollongong, with Ben Hunt prominent for the victors. Despite the thrilling finish, I thought it was a crap game. Others rave about it.To each his own.
FRIDAY, JUNE 29
Visit our eldest boy, Damien, at Beenleigh High and he shouts me an egg and bacon roll from the canteen. I drive our grand daughter, Parker back to our place in Brisbane, and she loves the frilly lizards down by Kedron Brook, where she also feeds the ducks. Damien and his wife, Emma attend a surprise 40th birthday party for their friend, Ben Ward, a former universities rugby league teammate of Damien’s. There are lots of Farrar Agricultural College and University of Queensland lads at the party.
Watch Storm (9) v Roosters (8) NRL match from Adelaide, and there is an awkward moment afterwards when Roosters’ halfback, Cooper Cronk barely acknowledges his former skipper, Cameron Smith. Cronk warmly embraced his other former teammates. There is all sorts of speculation about the reasons behind the rift between the pair.
SATURDAY, JUNE 30
‘The Courier-Mail’ will not provide a free ad for ‘Men of League charity, State Lunch this year. Sign of tough times in the newspaper industry.
Speaking of tough times. There is a lot of talk in the league community about the fact the Queensland State of Origin jersey failed to attract a wealthy sponsorship deal this year. There is a school of thought, that some people at the QRL, just thought sponsors would line up for the ‘honor’, but that wasn’t the case.
At Brisbane Norths, new chief executive, Terry Reader, who has been seconded to the club from the Broncos, has raised $250,000 in sponsorship.
I complete my ‘Birth of the Broncos’ special for ‘The Courier-Mail’. My last interview was with foundation director, Steve Williams, a former Queensland rugby league five eighth.
The Broncos are down 16-0 against the Raiders at Suncorp Stadium, but get up to win 26-22. Referees, Chris Sutton and Alan Shortall turn in ordinary displays. Raiders’ coach, Ricky Stuart heads for the sheds with one second left on the clock, and someone in the crowd tries to high five him. Really! Psychologist, Phil Jauncey was part of the Broncos’ preparation for this match.
Auckland born, former Canterbury-Bankstown fullback, Brad Abbey made his top grade debut for the Raiders and former Raider, Kevin Walters, presented him with his jersey. Kevin’s son, Billy scores a runaway try for Ipswich Jets against Easts at North Ipswich Reserve today.
Valleys’ 1988 premiership winning side has a reunion at the Diehards’ headquarters at Emerson park, Grange. Lachlan Lewis debuts for Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. He is the son of former Valleys’ utility, Scott Lewis and the nephew of league ‘Immortal’, Wally Lewis. Lachlan looks like former Valleys’ fullback, David Bourke.
There is a siege at Alexandra Headland, and one of the members of the public interviewed by a television crew, is former Brisbane Wests’ forward, Paul Schuler.
Photo 1: Billy Noke (right) and Bryan Niebling at Broncos’ training. That’s Brett Walters in the middle
Photo 2: Keith Rooney (left) and Tony Martyn.